Program Staff

Anita McAlister – Hannaford Youth Program Director

AnitaAnita McAlister received a BMUS in Performance from the University of Toronto and a MMus in Solo Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario.  An active freelancer in the Toronto area, Anita has an interesting and varied career performing with the Toronto Symphony, the National Ballet Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company.  Anita is a member of the Esprit Orchestra, the ARRAYMUSIC Ensemble and the Hannaford Street Silver Band, and has been a contracted member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Stratford Festival. She has toured as Principal Trumpet of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Orchestra, and performed with a number of theatre productions such as Phantom of the Opera.  As a student, Anita studied with the Canadian Brass in Banff and went on to be a member of the Great Lakes Brass Quintet, the Composers Brass, and for many years performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Brass Quintet.  As a soloist, Anita won the National Competitive Festival of Music at age 18, and has since performed as a soloist with a number of orchestras and in recital.  Anita has taught at Interprovincial Music Camp, the Scarborough Board of Education Music Camp, the Mount Allison Summer Music Program, and is on faculty at the National Music Camp of Canada.  Anita is an active adjudicator and clinician, has taught for the Royal Conservatory, was on trumpet faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University for 11 years, and is presently on Faculty at the University of Toronto, teaching trumpet, coaching chamber music and teaching music education classes.  Dedicated to the development of brass education, Anita is the Director of the Hannaford Youth Program and conducts the Junior, Community and Youth Bands.


Denise Simpson – Program Assistant

Denise is an instrumental music teacher and euphonium player from Toronto, Canada. After finishing her master’s degree in music performance at the University of Toronto, Denise relocated to the UK for a year to teach music at an all-boys secondary school just North of London. During her studies, Denise studied with euphonium player Robert Miller, and played in masterclasses for euphonium players Steven Mead and David Childs. In 2012, Denise studied and performed in Rome, Italy, and taught at various music camps including the Durham Intergraded Arts Camp and National Music Camp. Denise has performed with various groups in the Toronto area including the Hannaford Street Silver band and the Weston Silver band, and is a founding member of the Euba Tuba Quartet. Presently, Denise is teaching privately, freelancing, and working with Anita McAlister in the Hannaford Youth Program.




Beth Brownell – Administrative Assistant


Beth Brownell is a passionate and dedicated individual who has worked for several musical and educational institutions since graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University with a B.Mus. in 2015. Always striving for excellence, she has helped many individuals achieve their educational goals and hopes to continue with passion working for both the Hannaford Youth Program as an administrative assistant and Hannaford Brass Music Publishing as a transcriber and music editor.

Along with the work she will be doing for Hannaford, Beth was recently accepted into a specialized program to further her knowledge in education at The Royal Conservatory of Music in conjunction with Ryerson University. Focusing on cognitive, language, and social skill development using music in childhood, she uses voice, flute, piano, and her strong knowledge of music theory and history to provide young children with the tools necessary to succeed in life and music long-term.



Gillian Chreptyk – Fundraising

Gillian recently graduated with a Bachelor of Music in performance from the University of Toronto and is a currently freelance trumpeter, arts administrator and music educator. Throughout her career, Gillian has performed with many different musical groups, including the Toronto All Star Big Band, The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Hannaford Youth Band, as well as an Indian wedding band, brass quintets, and various pit bands. 

As a soloist, Gillian is often requested in churches around the GTA, playing at many services around Toronto during the Remembrance Day, Easter and Christmas seasons. In 2016, Gillian won the University of Toronto Wind Concerto Competition, and had the honour of performing with the UofT Wind Symphony as a soloist. In the 2017 Toronto Kiwanis music festival, she received the highest mark in the open trumpet category, and Gold in the open brass category.

As an educator, Gillian manages a studio of 30 piano and trumpet students with ages ranging from 6 to 60. She is always enthusiastic about teaching and sharing her love of music with such a diverse group of people.

In addition to performing and teaching, Gillian has vast experience as an administrator. She has worked in recreation customer service, real estate, music licensing, and within a musician booking office. Gillian is excited to expand on this experience as Fundraiser for Hannaford Youth.

Graham Thibert – Band Manager

Graham Thibert is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, having completed his Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance in the spring of 2015 studying under the direction of Anita McAlister.  Graham has since been building his reputation as a freelance trumpet player and teacher, based in Toronto. As a soloist, Graham has been featured with the Durham Youth Orchestra, as a finalist in the Hannaford Youth Band Rising Stars Solo Competition, and twice as a recitalist in the Christ Church Deer Park Lunchtime Chamber Music Series.  Graham has attended several summer music programs including The Centre for Advanced Musical Studies at Chosen Vale in New Hampshire, and most recently, the International Academy of Music and Dance at Domaine Forget. These opportunities have allowed him to work with renowned artists and educators, including Thomas Hooten, Gabriele Cassone, Jim Thompson, Manon Lafrance and Geoff Thompson. Graham also is currently in the early stages of forming a brass quintet!     

Along with his performing endeavours, Graham has a passion for teaching and education. Based out of Forest Hill Music Academy, Graham is building an expanding studio of young trumpet and piano students.  In partnership with his own private instruction, Graham has been on staff at the National Music Camp of Canada and has returned as a mentor and alumni to the Durham Youth Orchestra.  Graham is excited to share his energy and passion for brass playing and education as Band Manager of the Hannaford Youth Band.