Board of Directors

Richard H. Baker


Early musical influences during childhood years in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires came from the radio. Piano lessons started in Toronto after a family move to Canada in 1956. However, unlike several famous composers who fled the law to write music, he did the opposite by opting for a life-long civil litigation practice in Toronto, from which he retired in 2016. Apart from an enduring delight in classical music, memorable experiences included naval training during university days, involvement in the 1970’s Toronto art scene through his friendship with Jack Pollock, and an affinity for Hispanic immigrants. Along the way there was much gratifying voluntary work with Commissionaires (Great Lakes), Canadian Council for the Americas, University Naval Training Divisions Association of Canada (UNTD), Riverbrink Art Museum Inc., Gallery Players of Niagara, and others. He has lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake since 2011. 

Sally Basmajian


Always engaged in musical activities in her youth, Sally Basmajian graduated with a Master of Arts in Musicology from the University of Toronto and then took a sideways turn into a career in advertising. She became intrigued by broadcasting and joined the sales force for Quebec’s TVA Network, eventually moving to English language television and holding positions such as Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Discovery Channel, and later Vice President and General Manager, Comedy and Drama for Bell Media. Now living in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Sally writes short stories, including some prize-winners, and enjoys the many wonders that this community holds.

T. L (Larry) Bourk

Vice Chair

Larry is Chair of a CEO forum for The Executive Committee of Canada and founding Principal and Chairman of a management consulting firm. He is also the founder and President of a company that develops Retirement Community properties in Ontario. With a business career of twenty–five years in  the life and health insurance industry, he was President and CEO of a Canadian life insurance company within the global Prudential Assurance organization. Larry has been active in the Young Presidents Organization; University of Victoria (U of T), Board of Regents and Chairman of the Investment Committee; Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra Association as director and President in 1994.

Leonard Conolly

Director - Past Chair

Leonard Conolly is a former President of Trent University, and currently is a Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge, Massey College, Toronto, and the Royal Society of Canada. He has served for many years as a Corresponding Scholar of the Shaw Festival.

Lord Mayor Pat Darte


Pat Darte was elected Lord Mayor for the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake in October 2014.  As Lord Mayor, Pat sits on several local and regional boards, including the Niagara Parks Commission, Shaw Festival Theatre, Music Niagara, Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro, and several Niagara Region committees.  Pat currently owns Niagara Sports and Entertainment and Benchview Farms.  He has been involved in a range of community organizations, such as the FACS Family Foundation, Niagara Community Foundation, Hotel Dieu Hospital Board, a coach for several sports teams, and a member of various other church and fundraising committees.  Pat has three daughters, a son, and a granddaughter.

Margot Hickson


Over the last 20 years, Margot has followed her passion for travel by circumnavigating the world. Currently, she splits her time between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Naples, Florida where she serves as the Board Treasurer of the Condominium Association.

Previously, Margot spent over 20 years with the Toronto Dominion Bank in Toronto and used her background in finance to span several functional areas. She has served on many Boards of not-for-profit organizations including a private golf club, hospital and organizations involved in the development of science and technology.

Margaret Huber


Active as President, Canadian International Council-National Capital Branch; President of the Harvard Club of Ottawa; Volunteer speaker of the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada. Harvard Fellow (Advanced Leadership Initiative 2014). Former career diplomat: served as Ambassador of Canada in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Education: Institute of Corporate Directors, Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, uOttawa MA, McGill University BA. Happy to have grown up in Niagara, and to now have opportunities to work with Music Niagara and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

David Israelson


David Israelson is a writer, editor, consultant and non-practising lawyer. He is Principal of Eon Communications and Research, which he founded after more than a decade as a senior public relations executive. David is a busy freelance writer and advisor who also conducts communications training programs in Canada and internationally. His longer works include two books and an academic paper on energy policy. David served as Senior Writer for the Premier of Ontario and is an active volunteer board member with several not for-profit organizations, including Music Niagara. He lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Donna Lailey


Donna is the CEO of Lailey Vineyard Wines Inc. and has been a vineyard owner and consultant, a trustee, director, or task force member on over two-dozen boards and committees, including as a founding member of the VQA. She has also served on the VQA Technical Committee; as Vice-Chair, Ontario Grape Growers Marketing Board; founding member and Chair of Ontario Wine Producers; Governor of Niagara College; Director of the Niagara Credit Union; Niagara Parks Commissioner and Director of The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario.

J Robert (Bob) Lavery


Bob is a CPA and Fellow of the CPAs. Formerly a partner with KPMG, he founded Winpak Ltd., and was President and CEO from 1977 to 2003, with ten manufacturing facilities in Canada, the USA and Mexico. He has served with The Health Sciences Centre Foundation and the United Way in Winnipeg and with the VON, Canada. Bob is the Music Niagara Treasurer.

Virginia (Ginny) Medland-Green


Throughout a thirty year career in fundraising and development, Ginny focused her efforts in Arts and Education. She began in 1981 as a fundraiser for the Shaw Festival and concluded her professional life as senior VP development, Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Since ‘retirement’, and when not playing golf, Ginny enjoys volunteering in Niagara-on-the-Lake and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in support of the Arts and Education.

Paul Shelestowsky


Paul is the Senior Wealth Advisor with Meridian Credit Union working out of Niagara-on-the-Lake. He has been in the financial industry for over 25 years, and has lent his expertise to many national news outlets, including The Globe & Mail, the Financial Post and the Toronto Star, as well as appearing on BNN and CTV News Network. Paul earned an honours degree in Music from McMaster University in 1997, and is happy to be able to match his lifelong passion for music with his volunteering.

Tim Taylor


Tim’s eclectic career has spanned journalism, public and government relations, hospitality, marketing and customer relations working with large national corporations, public sector agencies and small privately-owned companies—including Imperial Oil, The Edmonton Journal, Canadian Artic Gas, The Molson Companies, Niagara’s Finest Inns, Taylor and Bate Brewery and the Ontario Power Authority. He has been a Board Member, Chair and Fundraising Co-Chair, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; a member of the Search Committee for new Artistic Director, Symphony Nova Scotia; and Board Member and Chair of the Elora Festival

Valerie Taylor


Valerie Taylor is currently the Director of Marketing, Communications and Sales at the Shaw Festival. During her 25 years in the cultural tourism sector she has held senior positions at Canadian Stage, Livent and the Royal Ontario Museum. In addition to being a Board member of the Tourism Partnership of Niagara, she also chairs the TPN Marketing Committee.

Janice Thomson



Share This: