Samara Ripley

Crescent Choirs Founder & Artistic Director
Youth Choir | Women's Choir | Luna Vocal Ensemble | Children's Choirs

Samara fell in love with singing when she joined the White Rock Children's Choir in elementary school. Fast forward twenty years, and she still spends each day creating music with others. As a teacher and conductor, Samara helps others experience the gift of music-making. She creates a space for singers to build confidence, develop vocal technique and musical skills, and explore the choral arts with support, guidance, and encouragement.

Samara works with singers of all ages. In addition to her work with Crescent Choirs, Samara teaches elementary music at Cornerstone School, where she and Andrew are administrators for the Intermediate program. Samara has taught singing, musical theatre, and choir at StageCoach Theatre Arts, Lights Up Musical Theatre, Vancouver Performing Stars, and the Sarah McLachlan School of Music. She also has a studio of private voice students in the White Rock/South Surrey area. 

Samara holds a Bachelor of Music in voice performance from Mount Allison University and a Master of Arts in historical musicology from UBC. Her first and foremost love is choral music. In the past she has sung with Phoenix Chamber Choir and she is excited to sing in our brand-new ensemble, Aurora Chamber Choir. Samara recently completed a Master of Music in choral conducting at UBC, where she directed the Men's Choir and Chamber Choir and sang with the University Singers. 

Andrew Bortz

Aurora Chamber Choir Founder & Diretor
Youth Choir Pianist

Andrew is a sought-after conductor, composer, singer, and pianist. He recently completed a Master of Music in choral conducting from UBC, where he directed the Chamber Choir, Men's Choir, and Women's Choir. His previous studies include a Bachelor of Music in voice, piano, and composition from Whitworth University.

Andrew will be conducting Aurora Chamber Choir, our new young adult choir. In addition, Andrew will be working with Phoenix Chamber Choir as an assistant conductor. As an accompanist, Andrew is known for his sensitive and intuitive music making, playing with high school and collegiate choirs across the US and Canada. 

I-Fen Peng

Women's Choir Pianist

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Dr. Peng received her master degree in piano performance from The Ohio State University, and doctor degree in piano performance from Conservatory-College of Music, University of Cincinnati, OH.  She was a former assistant professor at University of Art and Technology in Taiwan.

With her passion of chamber music, Dr. Peng continues to explore both instrumental and vocal ensemble repertoire after she moved to Vancouver. Her collaborative performance appeared in Italy, Germany, USA, Taiwan, and Canada, such as Casalmaggiore Music Festival, Strings Retreat in Orcas Island, WA, Chamber Recital on “Ms Europa” Cruise, Musical “Red Letter” in Victoria, Chamber Recital with Borealis String Quartet and numerous concerts in many revues of Vancouver.

Dr. Peng contributes her musical talents to be a dedicated teacher, festival adjudicator, and chamber musician. She collaborated with Vancouver Chinese Singers for 10 years before she joined the Kodaly Children's Choir and Crescent Women's Choir in 2016.  She has her own piano studio in White Rock, and also teaches in Royal Oak Conservatory of Music and Vancouver International School of Music.

Jenna Baumgartner

Women's Choir Assistant Conductor


Jenna is currently studying Music Education at UBC as she pursues her lifelong passion for choral music and the choral community. Singing in the UBC University Singers and the Vancouver Youth Choir, she is working towards building a foundation of skills and experiences that will allow her to share this passion with others. Being a part of the Crescent Choirs community will be an exciting new chapter in this journey.

Linda woods

Lux Children’s Choir Pianist


Linda has been a singer all of her life from children’s choir in Coquitlam to touring with UBC, Christian colleges, The Continental Singers and currently with Crescent Women’s Choir and Luna Vocal Ensemble. She has been a Core Music Specialist and EFSL teacher with the Surrey School Board since 1993. Her school choirs have attended the Surrey festivals every year along with private festivals such as WorldBeat in White Rock, Cantando in Whistler, BC Chorfest in Richmond, as well as, performing at Disneyland on three separate occasions. 

Linda’s belief is that everyone has a voice to sing and it is her primary goal to help students find the singer inside of them.  She is SO pleased to work alongside Samara and Crescent Choirs as an accompanist to see more young singers find their voice!

Elizabeth Berwick

Angeli Children’s Choir Director 


Elizabeth Berwick has been performing since she was a young child. Growing up in the church, she was a part of choirs from a young age, and continued with that throughout elementary and high school. Elizabeth attended Vancouver Community College as a Jazz voice student, and later went on to receive her education degree at SFU. She also received her Orff Level 1 training in August 2017. Over the past 10 years, she has taught both private piano and voice, in public schools, and led numerous choirs around the city.

David Liao

Angeli Children’s Choir Pianist

David is currently in Grade 11 at Semiahmoo Secondary. He has played piano for around ten years and is currently working on his performance diploma for music. Music has been a big part of David’s life and he hopes it will remain as his lifelong hobby. As the oldest child in his family with two younger siblings, David loves working with children and watching them progress and grow. In the future, he hopes to become an engineer and a part-time musician. David is thrilled to work with all of these talented kids in Angeli!