Stirling Festival of Sacred Praise

Elayne Ras - Strings, Brass/Woodwinds/Bands

Celebrating instrumental music, vocal music, scripture and public speaking. Participants of all ages and abilities invited. 
Stirling ON.
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2021 Adjudicators 
Elise Letourneau is an award-winning composer, and an accomplished songwriter, multi-instrumentalist performer, arranger, and educator.

An associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, Elise won the prestigious Ruth Watson Henderson composition competition, the Choral Canada (ACCC) composition competition, and the inaugural Diane Loomer award for choral composition. For four years running she was shortlisted as a finalist for The American Prize in choral composition.

Blurring the lines between classical, jazz, and popular music, Elise's compositions have been performed internationally, by high-caliber ensembles including the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Canada’s National Youth Choir, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, the Cantiamo Girls’ Choir, and The Bach Music Festival of Canada choir and orchestra. Soloists who have performed her music include Colin Ainsworth, Leslie Fagan, Ellen McAteer, and Rebecca Noelle.

Elise maintains an active performance schedule as a solo artist, with The Fieldown Singers, and with Glamour Profession (a Steely Dan tribute band). She has shared a stage with Brian Browne, Paula Cole, Bob Dorough, Sheila Jordan, Janet Lawson, Janis Siegel, and others.

Elise teaches piano, voice, flute, and composition at Alcorn Music Studios, and she is the director of the Ottawa Singer-Songwriter Camp. She directs the Carleton University Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and she founded and directed Canada’s first community jazz choir, Capital Vox, as well as Vox Eclectica Women’s Chamber Choir. She has released 6 CDs and 3 MP3 collections.

Elise is a graduate of Berklee College of Music (Boston MA), and earned a M.Ed. specializing in creative arts and learning at Lesley College (Cambridge MA). She lives in Ottawa with her husband, Tim Bedner. When not composing, she runs her market booth, Love That Doggie.

Elise Letourneau - Vocal/Choral
Martha Hill Duncan is an award-winning composer, choral conductor and music educator living in Kingston, Ontario. Originally from Houston, Texas, her passion for music started early. Her mother sang and played the piano by ear and her father shared his appreciation of varied musical styles and instruments. She began piano lessons at age 8 and went on to receive a diploma in vocal music from first graduating class of The Houston High School for Performing and Visual Arts and later earned a degree in composition from The University of Texas at Austin.​
​Since moving to Canada with her husband, astrophysicist, Dr. Martin Duncan, Martha has enjoyed incorporating Canadian poetry, landscapes and stories into her compositions. Some of her songs have won awards in both Canadian and American choral and art song competitions. Many of her piano works were inspired, at least in part, by her long-time career as a piano teacher and by the memorable places she has lived or visited. Some of these piano and vocal solos are listed and/or published throughout music educational syllabi and publications including The Royal Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Canada, the Canadian National Conservatory of Music and the Bulletin of the National Federation of Music Clubs (US).
Martha is also a founding member of RED LEAF PIANOWORKS, a composers' collective for new piano repertoire. Since 2007, this collaborative self-publishing group of award-winning composers has been steadily making its way into the educational music market. She is also the artistic director and conductor of the Kingston, Ontario women's choir, SHE SINGS! Several of choral works have resulted from this long-time association. A former piano examiner for The Royal Conservatory of Music, Martha is also a clinician and frequent adjudicator. She has also two grown children and an adorable granddaughter: Alex, a math professor, Claire, a singer, actress and voice over artist and Eloise, a charming and energetic two-year old.

Martha Hill Duncan - Piano
Elayne Ras began Suzuki violin lessons at the age of 11 at the first Suzuki school in Toronto. She received her HBMus (Performance) & her BA in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and was certified as a Suzuki Violin teacher trainer in 2002. Elayne has been a clinician for numerous Suzuki workshops and institutes in Canada and the US, has adjudicated at music festivals , and served 10 years on the board of the Suzuki Association of Ontario, including a term as Chair. She is a member of the Guelph Symphony, and teaches full-time with the Suzuki String School of Guelph. Elayne is currently the Director of the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, as well as being SOSI’s Director of Violin/Viola programming. Recently Elayne completed a Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology in Toronto, and she is excited to be able to share and apply the principles of Positive Psychology in her studio, and in her teacher training classes.