Executive Members & Guest Conductor

Guest Conductor for 2023-2024

Sarah MacDonald 

Sarah MacDonald is a Glace Bay based educator, conductor, flutist, and singer. She recently graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Toronto where she completed graduate level Advanced Wind Conducting courses with Dr. Gillian MacKay. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Music from Mount Allison University, a Bachelor of Education in Music from Acadia University, and a Diploma in Education (Counseling) from Cape Breton University. Sarah believes in lifelong learning and has participated in several wind and choral conducting symposiums across Canada and the United States.

As the music teacher at Glace Bay High School, Sarah directs the GBHS Concert Band and Jazz Band and teaches guitar and vocal classes, advanced music, and learning center music. Additionally, pre-pandemic, Sarah was an instructor in the Nova Scotia Community College’s Music For Life: Ron MacKay Adult Community Concert Band class.

As a conductor, Sarah assists with Nova Scotia Youth Wind Ensemble rehearsals and was the 2021-2022 NSYWE resident conductor. Sarah is a frequent guest conductor with the Cape Breton Orchestra, having the privilege of conducting the CBO in performance alongside renowned Canadian artists Heather Rankin and Beòlach in the 2019 Celtic Colours International Festival and co-conducting the ensemble alongside Noelle Wadden in previous seasons. Additionally, Sarah has guest conducted the Second Wind Community Concert Band and has been a clinician/conductor in the Second Wind Community Band Festival.

Sarah is a flutist with the Second Wind Community Concert Band under the direction of Laura Mercer and has been a substitute flutist with the Cape Breton Orchestra. Additionally, she was a flutist and vocalist with the women’s choir, Coro Cantabile, under the direction of the late James (Jimmy) MacNeil and was honoured to be a member of the house orchestra assembled for the 125th Anniversary Gala Show for Église St. Pierre under the direction of Scott MacMillan.

Sarah is a member of the Canadian Band Association IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Enquiry, and Accessibility) team, a committee member with the Nova Scotia Youth Wind Ensemble, and a member at large with the Nova Scotia Band Association.

Sarah is fiercely committed to helping students internalize resilience, to think critically, and to build confidence in their ability to effect positive change in the world through music. She is honoured to be this year’s Nova Scotia Junior Wind Ensemble guest conductor.


Executive Director- Katelyn Gillis- katelyn@nsjwe.ca

LibrarianKatelyn graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Music (2009) and from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Music Education (2011). While at Acadia Katelyn studied violin under the direction of Christopher Wilkinson and Christoph Booth and was one of the founders of the Horton High School String Ensemble. Recently accepted into the Halifax Regional School Board, Katelyn also teaches privately, is a member of the Sackville Community Band,  a conductor of the Sackville 9am Band, as well as has performed in a variety of orchestra’s, concert and jazz bands. In her spare time she enjoys the theatre, has worked on THE RENT PROJECT, and is cast to work with the Cole Harbour High School production of West Side Story in 2013. Katelyn currently teaches violin and orchestra with the Dartmouth All-City Music Centre and privately at Long and McQuade. Katelyn is thrilled to be working with such a wonderful group of teachers, students, and volunteers at  the NSJWE.

Personnel Coordinator- Paul Hutten- Personnel.coordinator@nsjwe.ca

Paul (BAM, MBus, BMusEd)  currently teaches grades 6-12 music and grade 10 English at Central Kings Rural High School, but the focus of his career has been developing creative and collaborative ways to foster music literacy in middle school band programs. Paul has worked with the Nova Scotia Department of Education on curriculum renewal teams, and has also been a pilot and implementation teacher. He is the founding director of the Acadia Youth Band, and long time teacher and conductor with Acadia University Summer Music Institute. Paul has also been a church organist and choir director for over twenty-five years, and has taught piano privately for over thirty years. He has raised four children with his wife, Rose, and the entire family can sing in tune.

Treasurer- Colin Langille- Treasurer@nsjwe.ca

Colin Langille (BMus McGill, BEd Acadia, MMus McGill) began his career as a church organist and choir director before making the transition to public school teaching in 2008. Colin has been teaching instrumental music at the middle school level for the past 11 years and is currently the band and music teacher at Brookside Junior High outside of Halifax. In addition to teaching, Colin is a published composer of music for church and school concert band. Colin lives in Lower Sackville with his wife Jennifer, children Madison and Joshua, and (his true love) Ollie the poodle.

Librarian- Holly Hartlen- librarian@nsjwe.ca

Holly Hartlen (BMusEd Dalhousie 1995, MEd Acadia 2017) is a native of Truro, N.S. and a proud product of the legendary Ron MacKay/Truro & District Schools Band Program. She studied trumpet performance with Geoff Thompson, before settling into music education. She has played with a number of reserve and regular forces military bands, including the Band of the Ceremonial Guard, the Canada Remembers Band- formed in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day (in Canada, England and France), and the Land Forces Atlantic Area Militia Band. She currently plays trumpet with the Hubtown Big Band, The Nova Brass Quintet and The Barbecue Dixieland Band and performs as a classical soloist when the occasion arises. Holly has been teaching instrumental and classroom music for 24 years. She now teaches just over 400 students at Central Colchester Junior High, in Onslow, NS. She is a firm believer in the fundamental importance of arts education, especially in music, for all humans aged 0 to 125. Holly lives in Truro with her husband Steve, their three children Noah, Claire and Owen, Buster the Border Collie and Phineas the cat.

Social Media Coordinator- Danielle Chute- media@nsjwe.ca

Danielle is a native Newfoundlander, grew up all over Ontario and came to Nova Scotia to study music at Acadia University. She graduated from Acadia University with both a Bachelor’s of Music and a Bachelor’s of Education. Danielle performed with various ensembles and quartets while at Acadia. After graduation Danielle worked for the HRCE as a substitute teacher for several years, as well as running woodwind clinics for various schools. Danielle was a private instructor for Long and McQuade for several years teaching private woodwind and beginner piano lessons. Danielle is now a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters but continues to teach private lessons and run clinics for schools and band festivals. She holds the position of Principal Conductor of the 9am Community Band and is a performing saxophonist with the Sackville Concert Band. Danielle also performs with Glass Winds – Nova Scotia Women’s Wind Ensemble, a saxophone quartet, and various pit orchestras for musicals throughout Nova Scotia. Danielle is always looking for more opportunities to instruct and perform music throughout Nova Scotia, and enjoys volunteering her time to various organizations in the music community.