Abra Whitney, Artistic Director – Aurora Women’s Choir
Abra is a very active member of the local arts scene in St. John’s and holds a BMus in Vocal Performance and a MMus in Choral Conducting, both from the University of Alberta.
She has been a singer, actor, clinician, conductor, and educator for the past eight years in St. John’s. Recent credits include Chorus Master/Ensemble for Shanawdithit and The Phantom of the Opera (Opera on the Avalon), Mary in Only Young (RCA), Musical Director for Jack and the Cat (School Zone Productions), Florinda in Into the Woods (Opera on the Avalon), Alto Soloist in Handel’s Messiah (Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and again with Bay of Islands Musical Arts Chorus), and Alto Soloist in Stabat Mater/Gloria (Lady Cove Women’s Choir and The Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra). She has also enjoyed adjudicating the Clarenville Kiwanis Music Festival and the Southern Manitoba Music Teachers’ Association’s online festival.
As a producer/performer, Abra has created her own shows celebrating the music of Edith Piaf, Nina Simone, and Gladys Knight & the Pips. Abra has been a member of Shallaway, QVE, and ProCoro, and is a current member of Projekt Chamber Voices and Lady Cove Women’s Choir. She is currently teaching voice and piano and is a Kindermusik teacher at Intervals Music Studio.
Andrew and Beth Cranston, Co-Founders, Past Artistic Directors
The original creative team of the Coastal Sounds Choir Association consisted of Andrew and Beth Cranston, who between them had more than three decades of leadership experience in the fields of choir and singing, and who worked as music educators in the Conception Bay South and St. John’s areas from 2007 to 2021 when they moved back to their home province of Nova Scotia.
Andrew Cranston received a B.Mus. from Mount Allison University in 2003 and has been working with choral and instrumental ensembles ever since. He received an M.Mus. in choral conducting from Memorial University in 2007 under the mentorship of Dr. Doug Dunsmore, Dr. Donald Buell, Marc David and Kellie Walsh. Andrew has conducted several ensembles, including the Bedford Community Orchestra, Nova Voce Provincial Men’s Choir, Memorial University’s Festival and Chamber Choirs, the Anchormen Barbershop Chorus, and the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble. He is currently the Co-Artistic Director of the Coastal Sounds Choir Association and the Choral Director of Topsail United Church’s adult Mixed and Men’s Choirs.
Although Andrew’s background in music began with saxophone, since graduating he pursued opportunities for singing and working with choirs, including the Halifax Camerata Singers, Nova Voce, the Nova Scotia Youth Choir, the Philharmonic Choir of the NSO, Cantus Vocum Chamber Choir and the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble. Andrew had the privilege of teaching at the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s Summer Choir Camps in Berwick, NS, and in the spring of 2014 had the distinct pleasure of both singing with and conducting the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Andrew is a member of the Board of Directors for the newly founded Choral NL, the provincial choral federation for Newfoundland & Labrador. When not immersed in music, Andrew is a computer programmer who develops custom internet solutions for a wide range of companies worldwide.
Beth Cranston graduated from Mount Allison University with a B.A. in Music, Drama and French, followed by a Diploma in Performance and Communications Media from Memorial University. She has 20 years accompaniment experience and has sung in choirs all her life, most recently with the Aurora Women’s Choir, the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble, Cantus Vocum Chamber Choir, the Philharmonic Choir of the NSO and Memorial University’s Festival and Chamber Choirs. Beth has also been involved with the former self-conducted a cappella groups Novus Chamber Choir in Nova Scotia and Pentatonics at Mount Allison, and sang with the Halifax Camerata Singers. Beth is currently the Accompanist, Co-Artistic Director and General Manager for the Coastal Sounds Choir Association and organist for Topsail United Church.
Beth has had the pleasure of teaching both music and drama in youth camp settings like the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s Summer Choir Camps in Berwick, NS and Wicosuta Children’s Camp in New Hampshire. She has a wealth of experience working in collaborative musical settings such as Mount Allison University’s bilingual touring theatre troupe, Tintamarre.
Beth is a private piano instructor in the St. John’s and CBS areas and a licensed Kindermusik Educator currently teaching out of The Music Corner in Manuels, CBS.