Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF)

Bargaining Units

The Fan Issue 5 Winter 2021

The Fan Issue 5 Winter 2021

Issue 5 Click here











Dear Faculty,

Happy New Year to all!

It is hard to believe that one year has passed since we first learned about this hundred-year pandemic called Covid-19. No one could have imagined that it would last as long as it has, affecting so many lives in so many ways.  Thankfully, teams of medical researchers and scientist pushed forward to create a vaccine that could be available within the year. It may take time for the vaccine to be distributed but we are seeing glimmers of light and we will get there eventually.

With this renewed hope, we continue to work through the day-to-day challenges that are ever prevalent while giving our students the best quality instruction we can offer under the circumstances. We must remember to celebrate our accomplishments throughout this journey, both big and small. It is my hope that this newsletter will do just that!

In this issue, you'll find the Faculty Executive summary, which includes our new Land Acknowledgement Statement; we are acknowledging and celebrating Black History Month through the music of black composers, courtesy of our very own Monica Gaylor, you'll also find OSSTF updates, and celebrations and recognition of our student and faculty. 

Finally, we also say farewell to Victor Danchenko, a proud member of The Royal Conservatory family, with a beautiful tribute put together by his GGS students.Do remember that this newsletter is for you. Contact me with any ideas, comments, suggestions, and topics you would like to see covered in our next spring issue.

- Jeannie Niokos


PRESIDENTS REPORT By Stanley Rosenzweig


Hi Everyone,

I hope that you are all doing well in the New Year!

RCM News & Updates

On January 1st, OSSTF representative Kerri Ferguson and I met with Nancy Vincent and Jeremy to discuss the building's recent shutdown. We discussed the possibility of allowing faculty members to continue teaching online at the Conservatory when home teaching was too difficult.  Unfortunately, the RCS does not meet any of the by-laws' exemption criteria.  The GGS, however, is a regulated post-secondary institute for which there are explicit exemption rules, and therefore teaching is allowed. 


District 34 Update

The Presidents of District 34 met last week to exchange information about the situation in each of the individual schools, and to decide an alternate delegate to attend AMPA 2021 which we deemed would be  The Center for English Studies as it is their turn to attend.

Marisa Vandercamp (UTS) has been appointed the new treasurer for the district. She replaces John MacGraw.

Rebates were determined for all the districts and the RCM will be receiving $10,400. The rebate will be sent out in the near future.

We discussed a need to revitalize the district website and  Jeannie Niokos and Olivia Esther from the RCM responded to a district-wide call that was sent out late in the Fall to work with David Cope, President of District 34 to assist in this effort.


Benevolent Fund Committee

During the Fall the Faculty Executive initiated the Benevolent Fund Committee to financially assist faculty with immediate, short term needs or emergencies. I am pleased to introduce the members of the Benevolent Fund Committee: Lala Loon (Treasurer), Emily Seto-Hughes (Secretary), Cecilia Chan (Bargaining Unit Member) and myself.  More information on the progression of the Benevolent Fund will be available in the coming weeks.


Availability Declarations for SUMMER 2021: 

A reminder that the RCM will not be sending an availability form.

For clarity when submitting your availability declaration for the upcoming Summer and Fall semester:

Include the days and the hours that you are available to teach. Wording such as, "I am available" is not necessary. This was due January 31, 2021. If you have not done so, please contact please send your information to academicscheduling@rcmusic.ca.


Land Acknowledgement Statement Proposal

New Executive Member Ewa Krzatala and I met online to finalize the proposed Land Acknowledgment Statement. We will be reading this statement at the all executive meetings, AGM's and including it in THE FAN going forward.

"The Royal Conservatory School acknowledges and thanks the Anishinawbe, the Huron-Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, the Chippewathe Seneca and the Mississaugas of the Credit peoples of this territory covered by Treaty 13, and other indigenous peoples including Petun First Nations, Inuit and Metis for sharing this land so that we may come together today in a good way."


Thank you and Farewell

On behalf of the Executive and Faculty at The Royal Conservatory, I would like to acknowledge and thank Allen Cullen, Brahm Goldhamer, David Richter and Rachel Andrist for their years of faithful and committed instruction and service at The Royal Conservatory. We wish you well in all of your future endeavors.


