Women’s Conducting Intensive

Jul 27–29, 2020 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WCI 2020 has been cancelled.

The HCCI Women’s Conducting Intensive exists to pave the way for women’s success in the field of conducting. The first of its kind in Canada, the WCI is boldly forging a new community of brave female leaders in music.

Open to all levels of conductors (emerging to professional), the WCI focuses on strengthening podium presence and leadership, while developing practical skills for transformative choral practice.

Aspiring female conductors can be reluctant to publicly discuss the issue of a glass ceiling, but the challenges many face as they try to break through became clear at a pioneering conference in Halifax...
Maggie Rahr/The Globe and Mail


First Baptist Church, Halifax

Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a vibrant city of nearly 400,000. Founded in 1749, Halifax is rich with Canadian history. Its picturesque geography borders the Atlantic Ocean and the city’s harbour is one of the largest and deepest in the world. Summer is the ideal time to visit this busy tourist destination.



Dr. Caron Daley

Artistic Director and Founder

Sarah MacDonald

WCI 2020 Guest Clinician
Full Bios

CARON DALEY is Director of Choral Activities and Ensembles Coordinator at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, she has held past conducting appointments with the University of Toronto, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, National Youth Choir of Canada, Salem Academy and College, and St. Michael’s Choir School.


Passionate about conductor education, Caron founded the Halifax Choral Conducting Institute in 2013, a summer training program that attracts conductors from across North America. In 2017, the HCCI featured the Elmer Iseler Singers as Choir-in-Residence. In 2019, the HCCI inaugurated a Women’s Conducting Institute, the first of its kind in Canada, and garnered national media coverage.


A certified Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher, Caron frequently lectures on the sound-gesture relationship in choral conducting, and is published in Anacrusis, Canadian Music Educator, Research Memorandum Series of Chorus America, Teaching Music through Performance in Choir Vol. 4 and Vol. 5, Choral Journal, and upcoming in Journal of Singing. Her current cross-disciplinary research study with Dr. Heather Leavy-Rusiewicz (Speech Language Pathology) investigates the use of manual mimicry gestures (hand gestures that mimic the spatiotemporal configurations of the vocal apparatus) in the teaching and learning of German speech sounds for singing. She also collaborates with Dr. Greg Marchetti, Physical Therapist and Ergonomist, to investigate injury prevention strategies for conductors.


A third-generation music educator, Caron holds a D.M.A. (Choral Conducting) from the University of Toronto, an M.M. (Choral Conducting) and M.A. (Vocal Pedagogy) from The Ohio State University, an Artist Diploma (Voice) and B.M. (Music Education) from Western University, and an A.R.C.T (Voice) from the Royal Conservatory of Canada. She currently serves as President of the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania.

SARAH MACDONALD is a Canadian conductor, organist, and composer. She currently lives in the UK and holds the positions of Fellow and Director of Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and Director of the Girl Choristers at Ely Cathedral. She has been at Selwyn since 1999, and was the first woman to hold such a post in a Chapel in either of the ancient universities of Cambridge or Oxford.


Sarah came to the UK from Canada in 1992 as Organ Scholar of Robinson College, Cambridge after studying piano, organ, and conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School in Toronto with Leon Fleisher, Marek Jablonski, and John Tuttle. At Cambridge she read for a degree in Music, and studied the organ with David Sanger.


Sarah has played numerous recitals and conducted choirs throughout the UK, North America, the Middle East, New Zealand, and much of mainland Europe. She has made over 35 commercial recordings, variously in the guises of pianist, organist, conductor, and producer, and currently works most frequently with Regent Records. She has broadcast on BBC radio and television, and has taught organ and conducting for Eton Choral Courses, Oundle for Organists, the Jennifer Bate Organ Academy, and courses run by the Royal College of Organists (RCO). For its first decade, she was a Director of the annual Girl Chorister Course at St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, in New York City.


Sarah holds the Fellowship Diploma of the RCO, and is a winner of the coveted Limpus Prize. She is an RCO Examiner, and she teaches and examines conducting, harmony, counterpoint, fugue, and composition for the Cambridge University Music Faculty. She has had numerous choral compositions published by Encore Publications, the Royal School of Church Music, and St James Music Press. She is the series editor for the newly launched “Sarah MacDonald Choral Series” of liturgical choral music by female composers for Selah Press. Sarah also writes a popular monthly column for the American Guild of Organists’ magazine, The American Organist, called “UK Report.”


In 2018 Sarah received the honorary ARSCM in recognition of her contribution to choral music in the UK and Canada, and the citation made particular mention of her support of contemporary British composers.


The WCI schedule is designed to provide participants a maximum of educational value during the week. If you plan to do some sightseeing in or around Halifax, we recommend adding some time to either or both ends of your trip to make the most out of your time in the area.

Click on the image below to download a copy of the WCI 2020 schedule.


The WCI is open to all levels of conductors (emerging to professional) and has an unlimited enrollment. Conducting Technique sessions in the afternoon will be streamed by level of experience (A/B). If you wish to conduct in the afternoon masterclasses, please indicate this on your application form.

Click here to register for the 2020 WCI.

$345 / $195** CAD

Step 1

Complete and submit your registration form.

Step 2

Submit your registration fee. Fees are non-refundable.*

* In the unlikely event that the WCI is cancelled, enrollment fees will be refunded in full.

** Discounted rate for undergraduate/high school students

New for 2020 — Extended Mentorship Program ($195 CAD)

(Limited to 5 conductors)

To enhance your experience at WCI 2020 we are offering a supplemental program to extend your mentorship in advance of and beyond the WCI. Enrollment in this program is very limited — apply early!

The program includes:

Pre-WCI (May–Jul 2020)

A one-on-one mentorship session with Caron Daley

Access to readings and discussions

Resources shared among participants

Post-WCI (Aug–Oct 2020)

A one-on-one mentorship session with Caron Daley

A video conference of a rehearsal / an online conducting lesson

† This program is offered as a supplement to the WCI and does not include the WCI registration fee. Please register separately for the WCI.