Muskoka Men of Song
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Sean Kelly
Memorial Bursary Winners

Christmass 2023

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* 2001-2015 winners*2016 Winners *2017 Winners *2018 Winners *2019 Winners *2020 Winners
* 2022 Winners

Sheane Kelly
The late Sean Kelly and Rob Knighton discussing the bursary program - 2001

An important and rewarding part of The Muskoka Men of Song is the “Sean Kelly Bursary” program. It started when an early member of the choir, the late Sean Kelly, suggested that a little money that had been collected from one their concerts be used to assist a young man, Ryan Jackson, who wanted to further his costly music studies and was experiencing difficulty in doing so. The choir members agreed and the recipient went on to a hugely successful career in music, culminating as organist and choir director for the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. The bursary and recipients have become an important part of the choir’s concerts.


Ryan Jackson -piano, pipe organ
Bracebridge, On

Alan Fraser -trombone
Bracebridge, On


Lark Crockford -voice, piano


Daniel F J Smith -piano, trumpet
Port Carling, On

Rachael Marie Monck -piano, clarinet
Bracebridge, On

Paul Brown -piano
Bracebridge, On



Jennifer Fletcher -voice
Gravenhurst, On

Alayna Jay -saxophone
Huntsville, on

Joel Rendell -percussion
Bracebridge, On

Luke Donaldson -trumpet
Huntsville, On

Susanne van Baarsel -piano
Utterson, On

Nicole Peacock -voice, piano
Huntsville, On

Gregory Gibson -piano
Huntsville, On

Josh Ankenman -violin
Huntsville, On

Hannah Dempsey -percussion
Huntsville, On

Naomi Higgins -saxophone
James Bacon -Cello
Josh Ankenman -violin
Lisa Otto -piano


David Pepper
Justin Bain Gutra -piano
Luke Donaldson -trumpet
Huntsville, On

Mason Smith -percussion
Josh Ankerman -violin
Huntsville, On

Elsa Tan -saxophone
Khris Finley -guitar
Naomi Higgins -Saxophone
Alex Gibson -Piano
Gregory Gibson -piano
Huntsville, On
Daniel Murphy
Kyle Rupport
Sarah Simmons

Morgan McCoy
Sarah Simmons
Sophie Nickerson
Hannah Smith
Elias Trvett
Samantha Snowden
Alec Gibson  -piano
Kylee Rupert

Elias Trivett -piano
Morgan McColl -saxophone Huntsville, On
Enoch Su -piano
Bracebridge, On
Hannah Murphy -voice Huntsville, On
Marloes Streppel -violin Port Sydney, On
Emma Lynch -voice, guitar Bracebridge, On
Grace Cosman -piano Gravenhurst, On

Tim Kennedy -musical theatre
Marloes Streppel -violin
Port Sydney
Grace Murphy -voice
Hannah Murphy -voice
Enoch Su -violin

Sean Kelly Bursary Recipients

  • Sienna White
  • Marloes Streppel
  • Alex Cull
  • Matthew Fisher
  • Grace Murphy
  • Enoch Su

2016 Spring Winners

Sean Kelly Bursary Recipients


2018 Season
Sean Kelly Bursary Recipients

  • Alex Cull
  • Gavin Graves
  • Somer Graves
  • Bridget Johnson
  • Corbin Walsh
  • Gabrielle White
  • Amy McKenzie
2018 Winners

2019 Season
Sean Kelly Bursary Winners

  • Matthew Lacroix                
2019 Bursay winners

2020 Season
Sean Kelly Bursary Winners

Total bursary awards for 2020 is $7,500.  The total bursary donations to date is $51,975.00.

* Note: Many of the winner's photos are also winners from 2019

JohnsonJohnson, Simon, Bracebridge Age14 Grade 9

Simon studies violin with Suzuki School of Music, piano with Mary-Ruth Roadhouse and vocal with Jeanette Martin.
With his family he has opened for Blazing Fiddles in Gravenhurst, at public events, Stars of Tomorrow at the Gravenhurst Opera House, Fall Fair, Pioneer Power Show and our 2019 concert.  His instructors say he is animated, dutiful, polite and hard working.

Bridget JohnsonBridget Johnson Bracebridge, Age16 grade 11

Bridget plays violin with Suzuki school of music, piano Mary-Ruth Roadhouse and Jeanette Martin.
She wants to become a teacher of violin and piano. She is well known to us and has performed for us on the piano and the violin at our concerts.  She has played at our concert for the last 2 years. Her instructors say she has made good progress this year and continues to impress with her preparation and positive attitude.

