Dedicated experts with a passion to help

As a refugee children's choir, we are dedicated to promoting talents within the refugee community. We are very fortunate that a team of committed Syrian musicians joined us,  and continue to be the backbone of the choir.  We are also grateful that Regent Park School of Music has been Nai's music education partner since October 2016. RPSM's high quality teaching faculty work with the children and mentor Nai's Syrian musicians on a weekly basis

Esmaeel Abofakher & Rahaf Alakbani

 Esmaeel and Rahaf are a musician couple from Syria. Born to a musician family, Esmaeel is a versatile instrumentalist, playing  bouzouki  and  oud  among other things. Rahaf is a singer. They fled to Turkey a few years ago and worked in refugee camps as youth program facilitators. Esmaeel was also a trained paramedic. They arrived in Canada in February 2016, and immediately started to volunteer for various non-profit organizations. They were the main organizers of the famous  Newcomer Kitchen , and became Nai's key musicians and facilitators in May 2016.   Esmaeel and Rahaf are also songwriters. They wrote the now famous Nai signature song "Singing for Peace" when they were still in Turkey, inspired by the news that they were accepted to Canada for a new beginning. The couple considers building bridges between Canadian and Syrian cultures as their mission.

Esmaeel and Rahaf are a musician couple from Syria. Born to a musician family, Esmaeel is a versatile instrumentalist, playing bouzouki and oud among other things. Rahaf is a singer. They fled to Turkey a few years ago and worked in refugee camps as youth program facilitators. Esmaeel was also a trained paramedic. They arrived in Canada in February 2016, and immediately started to volunteer for various non-profit organizations. They were the main organizers of the famous Newcomer Kitchen, and became Nai's key musicians and facilitators in May 2016. 

Esmaeel and Rahaf are also songwriters. They wrote the now famous Nai signature song "Singing for Peace" when they were still in Turkey, inspired by the news that they were accepted to Canada for a new beginning. The couple considers building bridges between Canadian and Syrian cultures as their mission.

Dallas Bergen

 Dallas is an active singer, choral conductor and clinician from Toronto. He is a past member of The Canadian Chamber Choir and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale and appeared with the Elora Festival Singers with their 2008 festival choir. He is the founding Artistic Director of Vox Choirs Toronto, a community choirs organization for young adults founded on the principles of relationship building, social responsibility, and musical excellence. He is music director at First Unitarian Congregation. Dallas appeared in the 2015 Luminato production of R Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis, leading the 120-voice SATB choir working under Music Director, David Fallis. Dallas’ service to the choral arts extends to his work with Regent Park School and Nai Syrian Children’s Choir. He recently completed nine years of service on the music committee of the Toronto Arts Council as juror and co-chair.   Dallas strives to use his passion for choral music to foster empathy and human connection through the vulnerability of shared artistic expression. When Dallas isn't leading choirs he enjoys spending time with his family outdoors--hiking, fishing, camping--and travelling to the far regions of the earth. 

Dallas is an active singer, choral conductor and clinician from Toronto. He is a past member of The Canadian Chamber Choir and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale and appeared with the Elora Festival Singers with their 2008 festival choir. He is the founding Artistic Director of Vox Choirs Toronto, a community choirs organization for young adults founded on the principles of relationship building, social responsibility, and musical excellence. He is music director at First Unitarian Congregation. Dallas appeared in the 2015 Luminato production of R Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis, leading the 120-voice SATB choir working under Music Director, David Fallis. Dallas’ service to the choral arts extends to his work with Regent Park School and Nai Syrian Children’s Choir. He recently completed nine years of service on the music committee of the Toronto Arts Council as juror and co-chair. 

Dallas strives to use his passion for choral music to foster empathy and human connection through the vulnerability of shared artistic expression. When Dallas isn't leading choirs he enjoys spending time with his family outdoors--hiking, fishing, camping--and travelling to the far regions of the earth. 

Lucas Marchand 

 Originally from Victoria, BC, Lucas Marchand has been singing on the stage since he was three years old. He studied voice at the University of Victoria earning a BMus with distinction. During this time he sang with the UVic Chamber singers, touring and performing across four continents.  In 2005 Lucas moved to Toronto where he won a spot singing tenor with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and remained performing with them for six seasons. During his tenure, The Chorale had the distinction of being chosen to represent Canada by performing at Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington DC.  Having settled in Toronto, Lucas began building his own private voice teaching practice and frequently travelled to Los Angeles to study vocal pedagogy with renowned instructor Seth Riggs (Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross etc.). Lucas completed a Master's degree in Music Education at the University of Toronto in 2011 before joining Canada's premier vocal group, Cadence in January 2012. In addition to his extensive performing and educational work with Cadence, he is the music director of multiple ensembles at the Regent Park School of Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable programming to low-income families in the Toronto area.   In recent years, Lucas has adjudicated and led vocal workshops with Toronto’s Share The Music, SING - the Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, Cadence’s Camp A Cappella, Choir Fest Middle East, Barrie Music Festival, the Ontario Vocal Jazz Festival and The Youth Opera of El Paso.

