Meet La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra

It takes a village…


photos © Timothy Hellum, unless otherwise noted

Michael Lyons

Music Director

  • Classical FM Radio, Nassau, music director
  • Orchestra London Canada, clarinet
  • Pacific Wind Quintet, clarinet
  • Northumberland Orchestra, principal clarinet
  • Toronto Festival Winds, principal clarinet
  • IMC Music Camp, Parry Sound, clarinet faculty
  • NMC Music Camp, Orillia, conducting faculty
  • La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra, Port Hope, founding music director
  • ​University of Victoria Wind Symphony, B.C., conductor
  • Laurentian U Jazz Ensemble, founding music director
  • CBC Radio, Vancouver, producer
  • Classical FM Radio, Toronto, host & music director
  • University of Victoria, faculty
  • Laurentian University, faculty
  • Concerto Soloist & Chamber Musician

Laurie Mitchell

Strings Director

photo courtesy Laurie Mitchell

Laurie Mitchell studied music at the University of Western Ontario and received her M.A. from the University of Toronto. She studied Suzuki pedagogy at Suzuki Institutes in the U.S. and Japan. She has been String Director for the La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra since its inception and has been Principal Second Violin with the Northumberland Orchestra for 14 years. As well, Laurie is a Special Education and Music teacher for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board; she has a large studio of violin students of all ages; she serves on the Suzuki Association of Ontario board and, she is founder and co-director or Durham Music Camp.

Jackie Nicholls


Greetings to all reading this, our Winter Newsletter. A change in leadership and many transitional activities did not afford us a Fall Newsletter and we are happy to be able to put this one together for our donors and supporters. You, along with our membership, are our most important clients so to speak. Without your continued, generous donations, we would not be able to continue such entertaining and learning with and for the musically talented youth of our communty. It is with your support that we can fulfill our mission…. Music For Life!


Marie Narini, double bass

“My father played the bass, so when I was given the opportunity in grade 8 to attend high school twice a week, I jumped on it. I was in almost every music group there was in school.

I didn’t play much while I went to Ryerson but got the chance to play in a community orchestra while I was in Timmins. After an 8 or 9 year ‘break’ from playing in a group, I joined two groups in 2000 and have participated in several ever since. I’m asked often to play for groups that need a string bass and that is when I heard of LJYO. I am thrilled to be part of this youth orchestra. I truly believe music enriches lives at any age and to help encourage young people to play beautiful music is a pleasure.”

Frank Gallimore, saxophone

Frank Gallimore is proud to support the LJYO as a coach.

As a camper, Frank first met Michael Lyons at the International Music Camp in the summer of 1981. That was Michael’s first year on faculty at the camp.

In 1982 Frank played with the Band of the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa – marching the Changing of the Guard onto Parliament Hill every day for the summer.

Settling in Port Hope at the age of 26, Frank joined the Concert Band of Cobourg where he is the Concertmaster and first chair clarinet.

Frank can be found playing clarinet and saxophone—all the single reeds—with musical performance and theatre groups from Brighton to Toronto.

George Lee, flute

“I’ve lived in Cobourg most of my life. I’ve had a woodworking business since 1984 and just retired from George’s Guitars & Music after 22 years of that. Now I’m back to woodworking.I’ve played guitar and flute for for a variety of bands over the years,lots of local musicals, starting in high school with Bill Ramsay as my music teacher, took ute at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and worked in a glue factory to pay for a flute. I’ve played with the Northumberland Orchestra off and on since 1980 and am with them now. I was on the founding board of, and as a coach with LJYO when it first started. It’s great to be back.”

Julian Warme, trombone

Julian is our colourful Trombone mentor and has been with us for a number of years.

Jaak Livoija-Lorius, violin

Jaak Liivoja-Lorius, an Estonian Cana- dian, has been a violin coach with LJYO since their 2009-10 season. Prior to that, Jaak had just retired from a varied and successful career as a professional violinist under the tutelage of Kathleen Parlow, David Zafer and Steven Staryk, a violin expert heading the Musical Instruments Department of Christies, London, England, a co-editor of The Strad magazine, and a writer of concert reviews, articles on musical instruments, and extensive entries for the New Groves Dictionary of Musical Instruments.

Back in Toronto, Canada in 1980, Jaak joined Tafelmusik at their inception for a unique Baroque learning experience and then began, with his wife, violin shops, first in Toronto and then in Ottawa where he also played in the Ottawa Symphony.

From his rst attendance at LJYO’s Sonic Bloom concert in May 2009 to his present coaching position, Jaak’s involvement with this outstanding youth orchestra has afforded him the opportunity to work with talented students, each season bringing new players, new initiatives and new rewards. When asked, ‘why do you keep coming back each year?’ Jaak exclaims, “It’s the kids. They’re amazing!”

Jaak lives and teaches violin in Newcastle, Ontario.

Anthony Mancktelow, oboe & english horn

This Spring we are recognizing our longest running LJYO coach and oboe player Tony Manktelow. Tony has been described by LJYO musicians as ‘funny’, ‘friendly’, ‘classic’, ‘talkative’, and ‘kind’. Perhaps one group of enthusiastic members said it best when they declared, “this group wouldn’t be the same without Tony!”.

Music director Michael Lyons readily agrees: “Tony has been there from the very rst rehearsal in September 1999. He has become somewhat of a mascot for the orchestra. The other coaches and kids love him.” Laurie Mitchell, Director of Strings, describes the depth of Tony’s commitment to LJYO: “Tony has been with LJYO since our rst year. What would we have done without an oboe! In addition to lling that gap in the or- chestra, Tony has coached other students and, together with his family, participated on the LJYO Board. He brings with him a good sense of humour, integrity, amazing dedication and a willingness to take direction from the conductor. We owe him heaps of gratitude!”



John Kraus, woodwinds

photo © Dukat Studios

As a music educator, John has dedicated more than 25 years to working with high school students from around the world, sharing his passion of Music.  Many of his students have chosen to continue their studies at some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world. John works with students, professionals, and amateur adult musicians who have entered the arena for the first time or who have returned to something that they began as youngsters, working as an instructor at the Lakefield Summer Music Camp, Lakefield, Ontario. As a member of the Ontario Music Educators Association, John has led workshops on ‘best practices’, creativity and composition, and technology in the Music classroom. In the fall of 2017 John was one of 5 national nominees for the Heinz Unger Award, as administrated by the Ontario Art Council, recognizing professional conductors.  John continues to work with the Northumberland Orchestra & Choir as Music Director and Conductor. John has worked as a coach within the woodwind section of the La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra, Port Hope, led by Music Director Michael Lyons.

He works regularly with ensembles in preparation for festivals as well as an adjudicator for local, regional and provincial festivals. John is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association.


Susan Min, Viola

Susan was a member of LJYO form 2004 to 2008, moving on to the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra in the role of principal viola, from 2007 to 2009. During her tenure with TSYO, Susan studied with Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s principal viola Teng Li, as well as performed with the TSO. She is a graduate of York University’s Administrative Studies program, Susan is now a licensed paralegal working for a boutique tax law firm in Toronto. It was through Michael Lyon’s urging in 2013 that Susan picked up her viola after four years, and she was honoured to return to LJYO, an organization that, after all these years, continues to hold a special place in her heart.

Jeff Mitchell, trumpet


Tiffani Dakers, percussion


Andrew Randall, cello

photo © Carrie Cockburn


Nathan Miller, percussion


Gregory Ward, percussion


La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra is a registered charity. Our Revenue Canada Charitable Registration Number is:

86555 9124 RR0001

Contact Us

10 + 6 =