Elizabeth Sircom

Member, Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers Association 

ARYO Program Director

Instructor: ARYO Beginner Instrument Clinic

Elizabeth Sircom is a cellist and visual artist. She teaches cello privately as a member of the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers Association (NSRMTA) and in May 2021 was awarded the Janet K. Leffek Professional Development Fellowship by the NSRMTA Trust.

Growing up in Hantsport N.S., Elizabeth Sircom studied cello and piano through the Royal Conservatory and actively engaged in choral singing (school and church choirs, musicals, and the University of King’s College Chapel Choir under David and Helen Buley). She was a cellist in the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra under Robert Raines. Her studies of languages and Fine Arts took her to Paris, France, and then Normandy, where she married and spent 20 years working as a professional artist and art teacher.

In 2012 she decided to make more time for music in her life and spent a year at the Le Havre Conservatory of Music and Dance (Conservatoire Arthur Honegger), studying cello and chamber music. She returned to live in Nova Scotia in 2013 and, while continuing to work in the visual arts, took up studies in cello and cello pedagogy, string methods and chamber music, with Dr. Christoph Both at the Acadia University School of Music. She plays regularly with the Acadia University Orchestra and, with three Acadia music students, as the “Conundrum” String Quartet. From 2016 to 2018 she was the cello instructor for the HCYO strings program at Horton High School. She was cello instructor and outreach coordinator for this program under its new name of Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra (ARYO), located at Festival Theatre in Wolfville during the 2018/19 season and has been the Program Director since the 2019/20 season.


Keigan Richard

Conductor: ARYO Orchestra, ARYO Introductory Orchestra

Keigan is a third-year Music Education student currently attending Acadia University. He has played violin for the past 12 years, and piano for the last 7 years. In the past, he has played with numerous community orchestras including New Brunswick’s FLO, and the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra for the last three years. Additionally, he has been playing with the Acadia University Orchestra for the last 5 years and served as Concert Master in the 2019-20 season. His other interests include directing and acting in theatrical productions, reading, and killing time watching YouTube. This will be Keigan’s third year as an instructor for ARYO, and he is looking forward to facing new challenges and diving into new music this season!

Klorissa Farnsworth

Instructor: Second Level Instrument Clinic, ARYO Fiddle Group

Klorissa is a third-year Music Therapy Student from Pictou, Nova Scotia, currently attending Acadia University. Klorissa has played the fiddle for the past 16 years, and started studying violin 4 years ago.  

Over the past 16 years Klorissa has studied many Maritime fiddle styles including Cape Breton, Traditional, Old Time, and Celtic. Klorissa has studied under a multitude of instructors including Pam LeBlanc, Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, Fleur Mainville, Mac Morin, Rachel Davis, Dr. Gillian Smith and many more.  

Klorissa started performing with several different bands at the age of 6, volunteering at nursing homes, and fundraisers. By the age of 9, Klorissa was performing solo across Pictou County. She progressed into performing across Pictou, Antigonish, and Colchester Counties with several different bands.  

Klorissa has been teaching fiddle for the last 8 years in both group and individual formats, through private lessons and fiddle camps.


bio photo Jaya

Jaya Paquette-Jager (they/she)

BMT (Bachelor Music Therapy)
Music Teacher (Violin Viola Fiddle Ukulele)

Instructor: Second Level Instrument Clinic, ARYO Fiddle Group

Jaya started playing the fiddle at age 3 when living in Alma, NB. A few years later, they switched to classical violin when they moved to Gatineau, QC. They studied violin and viola performance with voice as a second instrument at the Gatineau Music Conservatory with Joan Milkson, a founding member of the Ottawa National Arts Orchestra. There, they played in youth orchestras, string ensembles and string quartets. Jaya was even lucky enough to travel and play in ensembles in Peru, Hawaii and Vienna. They started teaching as a teen to neighbours and haven’t stopped teaching since.

 In 2018, they graduated from Acadia University in Music Therapy. Jaya’s focus now is teaching people of all ages and sharing the joy of music. In the past couple years, they’ve had fun jamming with friends, writing songs on ukulele, and exploring other ways to make music. When they’re not teaching violin, you can find them drinking tea, in the garden, baking, or biking on the rail trail.

Allison Ernst

Second level Instrument Clinic, Fiddle Group, ARYO Orchestra

Allison Ernst has been actively pursuing her love for music from a young age. Starting with piano lessons at the age of 5, she later began playing the fiddle. Upon discovering a love for classical string music, she decided to complete a BMus in Violin Performance at Acadia University (’17) under Jennifer Jones, while simultaneously studying the viola under Dr. Gillian Smith and earning a BTh from the Acadia Divinity College (’19). Allison enjoys playing in small chamber groups as well as orchestral settings, and in the past has been an active member of the Acadia University String Quartet, the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, and the Acadia University Orchestra, as well as various other ensembles. She has maintained her love of traditional fiddle music by performing and teaching traditional styles both privately and through the Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra, while continuing to cultivate her own interests in choral music and Renaissance counterpoint. Allison enjoys playing and singing together with her husband John, and together they welcomed a new addition to their family in early March 2019.

Shawnee Paul (Fiddle Group)

Coming from a musical family, Shawnee always knew that she would be a musician from a very young age. Her grandfather was a well-known fiddler in Cape Breton and encouraged his family members to take on music lessons. At the age of 5, Shawnee began taking  piano lessons and when her grandfather gave her a fiddle at the age of 7, she soon began fiddle lessons. Shawnee comes from a Mi’kmaq community that is very close to a Gaelic community. Because of this and the strong Gaelic culture in Cape Breton, Shawnee has been exposed to Gaelic culture and music her entire life and loves to share this music with others.

Because of the lack of music educators in her area, Shawnee decided to pursue a career as a music educator. She began her music degree at Acadia in 2015, studying the violin under Gillian Smith. Shawnee completed her Bachelor of Music degree at Acadia in May of 2019 and completed her Bachelor of Education in May of 2021.