Margo Johnson Bracebridge. age 13 grade 8,

Margo plays violin with Suzuki School of Music, piano and voice Mary Ruth Roadhouse, Jeanette Martin
Wants to finish her violin training and continue with piano studies.  With her family she has performed at numerous local functions.  Her instructor describes her as delightful, reserved, humorous and hard-working.

Tessa Johnson Bracebridge. Age 11 grade 7,

Tessa plays violin with Suzuki School of Music, piano and voice Mary Ruth Roadhouse, Jeanette Martin
Wants to complete her violin studies and continue with her choir. With her family she has performed at numerous local functions.  Her instructor describes her as a great student, bright and has a gift for the violin and musical style.

Alex CullAlex Cull Huntsville Age 18, 1st year university at Queens.

Alex has pplied music violin with Suzuki School of Music.
I’m sure we are all well aware of his skill, performance and immense talent, having appeared at our concert on numerous occasions.  We can be very proud of the fact we have sponsored him for several years.  His instructor describes him as a real success story and tells how our bursary has helped him in reaching his goals.  He currently plays with 2 orchestras in university and continues to grow his musical knowledge. This is his last year of eligibility for our bursary.

Cam Galloway Bracebridge age 16 grade 11,

Cam Plays guitar/pop, ensemble/repertoire with Leanne Edwards, Billy Bridger of Kingston private online lessons
He is learning music through 3 courses with Leanne Edwards, video conferencing with Billy Bridger and by working in music. He has done live shows across the area, at weddings, festivals, Ribfest, private parties, and solo appearances at Rene Caisse Theatre and Opera House. etc. His goal is university.  He will use the funds for his costs including travel presently paid by his family.
His instructor of 2 years Leanne Edwards describes him as sincere, dedicated, listens well and his best characteristic is his perseverance.  Never takes the easy route and pushes himself to be a better guitarist, singer and performer. She enthusiastically recommends his acceptance.

Javan Good Bracebridge age 12 grade 8,

Plays flute and piano with Melissa Meystadt, piano with Mary Ruth Roadhouse
Javan wants to continue in RCM level flute and level 6 piano. He has performed in concerts and programs for seniors people and at his church.  He is presently funded by Children’s foundation and raising his own money snow shovelling, etc.
His instructor Melissa Meystadt says he is a great listener, is dedicated and eager to learn.  Mary Ruth Roadhouse says he has met his challenge well in piano, he is open to suggestions and is a bright and creative student.

Beniah GoodBeniah Good Bracebridge age 14 grade 9,

Beniah plays piano with Mary Ruth Roadhouse
Ben is passionate about piano and has played since 4, wants to continue to a career in music.  Has performed in festivals, Christmas concerts, Muskoka Men of Song at our June concert, elderly people and in his church. Presently funded by Children’s Foundation, teaches some lessons and parents.
His instructor Mary Ruth Roadhouse says he is hard working and diligent, has near perfect scores in his theory exams, working on his level 9 piano, level 8 theory and is a well-rounded musician.

Alexander Giese Port Sidney age 14 grade 9,

Alex studies classical violin with Suzuki school of music.
Alexander has been playing violin for 9 years and considers violin to be challenging and rewarding. Has had played at all Suzuki concerts, and retirement homes. He would use the bursary funds to buy a proper violin and help pay his tuition fees, currently all paid by his parents.
His instructor says he is creative, smart, learns quickly, diligent, animated and good natured.

Odette Giese Port Sydney age 12 grade 7,

She studies classical violin and guitar with Suzuki School of Music
Odette has been playing violin since she Was 3 years old.  Has played at Suzuki spring and Christmas concerts and Hospice events.  Says she is nervous about playing but her instructor says she is ready.  Her bursary will go towards her tuition currently paid by her parents.
Her instructor says he has taught her violin for 7 years, the most recognizable student, loves to “busk”, is a skilled performer with a large, polished and memorized repertoire.  Says she is a credit to the Suzuki orchestra.

EthanEthan Pinto Bracebridge age 16 grade 11,

Ethan studies piano with Mary Ruth Roadhouse
Ethan’s goal is to complete his grade 8 piano before graduating high school, has performed at Wings Chow’s and Mary Ruth Roadhouse’s concert, band performances with Monck Public and BMLSS jazz bands and last years Men of Song concert at the Rene Caisse Theatre.  He would use the bursary funds, to cover his tuition fees, now paid by his mother and grandmother.
His instructor says he was encouraged by our last years bursary, loves to play by ear, is currently working on level 8 piano and will probably take that exam in June 2021 and write his 2 theory exams also in 2021.  He is very bright and capable and feels confident that he will complete his exams with high marks.

