Costume & Prop Coordinator
Melissa is a native of London, Ont. and a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with degrees in music and education, and a diploma from the Western Conservatory of Music.
A resident of Haliburton for 43 years, Melissa is well known for her tireless involvement in the arts. An accomplished pianist, organist, flautist and music director, she was named "Highlander of the Year" in 1998 and "Artist of Distinction" in 2007. These titles are well deserved.
Melissa is the Production Manager of the Highlands Opera Studio, working with Artistic Director Richard Margison and General Director Val Kuinka. As well ,she is the Executive Producer and Music Director for Highlands Summer Festival. Melissa also designs all and constructs many of the costumes for both the Opera and Festival productions.
Melissa retired from teaching at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School in the spring of 2019.
Then there are the choirs!
Haliburton United Church Choir,
Zion United Church Choir, Highlands Male Chorus,
The College Community Choir, Lindsay,
the North Hastings Community Choir, Bancroft
and the Highlands Festival Singers, Haliburton.
Her choirs have tackled such major works as
Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah,
and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, Melissa combined members from all her choirs to present "A Canadian Choral Celebration 150 Years ~ 150 Voices."
Melissa is so excited that Highlands Opera Studio is back in the Highlands. Melissa would like to remember her husband Craig Saunders, who passed away during the pandemic and was an amazing champion of Highlands Opera Studio from day one. As well, Melissa would like to thank all of the wonderful volunteers from Haliburton County who have helped in so many ways.