Instructors - Music

Alana MacKay – Voice

Born and raised in Manitoba, by a very musical family, Alana Mackay has been actively involved in the music community from birth. She first performed at her local church at the tender age of 3, and began piano lessons at the age of 4. She performed in many musical theatre productions throughout high school, and went on to study piano, and voice at Vanguard College, and Alberta College in Edmonton, Alberta. She has taught piano, and voice lessons for over 25 years, and has led a number of youth choirs, and musical theatre groups. Alana, her husband Nathan and their family are enjoying all Fort McMurray has to offer, and are excited to be involved in the community!

Alana is excited at the opportunity to offer voice, piano, and gospel piano chording lessons through Up Town Music at the Suncor Centre of Performing Arts. She is looking forward to helping students reach their musical potential in a fun and encouraging environment.

Lydia van Thiel – Cello

Lydia’s musical training started with piano lessons, rather than Kindergarten, at age five, and cello lessons added at age nine.  During her youth she played with many youth orchestras and ensembles, ultimately advancing to the position of section cellist with both the Regina and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras.  Fort McMurray has offered many musical opportunities, including performing many years with Peter Ellis’ various ensembles, as well as providing music support to many of our community’s choirs and musical productions. Lydia has enjoyed teaching scores of cello and piano students over the years. She also founded and ran the Sunday Night Cello Ladies choir for 10 years. Currently she is seeking new students interested in becoming cellists who have prior background in either piano or some other instrument.   Students should be 10 years or older, with preference being given to adults and an interview with the student is required before registration is accepted.  If your son or daughter that is interested in cello is younger than 10, there are still options to discuss, so please feel free to contact Lydia. 

On a personal side, Lydia has lived in Fort McMurray since 1990 with her husband Bob and where they have raised their two boys.  She has been active in the Potters Guild (student, member and instructor) and believes in lifelong learning. She approaches teaching from a student centered approach where lessons are designed with the students’ interests and strengths in mind.  Lydia has a BA, with distinction, from Athabasca University, a MEd from the University of Calgary, and I works full time as the Educational and Assistive Technology Facilitator for the Fort McMurray Catholic Schools.