Regards to all,



Letter to Premier Ford formally requesting pandemic pay for OSSTF/FEESO educational assistant members (sent February 3, 2021)

Premier Ford Feb 3, 2021

Premier Ford Feb 3, 2021

1 - Minister of Education - Steven Lecce's Latest Announcements

Read up on Lecce's latest announcements from the Ministry of Education

 More Empty Words

The hidden traps in Education Minister Lecce's decision-making


Celebrating Our Women

On January 20, 2021 the world witnessed history being made as Kamala Harris became the first woman (and woman of color) to be appointed to the office of Vice-President of the United States. She has joined the growing list of empowered woman to have achieved the highest office and are leading with wisdom, passion and grace on the world stage. The UN has recently reported that 21 of 119 countries have women as their heads of state. There is still a long way to go in achieving gender parity in the political arena. [Facts and figures: Women's leadership and political participation: What we do. (2021, January 15)]

The good news is that Canadians have made enormous strides to achieving gender parity and equality in the Arts and the Royal Conservatory is no exception. We recently discovered that there are 101 women on faculty at the RCM. That is 101 out of 200 faculty members holding distinguished positions at The Royal Conservatory. That is cause for celebration indeed!

Monica Gaylord

A quick Google search on MONICA GAYLORD (b. 1948 in New York) will leave one breathless with the prolific scope of her career. Not only has Monica forged her own path as a concert pianist, harpsichordist and recording artist but she has demonstrated tremendous leadership in Education in Canada. Throughout her career Ms. Gaylord has created and taught numerous teacher workshops, adjudicated for festivals and sat on juries for the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils. She was editorially involved with the music for the New Piano Series and Celebration Series  for The Royal Conservatory and can be heard on the curriculum's recordings.


Early in her busy 50-plus years of performing and teaching, she was actively championing the music of Black composers long before the #BlackLivesMatter movement. With her many performances and involvement in music education, Monica Gaylord helped pave the way for women in the Arts in Canada and for that we say, thank you.

Monica's album Piano Music By William Grant Still and Other Black Composers Played by Monica Gaylord can be heard on Spotify

2 - RCM Festival 2010

Angela Shwarzkopf

Dr. ANGELA SWARZKOPF, DMA is on the Harp Faculty at the Glenn Gould School, a 2020 JUNO Winner and a published academic. Her album, Detach won Classical Album of the Year: Solo or chamber.

Angela is the 2nd Vice President and Director at Large for the American Harp Society, Director of Development and Faculty, Young Artist's Harp Seminar, on the Editorial Board for American Harp Journal, a Sessional Faculty member at the University of Toronto, the Glenn Gould School, and McMaster University.

Listen to Angela play a track from her Juno Award Winning Album,  Detach


Nadina Mackie Jackson

Named Instrumentalist of the Year 2020 by Just Plain Folks, NADINA MACKIE JACKSON is the most widely recorded Canadian bassoonist in history with 12 solo albums, 8 chamber music recordings and dozens of albums with symphony, chamber and historical instrument orchestras.

A true communicator, confidently venturing into new works, venues and collaborations, joining forces with emerging and established composers, performers and thinkers, sharing her joy and continual sense of discovery with audiences.

Full Bio and EPK here.


Nadina is celebrating the launch of her e-book Solitary Refinement,  learn more by clicking on the link below.

"After decades with Canada’s top music schools, Nadina teaches widely as a master class artist and recently published SOLITARY REFINEMENT, Chromatics, Chords & Scales, Concepts for the Committed Bassoonist (Friesen Press)."

5. Saying Farewell

The Royal Conservatory of Music currently employs 201 diverse, vibrant teachers and musicians, and we believe this should be celebrated! The Faculty Spotlight has been created to honor achievements, acknowledge contributions, and learn from the experiences of the current or recently retired teachers representing the The Royal Conservatory School, The Taylor Academy and the Glenn Gould School.

The following faculty members have recently retired from the RCM Faculty:

      Alan Cullen

      Brahm Goldhamer

      David Richter

      Rachel Andrist

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Association we thank them for their many years of dedication and commitment to the school. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors!