Gabby WhiteGabrielle White Huntsville, 17 grade 11,

She takes many wind instrument training with Kim Barlow
Gabby is well known to us and has performed several times at our concerts.  If her application is successful, she will use it purchase a better-quality clarinet which will improve her performance; currently she uses a student entry level one.  She has been paying her tuitions herself by working regularly, often at 2 jobs. She has performed with the Muskoka Concert Band, Huronia Symphony Orchestra, Orillia Silver Band as well as numerous High School functions and many local events.
Her instructor says she has consistently demonstrated self discipline, determination and ability to focus, is very mature, responsible and highly recommends her.  We, as a choir, can be proud that for several years our bursary program has helped her reach her goals.  Gabby and Alex Cull are two of our more remarkable success stories.

2022 Season Winners

Sean Kelly Bursay Winner 2022

  Bridget Johnson of Bracebridge is 18 years old and is in Grade 12.  Bridget has performed at our concerts for a number of years.  Her instructor Philip Kashap reports that she is a pleasure to teach, is smart, serious, intuitive and diligent. She is currently working on the Bach Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor and a number of technical studies.  She also studies piano with instructor Cheryl Graham and has reached the point where she is capable of training others in music.  She appears regularly at many public functions as well as with her family in a number of settings. 
  Simon Johnson of Bracebridge is 16 years old and is in Grade 11.  His instructor Philip Kashap speaks highly of Simon’s talent, eagerness and dedication to his music studies in violin and piano.  He has reached Grade 8 Royal Conservatory level and is graduating from Book 7 Susuki.  He has performed several times at our concerts and regularly with his family at church and local retirement homes.  He is financially supported by his parents and his bursary funds will be put toward his tuition. >
Ethan Ethan Pinto lives in Bracebridge, is 18 years of age and a Grade 12 student.  His instructor in the past year has been Mary-Ruth Roadhouse. In her letter of support  she notes that Ethan has completed Level 8 Piano and Theory exams.  He has performed at our concerts in the past and has been very impressive.  With his bursary funds he will have his upright grand piano at home tuned, purchase music and a keyboard that he can take with him when he attends university in the fall so he can maintain his music there while majoring in physics.  He pays for most of his own tuition fees and he presently works at the restoration of the former Patterson Hotel in Bracebridge.  
Javan Good of Bracebridge is 14 years old and is in Grade 9.  Javan studies flute and piano with Melissa Meystadt at the  Muskoka Music Academy, having reached RCM Level 4 Flute and Level 6 Piano. His instructor says he has been her student for a number of years and has completed Royal Conservatory Exam Level 3 Flute.  He is a hard worker and diligent while also continuing his piano practicing.  He has appeared at our concert in the past and always appears confident and talented in his performance. 
Beniah Good Beniah Good   of Bracebridge is 15 years old and is in Grade 10.  Beniah’s instructor Mary-Ruth Radhouse says Ben is a gifted pianist, eager to learn and perfect his musical skills.  His objective is to work toward ARCT in Piano and take exams for RCM Level 10.  Beniah has performed at our concerts a number of times and is always a crowd pleaser, his talent matching his musical delivery.  His is a one income family that also has higher than average medical bills.  His bursary will go directly to pay for his tuitions. 
  Theodore Sternberg of Port Sydney is 10 years old and is in Grade 5.  His instructor, Frances Balodis notes that he is a very keen student, has progressed to Grade 11 Conservatory, pays good attention to detail and practices faithfully.  His family has numerous difficulties and is well deserving of some assistance to help Theo in his music career.  He has given one recital and submitted original compositions in nation-wide Programs. He would be happy to appear at our concerts in the future. 
  Isabel Snow of Bracebridge is 16 years old and is in Grade 11.  Suzanne Holmes Rutherford has been Isabel’s instructor for a number of years and says she is a pleasure to teach, is faithful in practice and has conquered the complex rhythms and harmonies of Led Zepplin and Billy Joel.  She is also composing her own melodies and lyrics.  Because of her troubled family life through deaths, breakups and major injuries, her instructor has been giving her lessons pro bono on a temporary basis. 

Ryan Jackson Sean Kelly Bursary RecipientOur First Sean Kelly Bursary Recipient

Dr. Ryan W. Jackson, DMA

(formerly from Muskoka Ontario)

Ryan Jackson . . . "I honored to be the first recipient of the Men of Song Bursary – the funds allowed me to continue my organ studies in Toronto during my final two years of high school. This gift came at a very important moment in my development, and I am grateful for the support to this day."

Here is a sample of Music Performed by the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church New York - Chamber Choir during "Sing Joyfully," their 2016 Fall Concert
Ryan Jackson, director -- our first Sean Kelly Bursary winner!
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