Meet the members of Oasis Vocal Jazz
Benjamin D'Cunha (Musical Director)
Benjamin D'Cunha is an award winning vocalist, pianist, conductor, arranger, teacher, and band leader who has worked tirelessly to organize quality live music and foster musicianship across Toronto for the past two decades. Greatly influenced by his years working with many of Canada's top jazz artists, he draws on a diverse pool of both formal training and personal musical experience.
He studied at St. Micheal’s Choir School, the Humber Jazz program, and the The Royal Conservatory of Music and has gained renown for his work in vocal pedagogy, countless performances, and his continued dedication to the musical community. Currently he is the bandleader of the Fair-trade Jazz ensemble, conductor of the Hillcrest Village Choir, and the director of the Oasis Jazz Choir.
Doug Scaife (Pianist/Chairperson)
Doug joined Oasis in 1993. He has an eclectic musical background beginning with high school concert and jazz bands, RCM training, followed by church choirs, community jazz big band, and the occasional solo instrumental gig. During the day Doug works as a Managing Consultant with an international software company. About his involvement with Oasis, Doug says: "Being a member of Oasis has provided me a wonderful opportunity to deepen my musical knowledge and share the joy of music with our members and audiences".
Catherine Dale (soprano)
Catherine is a long time member of Oasis. Her varied past ensemble experiences include classical, jazz, and rock. Catherine has spent years studying and working in the field of music education, and she credits family with her first musical inspiration.
Maribeth Graham (Soprano)
Maribeth Graham has been singing with Oasis since 1987. After being immersed in the world of choirs, musical comedy, percussion and piano studies as a child, she has found OVJ to be a wonderful connection her musical roots as she pursued a career in education. She currently teaches K-5 music and is looking forward to conducting her beloved Oasian friends this year as they start their 31st season. And it does not bother her at all that her 19 year old vocal major daughter can sing higher and decipher tricky rhythms better than her. Most of the time.
Susan Reid (Soprano)
Susan joined Oasis in 1986 and is getting frighteningly close to being one of the most long standing members. (Constance still wins first prize). She completed Grade IX Piano (RCM), and received classical voice training in university. Susan was involved in high school musical theatre and sang with a close harmony a cappella women's group in university. She has sung in choirs since kindergarten, including a stint with the choir of St. Andrew's & St. Paul's Church in Montreal while in university. Susan works as a lawyer by day and "air traffic controller" by night, living with her partner, two teenagers and a slightly crazy labradoodle. Oasis has become her musical family.
Michelle Spring (Alto)
Michelle has a musical theatre background and has been singing and performing in plays, musical variety shows and choirs since her early teens. She is thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to sing with this wonderful group of people that make up Oasis Vocal Jazz. Michelle is blessed with two incredible daughters and works in the holistic health & wellness field, teaching yoga and coaching plant-based nutrition. Besides singing, her hobbies include baking, nature hikes, and playing guitar.
Sarah Saskin (Alto)
Sarah Saskin is a music educator in the Toronto District Board, whose school was awarded a Band Aid grant from the Juno organization. Her love for music grew out of participating in elementary and secondary school musicals; taking private voice and piano lessons; and singing with RazzmaJazz Choir. Sarah has a degree in Fine Arts Honours from York University, specializing in Classical Voice with Catherine Robbin, and a Bachelor of Education in Vocal Music from the University of Western Ontario. Sarah has lived, performed and toured with bands in China, Bolivia, Germany, France and USA. Her most noteworthy experiences include: writing and recording five albums of original music, obtaining a FIMU touring grant from the Government of France and performing at Massey Hall. Outside of work, Sarah and her husband enjoy raising their two daughters, spending time with family and friends and exploring nature.
Karen Guerrette (Tenor)
A member of Oasis since 2001, Karen has been a professional performer for over twenty years as a singer and dancer. In addition to musical reviews, trade shows and special corporate productions for the likes of Imperial Oil, the CFL and Petro-Canada, Karen entertained audiences for 10 years at Deerhurst Resort. Karen has since raised a family and takes great joy in being part of the wonderful Oasis Vocal Jazz family, creating together the pure music nearest to her heart.
Allen Edgar (Tenor)
Born into an a capella, four part harmony singing church. Along with a lot of choral singing, he was a pirate in the University of Pennsylvania’s production of the Pirates of Penzance. In law school, he formed a quartet called The Negli-Gents (aka Bora and the Supremes) which had 10-year semi-professional existence. In addition to appearing at many major legal functions, the quartet was featured on national TV, radio and print media. After a couple decade hiatus from singing, Allen restarted his singing career with the Hillcrest Village Choir while studying voice with Ben D’Cunha, Shannon Gunn and Micah Barnes. When asked by Madeleine how it felt after his first practice as a member of Oasis, Allen said “It sort of felt like finally coming home.”
Alan Gotlib (Bass)
Alan started singing "in public" when he was in a high school production of Iolanthe. Since then he has performed in many musicals including The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof and Anything Goes. He joined Oasis in 1987 and took a five-year hiatus to sing with Forte, the Toronto Men's Chorus, before returning to Oasis in 2003. After a 30-year career in teaching, which included 24 years at Claude Watson School for the Arts, he is enjoying retirement, which has given him the time to study musical theory as well as beginning piano lessons with an ex-student as his teacher. He also enjoys quilting, sewing shirts and ties, writing and volunteering with the Danforth Jewish Circle.
Mel Crystal (bass)
Mel got his start performing and singing in his 1969 high school production of “Oklahoma”, in the role of villain, Judd Fry (his mother could be heard whispering in the audience, “he’s really a very nice boy”). In law school, he sang with Allen as a member of the Negli-Gents (aka Bora and the Supremes). Mel works as a volunteer with the choir at Surrey Place Centre, an organization with a mandate to provide life skills and services to people with developmental disabilities. Professionally, he works as a Vice-Chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.
Mel is thrilled to be a member of Oasis!
Lisa Hartt (Spillane) (Tenor)
Lisa Hartt Spillane has been a singer songwriter and sound maker for over 56 years. Raised in Montreal, Lisa is a Juno award nominee for “Starwatcher”, The Lisa Hartt Band’s first album. She has worked, recorded & toured with some of Canada’s and the world’s legendary singers, writers, musicians and producers such as Anne Murray, Ken Tobias, Gino Vanelli, April Wine, Rayburn Blake of Mashmakhan & The Lisa Hartt Band, Phil Ramone, David Foster, Maurice White & Natalie Cole to name a few, bringing her own brand of enthusiasm, joy, and inspiration to the Sound Circle.
Constance Rennett (Tenor)
Constance is an original member of Oasis, which started up in 1985! Over the last 30 years and prior Constance has been involved with music and community theatre. She has acted, sung and emceed! Loving every little bit of it. Other hobbies include, sculpting, photography and painting. By day she is an entrepreneur in sales of physical therapy products across Canada. (knowyourbodybest.com). Constance is on a one year sabbatical for the 2018 season