Originally from Victoria, BC, Lucas Marchand has been singing on the stage since he was three years old. He studied voice at the University of Victoria earning a BMus with distinction. During this time he sang with the UVic Chamber singers, touring and performing across four continents.

In 2005 Lucas moved to Toronto where he won a spot singing tenor with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and remained performing with them for six seasons. During his tenure, The Chorale had the distinction of being chosen to represent Canada by performing at Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington DC.

Having settled in Toronto, Lucas began building his own private voice teaching practice and frequently travelled to Los Angeles to study vocal pedagogy with renowned instructor Seth Riggs (Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross etc.). Lucas completed a Master's degree in Music Education at the University of Toronto in 2011 before joining Canada's premier vocal group, Cadence in January 2012. In addition to his extensive performing and educational work with Cadence, he is the music director of multiple ensembles at the Regent Park School of Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable programming to low-income families in the Toronto area. 

In recent years, Lucas has adjudicated and led vocal workshops with Toronto’s Share The Music, SING - the Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, Cadence’s Camp A Cappella, Choir Fest Middle East, Barrie Music Festival, the Ontario Vocal Jazz Festival and The Youth Opera of El Paso.

 
 
 

Adham Al Kuntar 

 Adham was born and raised in Syria. He is a professional percussionist, with more than 10 years experience. He plays  Dumbek, Riqq, Qat im, Deff and  Mezhar , and is very interested in mixing Arabic percussion with western music.  Adham studied music at Youth Institute of Music in Damascus. He played with several bands in Syria and taught children percussion art.  Before he fled the war, he made a comfortable living as a dental technician. He arrived in Canada in February 2016 with his wife and their son.  Adham joined Nai in August 2016 and is currently a member of the  Canadian Arabic Orchestra . With Esmaeel and Rahaf, Adham and several other Syrian musicians established a band called SYCA in the Greater Toronto Area.

Adham was born and raised in Syria. He is a professional percussionist, with more than 10 years experience. He plays Dumbek, Riqq, Qatim, Deff and Mezhar, and is very interested in mixing Arabic percussion with western music.

Adham studied music at Youth Institute of Music in Damascus. He played with several bands in Syria and taught children percussion art.

Before he fled the war, he made a comfortable living as a dental technician. He arrived in Canada in February 2016 with his wife and their son.

Adham joined Nai in August 2016 and is currently a member of the Canadian Arabic Orchestra. With Esmaeel and Rahaf, Adham and several other Syrian musicians established a band called SYCA in the Greater Toronto Area.

Salam Khorshid 

 Salam was trained as a classical violinist in Syria. She attended the  Higher Institute of Music in Damascus to study violin, and graduated with a Bachelor Degree. As her musicianship grew, she discovered her other passion - teaching young people.  As a professional violinist, she took part in many concerts, playing solo, in ensembles or as an orchestra member. Salam held numerous violin concerts for her students for them to gain experience and exposure. Some of them were admitted to  higher education institutes to study music.  In 2009, Salam started organizing a choir for Iraqi children who had fled the war to seek refuge in Syria. Read more about Salam's  - a musician's journey from Damascus to Toronto .  Shortly after arriving  in Canada, Salam  joined Nai in March 2017, and became actively involved in local music communities. Salam is currently a member of  Orchestra Toronto . She recently received  Toronto Arts Council 's "Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship" grant to work with  Linda Eyman  on choral conducting.

Salam was trained as a classical violinist in Syria. She attended the  Higher Institute of Music in Damascus to study violin, and graduated with a Bachelor Degree. As her musicianship grew, she discovered her other passion - teaching young people.  As a professional violinist, she took part in many concerts, playing solo, in ensembles or as an orchestra member. Salam held numerous violin concerts for her students for them to gain experience and exposure. Some of them were admitted to  higher education institutes to study music.

In 2009, Salam started organizing a choir for Iraqi children who had fled the war to seek refuge in Syria. Read more about Salam's - a musician's journey from Damascus to Toronto.

Shortly after arriving  in Canada, Salam  joined Nai in March 2017, and became actively involved in local music communities. Salam is currently a member of Orchestra Toronto. She recently received Toronto Arts Council's "Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship" grant to work with Linda Eyman on choral conducting.

Adam Sakiyama 

 Adam holds a Bachelor of Music from Toronto's Humber College, and is an alumni of the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Writers’ Workshop of New York City. He currently produces for Super Simple Songs, one of the most popular children's music channels on YouTube. Prior to that Adam worked primarily as an educator and music director with young musical theatre performers. He believes strongly in the holistic benefits music education can provide to all.

Adam holds a Bachelor of Music from Toronto's Humber College, and is an alumni of the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Writers’ Workshop of New York City. He currently produces for Super Simple Songs, one of the most popular children's music channels on YouTube. Prior to that Adam worked primarily as an educator and music director with young musical theatre performers. He believes strongly in the holistic benefits music education can provide to all.

Musicians who worked with Nai in the past

Monique De Margerie

Tahirih Vejdani 

Brian Elkhoury

Shireen Abu-Khader

Roy Menagh

Hussein Janmohamed 

Victoria Fuller

Hoora Sayed-Ahmadian

Kieren MacMillan

Iman Talmas