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  Our Teachers    

Ashley Giles

Violin, Suzuki, Piano, Viola, Fiddle, Banjo, Mandolin, Accordion, Guitar

Ashley Giles started classical violin lessons with Dini Westman of Stratford, ON. when she was eight years old. About a year later, in addition to the classical, Ashley started taking fiddle lessons from Gerry Smith of Exeter, ON. Since Ashley started music, she has had the opportunity of competing and performing fiddle and violin around Canada and the U.S. and winning many awards for her accomplishments. In 2008, Ashley started teaching fiddle to family and friends and soon after, the general public. In 2010, Ashley and fellow students of Dini Westman were accepted to play at Walt Disney World in Florida on the main stage. Ashley has also won the Doris Westman Trophy for the "Most Promising Fiddler" eight times since 2007 and won the trophy for "Most Promising Violinist in Stratford" in 2012. Ashley has been accepted and participated in OMFA provincial finals for violin in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2015, Ashley came out fifth in the open fiddling class at the Grand North American Old Time Fiddle Championships in Alberta.


Ashley plays in a classic country dance band called, The Country Versatiles and tours with a Celtic group called The American Rogues that are the official band of the National Navy Seal Museum. Ashley is apprenticing as a violin maker with Henry Reidstra while completing her Bachelor of Music degree at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. Ashley is studying viola under Christine Vlajk of the Penderecki String Quartet.

Nicole Lancaster

Music has been a part of Nicole’s life for as long as she can remember. At the age of five Nicole began piano lessons, and quickly began picking up other instruments after that. She went from violin, to chanter/bagpipes, to flute, to guitar but none of them stuck. Around the age of ten, Nicole decided to begin learning the harp so she picked it up and never looked back (quite literally-you cannot see much out the back of a car packed with a harp). Nicole studied with harpist Sarah Davidson for about nine years. After graduating high school she took a brief break to travel, and work but she could not stay away for long, and in 2014 Nicole began her degree in music performance at Wilfred Laurier University under the study of Lori Gemmell and Sharlene Wallace.


Nicole is a two time scholarship winner with both the American Harp Society Toronto chapter, and the York Region Talent Contest for Performing Arts, and Nicole also received a silver medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music for harp. Though classically trained, Nicole enjoys playing Latin American, Celtic, and pop music on both harp and piano. 

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