Our Staff

UPDATE: The Leading Note is currently a one-man operation, with Gary manning the trenches from home! Due to the COVID-19 situation, the planned transition to Long & McQuade at the end of April 2020 has been put on hold and our former staff are currently unemployed. Many, many, many thanks to Kevin Burke and Wendy Berkelaar for sticking with us and helping us to make it through the month of April.

The plan is still for the transition to eventually take place and for Sheilah, Kevin and Vicente to work at the Long & McQuade Hunt Club location. We will let you know as soon as we have anything to report.


The Leading Note's owner's, Gary McMillen and Tina Fedeski, and general manager, Sheilah Craven.The Canadian owned and operated Leading Note music store was founded by the husband and wife team of Gary McMillen and Tina Fedeski in December, 1999. Sheilah Craven joined on in July, 2000, and has been our illustrious general manager for more than a decade now. Over the years, we have been fortunate to have a steady stream of dedicated, highly knowledgeable and friendly musicians on staff. Below is our current crop!

Gary McMillen – Owner, President and OrKidstra’s Past Chair

Gary McMillen - Owner, President and Past Chair of the OrKidstra ProgramGary spent the first sixteen years of his post-university life working as an engineer in the high tech sector. However, after meeting Tina and renovating a house together, that was all thrown out the window and they opened The Leading Note music store in 1999. In 2007, he helped to establish The Leading Note Foundation and its OrKidstra program along with Tina and Margaret Tobolowska and served as the program’s chair and treasurer for the first several years. Since then, the organization and its infrastructure have matured to such a point that the only thing they’ll let him do now is play timpani in the OrKidstra concerts.

Gary survived a misspent youth as a rock drummer before taking up the cello in his late twenties. He now enjoys playing the symphonic repertoire with the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra (when he’s not on the tennis court).

Tina Fedeski – Owner, Vice President and OrKidstra’s Executive Director

Owner, Vice President and Executive Director of the OrKidstra ProgramFollowing a life-transforming experience in the UK’s Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra, Tina went on to study at the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England, and then played principal flute in the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra for four seasons. After spending a six-month sabbatical on full scholarship at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1990, she moved to Ottawa where she played with all the established orchestras and festivals in Ottawa including the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.

In 1999, after renovating a house together, she and Gary opened The Leading Note music store. For the first several years, Tina worked full time at the store as our original left-handed flute player. Then, in early 2007, she visited Venezuela to research El Sistema in pursuit of her belief in the transformative power of youth music. Soon afterwards, Tina, Gary and Margaret Tobolowska established The Leading Note Foundation* and its OrKidstra program, where she now works (more than) full time. Twelve years into the adventure, OrKidstra is a proud community-building program through music – and very Canadian – with 42 languages spoken amongst 700 children!

* In 2016, the official name of the charitable organization was changed from The Leading Note Foundation to OrKidstra in order to reduce branding confusion.

Sheilah Craven – General Manager

Sheilah Craven - General ManagerSheilah has the distinction of being our first left-handed flute-playing employee (after Tina, of course!). Starting just 6 months after the store first opened, she has now been with the company for 19 years and has progressed to the role of The Leading Note’s General Manager. She is our resident expert in all things print music (with a speciality in choral music) – from how quickly an order will arrive to which editions offer the most playable scores. With a background in music therapy, piano and flute (and a brief period as a rock keyboardist), Sheilah currently enjoys an active musical life as soprano chorister and Choir Manager for the Ottawa Choral Society, performing regularly with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and other Ottawa ensembles.

Kevin Burke – Assistant Manager

Kevin Burke - Assistant ManagerKevin studied French horn for twelve years before deciding to make the switch to voice (bass-baritone, if you’re wondering). He manages to find time to fill our Assistant Manager role while completing his Masters in vocal performance at the University of Ottawa. You can see Kevin onstage at University of Ottawa School of Music productions and various choral shows around town.

Vicente Garcia – Marketing Manager

Vicente Garcia - Marketing ManagerAn avid music lover and bassist, Vicente came to Ottawa to pursue his Masters Degree in Double bass at the University of Ottawa in 2016 and has since moved to start his career in the capital region. Eager about combining a career in business as well as a performing musician, he decided to further his education and graduated from the Music Business program at Humber College after completing a marketing internship with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. He recently joined The Leading Note to assist with Marketing.

Leading Note staff party at Pancho Villa's Mexican restaurant (Dec 2016)


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