Historical Biographies

Katie Erickson 

WYC Accompanist 2011-2023

Katie is a Winnipeg-born and educated pianist. She graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Manitoba.

Katie first fell in love with accompanying at the age of 7 when she was allowed to play Oh Canada for a school assembly. Since then, she has actively sought out all opportunities to play for others. Always up for a challenge, Katie has happily played for many varied groups of all ages and abilities – choirs, ballet schools, soloists, musicals, auditions, weddings, and church services. She has had the joy of playing for and seeing music impact everyone from 5 to 85! 

Katie started with the WYC at its re-incarnation in 2011 and has been a member of the music team ever since.  She loves spending her Wednesday nights seeing the singers grow and learn. 

Katie lives with her husband Andrew (a guitar teacher) and daughter Olivia (an honorary WYC member and enthusiastic cheering squad). 

Irene Penner

WYC Junior Chorus Music Co-Director 2014-2017

Irene has been teaching music extensively for over thirty years. She graduated from the University of Manitoba receiving her Bachelor of Education with a music major in voice/grade 10 piano. She is currently the music specialist at Princess Margaret School. She has been a guest conductor for the River East Transcona School Division recorder ensemble, working together with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Her school choirs have won many awards during her career and she has also directed a German Choir for special cultural events. She has served as a clinician for Children’s Day for the Manitoba Orff Chapter.

Like most music teachers Irene’s love of music began while singing in children’s choirs, as well as studying Musical Theatre/Opera at the Banff School of Fine Arts. She also performs as a soloist at different events and has sung with Ecco a Winnipeg based choir and the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir.

In her spare time she enjoys baking, singing and travelling with her husband, Reinhardt. Both her children Stefan and Melanie were active choristers in the WYC, for many years.

Rhonda McRorie

WYC Junior Chorus Music Co-Director 2014-2016

Rhonda passed away on November 16, 2016, early in the 2016-2017 season.  She deeply touched and enriched the lives of the children in the WYC and every time we sing ‘Hold Me, Rock Me’ we think of Rhonda.

Rhonda McRorie, singer, songwriter, and music educator, holds both performance and academic credentials: an ARCT in Voice Performance, a Bachelor of Music Education degree, and a Master’s of Education degree. She has conducted choirs for the Brandon School Division, the River East Transcona School Division, and the American School in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as well as in summer programs in Nevis and Antigua, West Indies.

Her involvement in professional groups includes the Manitoba Choral Association, the Manitoba Music Educators’ Association, and the Manitoba Orff Chapter. Her participation in performance groups spans a range of choral groups: the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, the Faith and Life Choir, the Manitoba Opera Chorus, the Winnipeg Singers, and various church choirs.

Early in her career, she composed and recorded two albums, Freedom in My Soul and Better Tomorrows. She staged Annie (1985), with Craig Oliphant, generating $10,000.00 for World Vision. Rhonda also co-produced Better Tomorrows (1988), an original musical based on a true story, generating $7,000.00 for the Children’s Cancer Fund.

As a music educator, she has consistently sought to give students transformative and memorable experiences outside the classroom, for example, having her River East Transcona Divisional choirs perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Rhonda conducts the Good Neighbours Handbell Choir, is a guest teacher, and supervises Music Education students from Brandon University.

Rhonda has a husband, Daniel and daughter Chelsea who also enjoy music-making.


Charmaine Bacon

WYC Junior Chorus Accompanist 2016-2017

Originally from Russell, Manitoba, Charmaine Bacon (BMus, MMus) is a classically trained pianist, organist, and flutist. Charmaine is the pianist for Margaret’s Choir, the Silver Notes Choir, Joie de Vivre, and the Winnipeg Youth Chorus Juniors. Charmaine teaches flute at her home studio in River Heights and is active as a flute clinician across the city and province. She is co-artistic director of the Wind Chamber Concert Series at Crescent Fort Rouge United and piccoloist of the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble.

Ed & Andrea Hammond

Co-Founders and original directors of the Winnipeg Youth Chorus 1989-2005

Ed and Andrea founded the Winnipeg Youth Chorus in 1989 and went on to enjoy 16 years of amazing music making with some of the most talented and interesting young people in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas. It was an adventure of a lifetime! How wonderful is it to be able to say that grown adults who are the Alumni of the WYC still come every three years to join together in song, in love, and in friendship. Ed and Andrea are both retired educators from the River East and River East Transcona School Divisions. Andrea was a music teacher, Divisional Music Consultant, Vice Principal and Principal and Ed enjoyed the many years as a classroom teacher in many different situations and grades and some of our Alumni are his former students!

Andrea’s extensive music background and Ed’s broad drama and movement background were a perfect match for inspiring excellence and creating the Family of the Winnipeg Youth Chorus. Seven full musicals, many music awards, working for 10 years with the CBC, our very precious relationship both in the studio and in live performances with Fred Penner, collaborating with Burton Cummings for the Pan American Games, performing with the Osmond family in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”, so many amazing road trips, crying at Coffee House performances at camp…… that’s what keeps us “Forever Singing, Forever Friends”. With Lisa and Garth at the helm, we take a backseat and provide some old folks wisdom to the Board of Directors and enjoy the ride as we watch with pride as they bring their skills and dreams to an organization that they love as we do.

We are honoured to still be part of the dream!


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