AIFEC Instructors

      Mary McKay: Voice/Piano

Mary McKay graduated from the Mohawk College Jazz program with     honors. While at Mohawk she studied with Carol McCartney.  She also studied under Bob Hamper, Mike Malone, Darcy Hepner, Pat Collins & Dave McMurdo.

Mary was featured on 91.1 'Jazzology' with Larry Green, a radio  program showcasing a select few jazz students from around Ontario.

Mary has many years experience working  with children and adults in one-on-one and group settings. She has worked musically and done choreography for a children’s performing art troop. She also directed the children's and adult choir at Yeschurch in Brantford, Ontario, as well as running the children's program for 5 years.  Mary ran the day camp program at Circle Square Ranch as well as running music camp there. She has put on countless workshops in schools, hospitals and other children’s camps.  Mary has also been an instructor for the "Arts After School Kids” program, teaching voice and piano.

Mary also leads a few bands and can be seen performing in the Southern Ontario area. 


  Shawn Moody: Brass

Since graduating from the Humber College music program in 1983, Shawn has been an active freelance trumpet player in and around the Toronto area. 

He has worked with the symphonies of Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo as well as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Canadian Opera Company. 

Shawn has also backed up numerous artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra Jr., Natalie Cole, The Temptations and the Four Tops.  He has played with the Spitfire Band, Peter Appleyard, The Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra and the Darcy Hepner Jazz Orchestra. 

Most recently, Shawn has been performing in "pit bands" for various Mirvish productions such as "Les Miserables", "Miss Saigon", "Beauty And The Beast" and thirteen seasons with the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

As well as his playing career, Shawn maintains a busy private teaching schedule, both at home and at Appleby College and Hillfield-Strathallan College, where he teaches all brass instruments.  Many of his students have gone on to pursue music at the post-secondary level and he now brings his expertise to the AIFEC program.


Emma Rush: Guitar


Canadian guitarist Emma Rush was involved with music from an early age and played many instruments before discovering a love for the guitar. After initial studies, she moved to Nova Scotia to complete an undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax. During her years in Halifax, she was active in playing solo and chamber music concerts and performing to great acclaim in numerous masterclasses. She quickly became known for her warm sound and expressive playing.

From 2002-2006 she relocated again to Dortmund, Germany and completed post-graduate studies with world-renowned guitarist Dale Kavanagh at the Hochschule fur Musik in Detmold (February 2006). She graduated at the top of her class. The years in Germany offered her many opportunities to refine her skills in masterclasses with David Russell, Roland Dyens, Carlo Marchione, and Tilman Hoppstock, among others. In addition to many solo concerts in Germany and beyond, she played regularly as a duo with Turkish guitarist Tuba Akkaya.

Emma is now based Hamilton where she maintains a busy teaching studio in additional to faculty appointments at Redeemer University and Mohawk College. She performs throughout North America and Europe and appears regularly at international guitar festivals (Iserlohn, Acadia, Sauble Beach). She is also the founder and artistic director of the successful Guitar Hamilton concert series and the Hamilton International Guitar Festival. In 2011 she was a top prize winner at the International Guitar Competition in Columbus, Georgia and the Great Lakes Guitar Competition in Rochester, NY, and the winner of the 2011 City of Hamilton Arts Award for Music. Recent engagements include the 20th International Guitar Festival in Iserlohn, Germany, the Guitar Fort Worth Masters Series, Texas, the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Sociaety, and a tour of the eastern provinces of Canada. Upcoming appearances include concerts in Canada, the United Staes, Germany, Spain, Mexico and Turkey.


Marianna Pijewska-Bamberg: Violin


Marianna developed her love of music early in her mother country of Poland, playing in the Tarnow Youth Orchestra and then the Tarnow Chamber Orchestra.  During this time, she performed in concerts and festivals in France and Belgium as well a participating in a CD recording with the same group.   She placed Cum Laude in the International Youth Orchestra competition in 1994 as well.  Marianna achieved  a Masters of Music in Violin Performance on scholarship from the Academy of Music in Katowice in 2004. After graduation, she travelled and played thoughout Europe and North America. She also worked for Carnival Cruiseline, leading the "La Polonia Trio" from 2004-2008.

Ms. Pijewska-Bamberg relocated to the Hamilton area in 2009, where she has maintained a busy teaching schedule.




Paige Birkett: Piano


Paige is a graduate of the Mohawk College Applied Music program and has extensive teaching experience. She began teaching full-time at a private studio for 5 years after leaving college. She is a member of the Burlington Suzuki Association and has completed her training there up to Book Four. She also currently teaches classical piano at Mohawk and has been there for the past six years.


Christian Cowsill: Guitar

Chris is a talented and dynamic guitarist/singer/songwriter and showman. He has been playing guitar and singing since age twelve. Beginning in 1997, he received formal musical training from some of Canada's finest musicians (such as Pat Collins, Juno-award winner Dave McMurdo and Mike Malone) at Mohawk College. He earned several awards and graduated with honours in 2000. After three years of performing and teaching in various settings, he began working for Carnival Cruise Lines in 2003, first as a show band guitarist then as a jazz trio leader and finally as an acoustic singer/soloist. He left the company in 2007 and returned to Hamilton to teach and play music on a full-time basis and is now a veteran of the local music scene.