Our Staff

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 the better part of the past decade. 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’s 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 (sort of) 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. Ten years into the adventure, OrKidstra is a proud community-building program through music – and very Canadian – with 42 languages spoken amongst 400 children!


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 17 years and has progressed to the role of The Leading Note’s General Manager. She is our resident expert in all things print 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.

Lisa Nazrenko – Assistant Manager

Lisa NazrenkoLisa moved to Ottawa from the Prairies to pursue an MMus in Cello Performance at the University of Ottawa and and graduated in April 2017. She made the graceful transition into the Assistant Manager role in June 2017 when Kevin returned to school to pursue his Masters. Apart from being an avid chamber and orchestral musician, Lisa is happily involved with the OrKidstra program as cello Teaching Artist and is starting her own cello studio here in town. When she is not playing or teaching, Lisa enjoys exploring all the beautiful trails Ottawa has to offer.


Kevin Burke

Kevin BurkeKevin studied French horn for twelve years before deciding to make the switch to voice (bass-baritone, if you’re wondering). He is currently in the process of starting his Masters in Vocal Performance at U of O. You can see Kevin onstage at University of Ottawa School of Music productions and various choral shows around town.
 
 


Kitty Chan

Kitty ChanLaKitty completed her ARCT in both piano and cello from the RCM in 2012 – and thought that she was all done with music. Three years later, she finds herself studying cello performance and biochemistry at the University of Ottawa and working at a store full of it! She has yet to figure out what she wants to do with her biochemistry degree, but she is loving the constant confusion between abstract art and systematic formulas. [Editorial aside - it's rather hard to believe, but in our 16-year history Kitty was our first employee who is a cellist!]

Serena Reuten

Serena ReutenSerena continues our long lineage of flute players (but fortunately not left-handed!) and is currently working on her Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa. She has a wide range of musical interests and hopes to eventually study conducting.
 

 
 
 

Lindsey Sikora

Lindsey SikoraLindsey completed her MMus degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Ottawa in 2013, which makes her a great resource for vocal repertoire at the store. As a voice and piano teacher, she is currently loving her full load of students at Alcorn Music Studios in Little Italy. She also helps to direct music at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Anglican Church and has even picked up a new instrument, the organ!
 
 

Claire Stevens

Claire StevensClaire is one of Ottawa’s busiest collaborative pianists, working with the University of Ottawa vocal students and several local choirs. We are pleased to have her onboard, both for her extensive knowledge of the piano and choral repertoire and her sunny disposition!

 
 



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

 

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