Ambrosia Chamber Ensembles

Caleb Olesen, Carmen Miron, Ginny Scarfino, Mary Steele, Michelle Kyle, Yiyang Shi


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Biographies

Yiyang Shi Violinist/Violist Yiyang Shi started playing violin at the age of five. He was born in Liuzhou, China, moved to New Brunswick in 2014, and moved to Waterloo in 2020. Yiyang enjoys playing violin/viola with the Waterloo Chamber Players and occasionally with the Stratford Symphony Orchestra. He was the director of the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Orchestra from 2011 to 2013. During his undergrad years, he organized, directed and/or performed in well-received university concerts and events around the region with fellow students at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, including performing at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. In 2014, Yiyang started his MSc journey in Electrical Engineering at University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. He played violin and viola with various groups including the Fredericton Symphony Orchestra, the St. Andrews Gala Festival Orchestra, and the UNB Chorale, and participated in music festivals such as the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival and ChoralFest. Yiyang also played in the pit bands of musical theatre productions of Theatre New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, where he even played guitar for one production. In addition to playing violin, viola, guitar and drums, Yiyang is skilled in the use of technology applications in music, such as audio/video production, MIDI/computer music and sheet music notation. Yiyang currently works as an electrical control panel specialist at a family business in Breslau. He has a broad interest in science and technology. You might find him working on cars, driving them on local circuits, or playing with electronics during the weekend.

Caleb Olesen Violist Caleb Olesen learned the violin in grade school through the Niagara Elementary Instrumental Music program. In grade 8, his violin teacher handed him a viola and asked him to learn how to read the alto clef and to join the Niagara Youth Orchestra as a violist. Caleb has been a violist ever since. During university, Caleb earned a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo while playing viola with Orchestra@UWaterloo and the Waterloo Chamber Players as well as singing bass with the University of Waterloo Chamber Choir and the Renaissance Singers. Today, Caleb is a professional engineer in the wastewater treatment business. He is a violist with, and a board member of, the Waterloo Chamber Players, and he is busy with three children at home.

Mary Steele Cellist Mary Steele began her musical journey began in childhood, starting on piano at age seven and adding cello at age twelve with the guidance of teachers at the Beckett School in Waterloo. Mary earned a degree in computer science from the University of Waterloo, complemented by a minor in music. During her university years, Mary studied with accomplished instructors including Mark Norris, John Helmers, and Ben Bolt-Martin. She has contributed her musical talents to ensembles like Orchestra@UWaterloo and the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Orchestra and currently finds joy in her role with the Waterloo Chamber Players. In addition to her musical pursuits, Mary works as a software developer and is a dedicated mother to two children. Her leisure time is spent swimming, tending to gardens, and nurturing an indoor plant collection centered around her fascination with carnivorous plants.
Michelle Kyle

Cellist/Pianist Michelle Kyle (née Hunchak) (née Hunchak) began playing at age four, and at 11 began playing professionally for Ukrainian dance groups in Ottawa. Studying with Garth Beckett at Wilfrid Laurier University, she completed Licentiate and Fellowship diplomas in piano performance from Trinity College of Music. Studying with Tom Plaunt at McGill University, she earned a Master of Music in piano performance. She also completed degrees in law at Osgoode Hall and adult education at Brock University, and was co-founder and artistic director of the Heliconian Choir and Orchestra in Toronto and Joyful Voices choir in Listowel. Michelle is Principal Cellist of the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Orchestra and plays cello with the Waterloo Chamber Players. She has performed as a pianist and cellist for special events throughout Ontario for decades and plays piano and cello in Ambrosia Chamber Ensembles. She has been a lawyer, web developer at a major bank, certified rock climbing instructor, and adult literacy instructor. She studied German at Uni Wien in Vienna, climbed in the Shawangunks and Adirondacks, rode a CB450T Hawk motorcycle, raced keelboats, and rode her bicycle over 7,200 km across Canada. Michelle lives in rural Princeton with her husband and many cats and chickens, teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki with a focus on animals, and enjoys swimming, cycling, yoga, Duolingo and puzzles.

Ginny Scarfino

Clarinetist Ginny Scarfino is a native of Kitchener-Waterloo and began playing clarinet in high school. While working toward a Computer Science degree at University of Waterloo, she began private lessons with former K-W Symphony principal Victor Sawa and studied with him for 18 years. A fellow musician in a chamber music quartet she played in had an extra bassoon, so she borrowed it to give it a whirl. She loved it! After Victor Sawa left K-W, she studied bassoon with former K-W Symphony principal, Cedric Coleman, for over 20 years. After a 33-year career in IT with Mutual Life/Sun Life/IBM, she retired in 2013, decided to add piano lessons as well, and studied with long-time Beckett School teacher Terry Kroetsch for 10 years. Ginny is very active in the music community. She plays Principal Bassoon in the Wellington Wind Symphony and the Waterloo Chamber Players, Second Bassoon in the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, bassoon in the Spindrift Wind Quartet, Principal Clarinet in the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Orchestra, and clarinet in Ambrosia Chamber Ensembles. She performs annually on both clarinet and bassoon in the Noon Hour Concert series put on by St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Kitchener. For hobbies, she loves to knit, especially socks, and loves to put together jigsaw puzzles, the bigger the better!