6. FACULTY SPOTLIGHT  - Honouring Brahm Goldhamer

By Olivia Esther

“It is a great honour to spend one's life exploring the unique spiritual significance of music. We should never take it for granted. Music and especially vocal music speaks to the deepest part of man. It is a blessing.”  - Brahm Goldhamer



Name: Brahm Goldhamer

Origin: Cornwall, Ontario

Position(s) and Affiliations: 

Royal Conservatory School

Glenn Gould School 

Vocal coach, Chief repetitor of spring opera, Collaborative pianist

Years: 1982 - 2020



A whole generation of singers learned to really listen and trust their intuition with Brahm Goldhamer who laid the foundations for the opera program at the Glenn Gould School.  We sat down to talk with the stalwart vocal coach and Chief repetitor for Opera at The Royal Conservatory to find out what has been his guiding light as an educator and collaborative pianist for nearly two decades. 

OE: What led you into music? How did you begin?

BG: There was an old Heinzman piano at my grandfather’s home. I liked to play around as a child on this piano, even though I had no idea of what I was doing. Music was my special toy, my private world . It was MINE.

OE: I love how you describe Music, as a special toy.  It's as if it is a secret language. 

BG: I think [as musicians] we all feel this way about music. I could, at a very young age, disappear into its mysteries. I always felt this and still feel the same today.

OE: And I suppose it is more keenly felt now during Covid as we continue to be isolated from one another not only physically but artistically.

BG: Absolutely. Music has definitely become that escape, especially now. I have been spending the time playing solo repertoire and particularly Bach's Goldberg Variations.

OE: How did you come to teach at The Royal Conservatory?

BG: I accompanied vocal lessons for several teachers at the RCM -  Elizabeth Benson Guy, Meghan Rutledge , Jean Marie Scott and Jean MacPhail . Jean (MacPhail), who is still teaching today, recommended me to the RCM administration and I started work as a coach in 1982. I have always felt that I could intuit the inner meaning of music and I loved the human voice . To me, there was nothing [the voice] could not say.

OE: What is your philosophical approach to teaching? How has it guided you as a mentor and pedagogue?

BG: Listen.

Listen to the student. Listen to their particular vocal timbre. Listen to the words of the text. Words , even without meaning , have an intrinsic beauty. Listen to the music. Really listen. What does the melody, the harmony , the rhythm suggest to the student. Everything revolves around the ear. Listen quietly. The music does speak differently to each singer. I try to provoke the student to discover in themselves what makes the music come to life.

OE: Share about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

BG: I am proud that I started the RCM Opera Ensemble in 1991 - many years before the Glenn Gould School existed.

OE: Wow...so this is long before the Glenn Gould School existed!

BG: Yes, the Opera Ensemble which began about 10 years before the GGS was firmly established.

 OE: Brahm, this is incredible. You basically created or at least laid the foundations for the Opera Program as we know it today.

BG: I provided one of the few opportunities for young singers to put into practice what they did in the studio. I asked many friends to come and help. It was very grassroots. One particular highlight was I performing Debussy’s “Pelleas et Melisande” with the RCM ensemble. This music has affected me deeply and remains a memory I will cherish.

OE: Where do you see yourself after retirement? Do you plan to continue teaching privately? Pursue a hobby or interest?

BG: I hope after Covid has finally run its course, that I can still do some work with singers. I have spent forty years doing it and it is in my DNA. I am spending a lot of time playing solo piano repertoire that I never had time for in the past. I am working through Bach’s Goldberg Variations and hope to play it for my birthday for friends.

As I have both lived and worked in Italy for over 20 years, I wish to spend more time in that beautiful country.

OE: How wonderful [about Italy]! What did you do there?

BG: I taught in summer programs and would love to return and explore the country.

OE: Do have an interest in living there? 

BG: I don't think so (with a chuckle). I am torn in my heart between the Mediterranean and home, but I truly love this country and of course, have personal connections here. And especially now with what has been going on in the world and south of the border, I am so appreciative to be living in Canada and am proud to call this country my home.

OE: Let's get into a few fun facts. I always like to throw a few fun questions into an interview which I think gives us, the readers, a little peripheral into Brahms' world. 

Which do you prefer - Coffee or Tea?

BG: Coffee 

OE: What was the last show you binge watched?

BG: The Crown on Netflix

OE: What is your favorite food?

BG: For breakfast, my own delicious omelet and for dinner, it's a toss up between homemade pizza and fish with roasted veggies.

OE: Who would you most like to meet and why?

