About Our Collaborative Arts Studio

arts education
Studio North

Donais Studios is a collaborative arts studio located in the historic district of Newmarket, ON. We are on a mission to inspire a new generation of artists through the transformative power of the arts. We help our students ignite and discover The Artist Within. Our vision is to be a leader for our community in arts education: reimagining the way arts education looks and feels.

We provide transformative arts education experiences for youth, adults, and families of all ages and levels of experience. Through collaborative arts education programming, innovative curriculum, and creative thought leadership; artists are empowered to truly see what they are capable of and to reach their full potential.

We give our students the tools to become confident performing artists through a powerful pedagogy, a beautiful and inspiring studio environment, passionate and highly qualified artist-educators, intentional performance opportunities, and an incredible community of artists. Come work with us and awaken The Artist Within!

Who We Are

MISSION

We are on a mission to inspire a new generation of artists through the transformative power of the arts and to provide arts education leadership to our community.

We provide transformative arts education experiences for youth and families of all ages and levels of experience in our community. Through collaborative arts education programming, innovative curriculum development, and creative thought leadership; artists are empowered to truly see what they are capable of and to reach their full potential.

VISION

Donais Studios seeks to transform arts education for youth, adults, and families in our community by empowering a new generation of artists. Through unparalleled arts training, intentional performance opportunities, and collaborative arts experiences, artists of all ages will encounter the transformative power of the arts. 

Our mission and vision are rooted in the conviction that art offers a transformative way to understand and express the world and our humanity. Art is fundamental to human expression, our ability to communicate effectively and authentically, and our ability to think critically. Art speaks to our intellect, emotions, intuition, imagination, memory, physical senses, and universal truths. Art is essential in developing our full potential. Seek out The Artist Within

VALUES

Through high-quality arts education, collaborative arts experiences and engaging performance opportunities, each student is supported and motivated to pursue excellence in all of their artistic endeavours.

Our highly creative and passionate teaching artists are dedicated to their art and inspiring, encouraging and nurturing students to achieve their unique artistic goals, needs and objectives.

We are a collaborative community that encourages and supports one another in all of our artistic endeavours. We engage in a variety of collaborative art forms to inform and enhance our artistry.

Creating an optimal environment for learning is essential for success. The historic Maloney House, established in 1823, provides an inspiring and nurturing atmosphere for artistic development and creates a beautiful connection to the past.

Donais Studios is a strong collaborative community that is rooted in both the professional arts community and our local community. Giving back to our community is at the core of our Studio culture. Sharing artistry with others is truly a gift.

STUDIO CULTURE

We honour the creative voices of the past, relish in the beautiful artistry of the present, and embrace the artistic innovations of tomorrow. 
All voices rise. Past. Present. Future.

Our Teaching Artists

Meet our Artistic Team! 

andrea donais teacher

Andrea Donais

Founder & Artistic Director
Andrea is a lyric soprano and choral conductor who has dedicated her career to teaching and inspiring young artists. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music. Andrea studied voice with late operatic soprano Lynn Blaser and choral conducting with world-renowned conductor and master-teacher Dr. Doreen Rao.

She received her Master of Music degree from the University of Toronto in 2008; focusing much of her research and studies on collaborative arts learning environments and multi-modal integrated arts approaches to music education. Andrea is a Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) certified teacher in both voice and piano. Andrea was the Director of Choral Music at Pickering College for 8 years before joining the Upper Canada Chorus & Opus Alive creative team as Director of Education in 2010-2018. Andrea is the Junior Division Head and conductor of the Intermediate and Ruby choruses of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company in Toronto.
lian senior teacher

Lian Senior

RISE Associate Conductor & Voice Instructor
Lian is a soprano and choral conductor who has a passion for working with young singers. She is a community outreach specialist with a desire to build strong relationships within artistic communities.

Lian grew up singing in choir, studying both voice and piano privately, and performing in local festivals and competitions. Lian received her formal education from MacMaster University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2011. She was the Director of Community and lead conductor with the Upper Canada Chorus & Opus Alive for 7 years.

Currently Lian is the Program Development Coordinator for Auxiliary Programs at Pickering College.

Keli Jay

Voice & Piano Instructor
Keli is a mezzo-soprano with a passion for both performance and education. As a performing artist-teacher, Keli has a creative and innovative approach to music education. Keli enjoys working with students of all ages and inspires them to explore a variety of musical styles and genres.

Keli is a mezzo-soprano with a passion for both performance and education. As a performing artist-teacher, Keli has a creative and innovative approach to music education. Keli enjoys working with students of all ages and inspires them to explore a variety of musical styles and genres. Keli received her Bachelor of Music degree from Queen’s University in 2017 and her Bachelor of Education degree from York University in 2019. Keli was the Vocal Director, Director and Playwright for Queen’s Students on Broadway and a Sistema Music Teacher during her time in Kingston. Keli was the President and Music Director of WIBI A Cappella; an innovative contemporary a cappella ensemble – the longest running of its kind in Canada. Currently Keli is a Faculty member of Pickering College teaching in the Junior School. She is also the lead cantor and soloist at St. James Presbyterian Church in Stouffville. Keli is fluent in both French and English.
amelia depiero drama coach

Amelia DePiero

Voice Instructor & Drama Coach
Amelia is a graduate of the Voice Performance program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music. A soprano with a passion for the performing arts, Amelia studied voice with Elizabeth McDonald and coach Suzy Smith. At the completion of her first year of studies, Amelia earned the highest mark in her final performance exam.

