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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Oakville’s Charlene Pauls awarded the 2018 Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting

November 21, 2018

Image of Charlene PaulsThe Ontario Arts Council (OAC) today announced Charlene Pauls as the recipient of the 2018 Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting. She will receive the award at the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth’s 25th annual Come Together in Song concert at ClearView Church on Saturday, November 24 at 7 p.m.


About Charlene Pauls

  • Charlene is the associate artistic director of the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth (OCCY) and conducts its Raise Her Voice chamber choir, which promotes empowerment for young female leaders.
  • Charlene is an advocate for choral music as an agent of social change. In addition to her work with Raise Her Voice, she leads the Mosaic Music Collective – an intergenerational, multicultural community choir that aims to break down barriers through global music.
  • Along with these roles, Charlene is also the music director at Oakville’s Anglican Church of the Incarnation. Later this season, she will be appearing as a guest conductor with London’s Chor Amica and the Guelph Chamber Choir.
  • Charlene’s skills as a choral conductor have been recognized at the World Choir Games and at Podium, Canada’s national choral festival. She is often called on for her expertise as a choral clinician with groups across Canada.
  • A champion of new Canadian music, Charlene is actively involved in developing, commissioning and promoting works by emerging and established Canadian composers.
  • Charlene holds a doctorate in vocal performance from the University of Toronto, with a focus on vocal pedagogy. She also has degrees in piano, voice and religious studies from McGill University, the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Mennonite University.


The jury was unanimous in its decision, stating: “We are very impressed by Charlene, a conductor who leads her choirs to a very high level of achievement. She is a vibrant and effective community builder, as well as an excellent musician and choral educator. We also applaud her strong commitment to Canadian music and the way she weaves social consciousness into her work.”

Video: View a performance by OCCY's Raise Her Voice choir, under the direction of Charlene Pauls.

About the Leslie Bell prize for choral conducting

  • The $10,000 Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting is awarded every two years to an emerging professional conductor who is a resident of Ontario and works with a professional, semi-professional or community choir.
  • The prize is made possible by a financial contribution from the Leslie Bell Scholarship Fund and the OAC. The scholarship fund, administered by OAC, was established in 1973 by the Leslie Bell Singers and friends of the late Dr. Leslie Bell.
  • The winner was chosen through a nominating and adjudication process managed by the OAC. The jury comprised Teri Dunn (Toronto), Robert Filion (Ottawa) and Dean Jobin-Bevans (Orillia).
  • Previous winners include Mark Vuorinen (2016), Rachel Rensink-Hoff (2014) and Jamie Hillman (2012). Complete list of past Leslie Bell Prize recipients.

For further information

Shoshana Wasser
Communications Coordinator
1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434