My grandfather. He left Romania in 1911 and died before I was before I was born. I visited Romania two years ago and went to his village. I felt the ghosts of my family all around. People have told me that he was a fine amateur singer in the synagogue.

OE: To be honest, I am moved by your response.  I too have been drawn to explore more deeply my heritage and roots and I have no idea if this comes out of questioning what is truly important to us during these darker times. It has always been so important to me to understand this continuum and the idea of legacy. Who are we? Where did we come from?

BG: It was an incredible experience to be able to go to Romania and literally feel that deep connection to the land. I had a real sense for the first time of where I had come from. We travelled to the village where my grandfather was born and found an old, basically abandoned cemetery that was overgrown with weeds and brush - it was very hard to wade through it. But we managed to find burial stones and it is likely my ancestors were buried there.

OE: What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

In the summer, I love biking. I love being in the country and in particular, northern Ontario which has the rocks and lakes. I love being there.

OE: What advice can you give to the next generation of teachers and mentors?

BG: Keep the joy of making music in your heart.

OE: Such words of encouragement for our hearts right now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your humanity with us not only for this interview but throughout your career at The Royal Conservatory. Brahm, you are an inspiration, an artist and the greatest of all honors, 'teacher.' 

Congratulations on your retirement!


Reviews, Publications, Media and Recordings

It is an honor and a privilege to celebrate and promote the work our retired faculty have done and are continuing to do. We have selected for your perusal the following featured reviews and articles that have recognized Brahms' work and artistry. 


On Stage: Brahm Goldhamer Featured Artist in Opera Canada

By Dawn Martens

Vol. LVII, No. 3*



*[Unfortunately, this article is not available online without a subscription to Opera Canada. This link will give you a preview of the featured article and an option to go to Opera Canada to either purchase the issue or subscribe to the magazine. A hard copy is available in the Rupert Edwards Library at The Royal Conservatory.]


Pelléas et Mélisande by Request

Review By Leslie Barcza, Feb. 5, 2011


“I would not be undertaking such a discussion if it weren’t for the extraordinary playing of Brahm Goldhamer, the pianist & Music Director.”



Goldhamer’s Schubert: where the music is

Review By Leslie Barcza, January 18, 2016


“I was most impressed with how Brahm approached the big B-flat sonata, as though it were a series of song-like episodes, even though at times its technical challenges are big. But this was not a show-off exercise, not a matter of interpretation. He was in a genuine sense invisible, once I decided to stare at the ceiling and let his music-making flood over me, carrying me away. His hands were at ease, his pianissimo touches as delicate as a caress administered to each of us in this warm intimate venue.”



The following excerpt is taken from Questions for Brahm Goldhamer for the barczablog published January 2, 2016

Brahm is asked to speak about his all-Schubert program (Impromptus op 90, and three sonatas: B-flat , A Major and G Major)


"Schubert speaks to me very personally. There is a special vulnerability that comes through his music which I can identify with. Since he was such a great composer of Lieder, it is just a step away for me to play his solo piano works as if they were all songs. There is something very mysterious about the Impromptus. With all of Schubert’s music there is, pardon the pun, something “unfinished.” They are not structured the way the sonatas of Beethoven are. They rather wander loosely. This is both their strength and their “weakness.” Schubert has his feet both in the classical time of Mozart, and in the forward looking harmonies of Beethoven. As with all great composers. they are not specific to any one time. They are unique creations, often looking both to the past and to the future.

This is Schubert. The B flat Sonata is a masterpiece, but it at times seems to lack cohesion. There is not the drive forwards to the cadence as we hear in Beethoven. Schubert takes his time and explores the nuances before finally arriving at the pivotal moment. This is what makes him unique. He lives in shadows, going back and forth between major and minor. You are never really sure as to whether the music is truly “happy” or whatever the opposite is. At the end of his life, Schubert was in a lot of physical pain. He does not allow this, as for example Tchaikovsky does, to become a really personal statement. This makes his music even more poignant."

3 - Hard Hat Concert at Koerner Hall, 2007.

Brahm joined colleagues in 2007 to play for the Koerners and construction workers in 2007. The Toronto Star and PLAYBILL Magazine (NYC)  picked up the story! 

