Meet Our Board & Staff
Carole Bestvater, violinist, strives to share her joy of music with those around her. She is equally at home in classical and folk genres, maintaining a full schedule as a performer and educator. Carole relocated to St. John’s to pursue a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance with Dr. Nancy Dahn at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and loved it here so much that she decided to stay.
Passionate about community, Carole founded the Strong Harbour Strings Program, an after school music program based in the belief that communities can be strengthened through the learning and sharing of music. Carole is also on faculty of the Suzuki Talent Education Program, Assistant Principal Second of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and maintains a private studio. As a performer, you can catch Carole fiddling with local bands such as Youngtree & The Blooms, High & Lonesome, Crooked Stovepipe, and the Chris Andrews Band, or you can find her in classical music ensembles such as the Strong Harbour Strings Collective, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, or The Isabella Project.
Peter Smith has worked in the music business since 2015, primarily performing under the moniker Peter Willie Youngtree and fronting the Alt-Country/Rock act Youngtree & The Blooms. Both Peter and his band have become known for being able to liven up a room as reliably as they can rouse those pin-drop moments in otherwise noisy crowds. Peter has written two award-winning albums and he had the honour of being named the Ron Hynes SOCAN Songwriter of the Year in 2019. Currently, he is working on producing a third album, studying sound engineering, and creating a duo project with Local 820 board member (and member of Youngtree & The Blooms) Carole Bestvater. He also happily works as a Child and Youth Care Practitioner with the non-profit Key Assets.
Jessica Bemister or more commonly referred to by her stage name Evelyn Jess is an openly gay singer/songwriter from the out port town of Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland. Jess has been playing, writing and performing music since her early teens. She holds a Diploma from the College of the North Atlantic for Music Industry & Performance and as a solo artist, Jess has had the pleasure of singing alongside Juno Award Winner, Serena Ryder. In June 2018 she was also the winner of the Amelia Earhart Songwriting Competition. Jess currently resides in sunny Kelligrews, Conception Bay South and plans to release her very first EP in the Fall of 2020.
Amy Collyer-Holmes, a cellist originally from Toronto, has made Newfoundland her home since 2016. A Tuckamore Young Artist Program alumna, she performs regularly with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Opera on the Avalon, and the Watershed Ensemble. Amy received her Bachelor of Music from Queen’s University studying with Wolf Tormann, and completed her Master of Music in Cello Performance & Pedagogy at Memorial University under the direction of Vernon Regehr. She is passionate about music education and currently has 25 private cello students; she also teaches for the Suzuki Talent Education Program, and is the Board Chair for Strong Harbour Strings. In her spare time, Amy can be found enjoying the outdoors with her dog Bonnie.
Mike McDonald is a professional entertainer based out of Twillingate. He is an active advocate, sitting on not only the board of Local 820 but also with Adventure Central, 618 Entertainment, and the NL Arts & Tourism Collaborative. He has been an integral liaison between the Arts and Tourism industries and is working hard behind the scenes to bring the musicians of our province fruitful opportunities. Mike also Manages events and is known to be a great addition to any team looking for innovation and creative approaches to challenges.
Lianne was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario and began playing flute at the age of 10. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from University of Windsor where she studied with Jaimie Wagner and Liesel Deppe. Lianne has performed in various camps and masterclasses and has taught students of all different ages and skill levels. Lianne earned her Master’s degree in performance/pedagogy at Memorial University of Newfoundland where she studied with Michelle Cheramy. In her spare time, Lianne enjoys reading, going to the beach, playing with her fur babies, yoga, and baking. Lianne is currently teaching students of all ages while pursuing her yoga teacher training certification, and she hopes to combine both of these disciplines in her career!
Born in beautiful Burin, Newfoundland, Grant has performed, studied and taught throughout Canada. Having thoroughly enjoyed a 30 year teaching career, Grant is now the Artistic Director of the Calos Youth Orchestras and teaches bassoon at the MUN School of Music. He is also the Principal Bassoonist with the NSO and a member of the Rotary Music Festival Committee in St. John’s.
Rozalind MacPhail brings over 25 years of experience working in the music industry. In her role as Executive Director of AFM Local 820, Rozalind helps musicians learn about pension, instrument insurance, filing contracts, applying for U.S. touring and more. Outside of the office, Rozalind works as a touring artist, film composer, session musician and music educator.