Meet the Team

Board of Directors

Daniel Vnukowski, Founder and Artistic Director

Daniel Vnukowski (pronounced Vnoo-KOFF-skee) is founder and artistic director of the Collingwood Summer Music Festival. He maintains an international concert career as a pianist and has been praised for his wide range of repertoire – from the baroque to contemporary. Growing up in Niagara Falls and Windsor, Ontario, he left Canada for Europe at the age of 15 to pursue further studies abroad. Since then, he has travelled throughout the world, performing for small, intimate gatherings to large-scale outdoor events with audiences over 10,000 people. Yet, Daniel’s greatest passion is to bring high-quality live music performances to those who cannot always access it. In 2017, he founded a pan-Canadian outreach project known as “Piano Six – New Generation”, which involves six pianists performing in rural, remote communities throughout Canada. The program reaches over 10,000 young Canadians each year. Visit DanPerforms.com for more information.

John Kirby, Chair of the Board

A fervent supporter of the festival who volunteered during its inaugural year, John is a lifelong resident of Collingwood and a real estate professional. As a former town councilor, he helped establish the town’s first department of recreation and culture. John is also a member of the Collingwood Arts, Culture and Entertainment Group (CACE), a community group working towards the establishment of a Collingwood performing arts and culture centre.

Niru Somayajula, Board Member

Niru has been the President & CEO of Sensor Technology Ltd. since 2011. She is currently working to quadruple the size of Sensor Tech by 2025 and exploring the possibility of a manufacturing expansion into Atlantic Canada. Niru holds a BA in GeoPhysics and an MA in Mechanical Engineering. She is a former board member of the Huronia Symphony and current board member of Elephant Thoughts in Collingwood. She’s also passionate about cooking and photography and is currently training to become a triathlete.

Liesbeth Halbertsma, Board Member

Liesbeth grew up in France and the Netherlands, where she acquired a master’s degree in Law with a minor in Art History. This was the start of an adventurous life, filled with many travels and interesting work experiences: as director of a child right’s organization, editor for classical music magazines, designer, and business owner. Together with her family, she moved to Sint Maarten where she lived for 14 years. In the winter of 2015, the family moved to Collingwood. Volunteer work has always been an integral part of her life: she was director of Foundation Classical Delight in Sint Maarten, bringing classical concerts and school concerts to the island and hosting many famous artists such as Joshua Bell and Philip Quint. When not working, Liesbeth can be found running or hiking at South Georgian Bay’s beautiful trails.

Mary Glogowski, Board Member

Mary has a BA (Hon) in Anthropology and an MSc in Planning. She is the former Chair of a one million dollar charity raffle and gala, as well as former President and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Toronto. Mary has enjoyed a lifelong appreciation of classical music, regularly attending events of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Tafelmusik and Opera Atelier.

Advisory Committee

Jeff Shearer

Jeff is publisher of the award-winning magazine, On The Bay, and General Manager of the new Collingwood-based Classical 102.9 radio station. Before moving to the Collingwood area to launch On The Bay in 2004, Jeff was Vice President, Marketing of The Toronto Star, Publisher of Saturday Night Magazine, and held senior management roles with Applied Arts Magazine, Harrowsmith, Equinox Western Living and Vancouver magazine. Locally in the Southern Georgian Bay region, Jeff served as Chair of the Collingwood BIA, as a Trustee of the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, was a director of the Georgian Bay Association and director of Big Brothers/Sisters. More recently, Jeff was a founding director of The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay. Jeff lives just south of Collingwood in Nottawa and is married to writer Reet McGovern Shearer. He plays competitive tennis and is an avid skier. Jeff has been a Big Brother for over 40 gratifying years.

Mandy Macrae

Mandy is a former chair of the Woman’s Music Club of Toronto, former director of the State Hermitage Foundation of Canada and a member of the board of the Honens International Piano Competition, where she also chaired the Laureate Circle (Toronto Chapter).

Marg Bridgman

Marg is a graduate of the Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing and McGill University. She is a former educator and facilitator of services for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Shell Oil Company. Marg volunteered at the Collingwood Summer Music Festival’s inaugural year and remains an active, dedicated supporter. She enjoys playing golf and bridge and loves listening to classical music.

Jonathan Contini

Jonathan is a recent graduate of the Collingwood Collegiate High School Music Program, where he played percussion in the school’s concert band. In 2015, he formed a band called “50 Years Late”, which has performed throughout the Southern Georgian Bay area: at the Stayner Arts Fundraiser, “Picking in the Park”; the Great Northern Exhibition in Collingwood; Craigleith Ski Club in Town of Blue Mountains; the Fundraiser Fashion Show at Collingwood Collegiate Institute; “Relay for Life” in Jean Vanier High School, Collingwood; the Georgian Triangle Music Festival at The Beacon, Wasaga Beach; the “Old Farts” biker festival in Stayner; and Theatre Collingwood’s fundraiser “Putting for the Arts” at Blue Mountain Village. Since September 2018, he is enrolled as a student of the Fine Arts Music Program at York University.

Brenda Lewis, Publicity and Communications

Since 1997, Brenda – through her company Lewis Media Relations – has been providing professional media relations, promotional writing and live entertainment planning/artistic direction services to clients from local and regional (Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo Region, Southern Ontario, Toronto) to locations across Canada, the USA, and the UK/Ireland. Longterm employers and clients include: The Guelph Chamber Choir – she is in her 10th year/season working with them as their Concert Promotions Coordinator, the Midland Cultural Centre on an as-needed basis for the past four years, and, The Arkell Schoolhouse Gallery Classical Concert Series (just outside Guelph) – for a decade she was the publicist for both of their concert series, classical, and, contemporary/folk music – and was the artistic director for the latter. For the past five years, Brenda has been the touring publicist (for USA, Canada, UK and Ireland) for internationally-acclaimed world music guitarist Pierre Bensusan, hailing from France. For the past two years, she has been multiple Grammy nominee and International Bluesgrass Award-winner Claire Lynch’s publicist, for Canadian tours. Brenda has also handled media relations for Hamilton pianist/composer Robert Bruce for the past three years. Learn more about Lewis Media Relations.

Anne Fletcher, Treasurer


Anne graduated from Business Studies at Georgian College in 2005 and has primarily worked in the administration field: accounting, payroll and benefits. She was raised in Stayner on a farm and today calls Collingwood her home. When she is not helping others in need, she enjoys spending time with her family.

Conrad Willemse, Legal Counsel

For 42 years, Conrad has been an independent business lawyer. He was a DUCA Director for nine years in the 1990s and 2000s, rejoining the Board in April 2017. Conrad was DUCA’s legal counsel on the development and construction of its Head Office and has been legal counsel for the past eight years to the Niagara Region Wind Farm, a 230 megawatt wind farm with 77 turbines. (A $1.5 billion project which became operational in November, 2016.)

 

Collingwood Summer Music Festival
4-115 First St., Suite 437
Collingwood, ON
L9Y 4W3
office@collingwoodfestival.com

Office: (705) 300-2405

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