L-R: Stanley Rosenzweig, Steven Dann, Jamie Thompson, Brahm Goldhamer, Joel Katz

Brahm joined colleagues in 2007 to play for the Koerners and construction workers in 2007. The Toronto Star and PLAYBILL Magazine (NYC)  picked up the story! 

L-R: Stanley Rosenzweig, Steven Dann, Jamie Thompson, Brahm Goldhamer, Joel Katz


GGS Students Take to the Koerner Hall Stage in Their Debut Season Performance Online

Published on November 1, 2020

Earlier this fall, the students of The Glenn Gould School (GGS) took to the stage of Koerner Hall for the first Royal Conservatory Orchestra (RCO) concert of the academic year.


But, to adhere to government indoor capacity limits, the usually packed hall was virtually empty, and the performance was recorded. As a result, the RCO’s season debut, which was livestreamed on The Royal Conservatory website the evening of October 30, will look very different than those of the past.


“RCO concerts are such an integral part of the training at GGS, that we simply had to find a way to perform,” said Dean James Anagnoson. “Every safety precaution was put in place, and the students are thrilled to be able to get back to performing.”

The GGS team developed a comprehensive COVID-19 safety protocol which included socially distanced stage seating, plexiglass dividers for winds and brass, and concert dress face masks for the remainder of the orchestra.


4 - Iris Park, a student from Dianne Aitken's flute studio, closes the Band Program Virtual Holiday Concert with her gorgeous tone and musicianship.

The students of the RCS Band Program prove resilience in the face of these challenging times


The RCS Band Program decided to do things a little differently this year. Since we are still operating virtually, we opted to give the students weekly private lessons and a monthly sectional class in lieu of a full band rehearsal. The results have been positive and our numbers are growing!

On December 20th the RCS Band Program held its 6th annual holiday celebration concert online -  it worked and we even managed to keep it to an hour!

Instead of trying to have the students record individually to mimic playing in a large ensemble, the teachers decided it would be a better experience to have each student prepare a short solo piece to perform "live" via Zoom.  The "room" was packed with friends and family zooming in from all over the country and even from the US. You could feel the excitement and energy coming through the screen as each Studio, hosted by their teacher, presented.

My deepest gratitude to Dianne Aitken (flute), Scott Marshall (clarinet), Michael Anklewicz (saxophone), Stanley Rosenzweig (trumpet), Dave Pell (trombone) and Ed Reifel (percussion) for their dedication and ingenuity in helping to see this program remain a fixture in the RCM fabric of music making.

As the Coordinator, I am so proud of our 30 winds, brass and percussion students who have persevered with poise and professionalism through this difficult time. They played beautifully and should be very proud of their achievements.


      A warm welcome to our NEWEST Tuba Faculty, Ian Feenstra who joined us January 2021. We are so happy you're part of the Band Family at The Royal Conservatory.

5 - CELEBRATE STUDENTS - RCS - Student recitals are continuing online, Emily Seto-Hughes held a successful halloween recital in the Fall. The kids had a wonderful time


6 - 6. IN MEMORY OF  Victor Danchenko

A distinguished member of the international violin community and a proud member of The Royal Conservatory family, Victor Danchenko will be greatly missed.

Published on November 20, 2020 Click to view the video -  Touching Tribute


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - The FAN is evolving. 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to The FAN - it is your involvement and support that makes The FAN so great and what it is today!

You are invited to contribute content for upcoming issues of The FAN -- any member of the RCM Faculty can submit proposals, and here's how it works!

xx This year we are piloting a new platform where we invite our faculty at large to post an article in the newsletter. 

We have implemented a three step process: 

1.     Submit a topic in 50 words or less and send it to xx Jeannie Niokos.  // to our attention. NOTE: To be clear, you do not have to have the article completed, we just need the topic.

2.     Submissions will be reviewed by the Communications Committee in a timely manner.

3.     Once approved, you will be given the green light to write your article and you will receive a $50 honorarium upon completion.

Topic ideas can include:

      Pedagogy & Best Practices

      Mental Health / Creative Response to COVID-19

      Music Technology

      Student Engagement


      Social Justice


      Career Development





We hope that you enjoyed The FAN, Winter 2021 edition. We welcome your ideas and feedback at any time!

Please send all communications to  - jeannieniokos@outlook.com


The FAN newsletter staff is Jeannie, Jami