A graduate of the Huron Heights Arts Huron program in Newmarket, Amelia graduated with a double major in voice and drama. Her performance roles include: Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, Marty Maraschino in Grease (Marquee Theatrical Productions), and Wild Mary in Colours in the Storm (Ontario Showcase). Amelia was a youth vocal apprentice with Orpheus Choir of Toronto and a fellow at the Bradford Arts Centre. In 2018, Amelia was a performance mentor for young artists at the Bradford Arts Centre. Currently Amelia is the soprano section lead at Trinity United Church in Newmarket.
david chown guitar instructor

David Chown

Guitar & Ukulele Instructor
David has been musically active since the age of 7. After falling in love with guitar in his early teens, David decided to pursue post-secondary education at Humber College in their esteemed Jazz Performance program. Since graduating (with Honours) in 2003, David has performed countless shows across all musical styles (blues to Bollywood, classical to heavy-metal). As a multi-instrumentalist (banjo, mandolin, slide), David has had great opportunities in the Canadian country music industry, including coast-to-coast tours, and TV/radio appearances.

Sample theatre work includes: Grease, Footloose, Rocky Horror, Shrek, Mama Mia. David currently lives in Ajax with his teenage son and two cats.
asher farber piano instructor

Asher Farber

Piano Instructor, Collaborative Pianist
Asher Farber is a passionate collaborative pianist and educator dedicated to developing his skills in many diverse and eclectic musical styles and genres. Asher earned his Master of Music in Collaborative Piano Performance from the University of Toronto in 2014 and his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Ottawa in 2011 (Magna Cum Laude). Ever since his musical debut at age four, Asher spent his early years pursuing and achieving all ten levels of the RCM Certificate Program and competing in local concerts and festivals, often placing at the top of his class.

Asher enjoys performing with a wide range of performers and music styles, including: classical, jazz, hip hop, funk, power metal, gospel, klezmer, opera, musical theatre and more. Asher is the conductor and collaborative pianist for several community based choirs and organizations in the GTA. He has extensive experience accompanying and collaborating with singers and musicians of all levels in festivals, examinations, auditions, concerts and recordings. Asher is a dynamic and collaborative teacher working with students from 3 to 93 years of age with diverse backgrounds, musical tastes, learning styles and goals. He has been a repetiteur and vocal coach for several operas, shows, and music festivals.
catherine farquhar artist

Catherine Farquhar

Artist-in-Residence
Catherine is a formally trained professional artist who graduated from the Fine Arts Department, Drawing and Painting of the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2000. She was born in Lancashire, England and now resides with her family in Newmarket, Ontario. Catherine taught Visual Arts in an Independent School for 17 years. She continues to teach and mentor artists at her private studio, as well she delivers custom workshops at a variety of local venues.

Catherine has many years of experience in teaching visual arts to both children and adults. She makes learning visual art fun and approachable for all ages and skill levels.

Catherine’s passions include painting using oil, acrylic and watercolour. While landscape painting has been her main focus over the past seventeen years she also completes life studies and portraits. In landscape painting Catherine draws inspiration from the Ottawa Valley and her travels, including: Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. She is interested in capturing a moment in time or creating a mood through the use of colour and movement. Skies are important in her landscape paintings and Catherine uses the element of weather to help enhance the mood. In 2018 and 2019 Catherine completed a colourful body of work using oil around the subject of Cnidarians and Coral which was featured in the 2019 Newmarket Artwalk and Studio Tour.

Catherine is not limited to landscapes and has worked extensively on life studies. “I use charcoal and conte to illuminate the figure and muscles. I enjoy the tactile feeling of this medium as I move it over the paper.” “I also began working on portraits years ago for a friend who was fundraising to aid children who were suffering from the repercussions of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.” Since completing these works for this charitable cause Catherine has completed work and donated funds she raised to: Free the Children, a local Pony Club, CARD, World Vision, WWF, Sick Kids, as well as an independent school. “Life drawing is my ultimate passion”.

Currently Catherine has returned to illustrations and is thrilled to be completing 14 illustrations for a children’s book entitled “Brave”.

Lauren Smith

Voice & Piano Instructor
Lauren Smith is a soprano from Barrie, Ontario. Lauren started singing at a young age as a member of the Upper Canada Chorus where she was invited to sing in their Chamber Chorus. Lauren began her private voice instruction with Andrea Donais at Donais Studios in Newmarket, Ontario. As a graduate of the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Lauren studied voice in the studio of Helga Tucker, and vocal coaching with Jennifer Tung and diction lyric coach Steven Leigh. Lauren is a regular performer in musical festivals and events, and has been awarded scholarships from the Barrie Music Festival and South Simcoe Arts Council. Lauren loves to share her music by offering outreach concerts and recital performances.

As a pianist, Lauren began taking lessons at the age of five and is currently under the private instruction of Dr. Su Jeon Higuera in Toronto, Ontario. Lauren is currently studying voice performance at the prestigious Glenn Gould School of Music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Lauren is studying with Adrianne Pieczonka, the vocal chair and head of the vocal department, and vocal coach Rachael Kerr.

As an alum of Donais Studios, Lauren is thrilled to be joining the artistic team as a private voice and piano instructor.

History of Maloney House

The Maloney House, established in 1823, is one of the original farmsteads of the area and home to Donais Studios.

This historic home provides an inspiring atmosphere for artistic development and creates a beautiful connection to the past. During recent renovations, we found 100-year-old recital programs within our walls.

This home has held a love for music for well over a century. Continuing this tradition, Donais Studios creates a warm and inviting space to learn, grow and develop as an artist.

More information coming soon.

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