David Vamos – Music Director and Artistic Director
David Vamos has been a member of the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble since 2002, first beginning as a singer before moving on to various directorships on the artistic team since 2007, including music director and most recently artistic director. He holds a degree in Voice Performance from the University of Manitoba, as well as a degree in Education from OISE/UT. After three years of singing with the Lachan Jewish Chamber Choir and the Aradia Ensemble in Toronto, David returned to Winnipeg in 2012 to accept the position of Music and Theatre Arts teacher at the Gray Academy of Jewish Education, where he loves sharing his passion for music and Jewish culture with a new generation.
Sarah has been a member of the Chai Folk Ensemble since 2008, and became the assistant vocal director in 2010 and vocal director in 2014. She is a graduate of the Gray Academy of Jewish Education and is currently studying music at the University of Manitoba. Sarah enjoys performing a wide variety of musical styles, including classical, Israeli, and musical theatre. She is also a member of the Etz Chayim High Holidays Choir. Some of her performance highlights include Manitoba Opera's Jason and Hanna in 2008, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2012 under the direction of Janna Larsen, and Chai's trip to Mexico City to participate in Festival Aviv in 2011. Sarah looks forward to being a part of what lies ahead in Chai's future.
When Hadera learned to walk, she learned to dance.
Hadera is trained in many styles of dance including jazz, hip-hop and modern. She began Israeli dance at the age of five and fell in love with Chai after seeing her first Chai performance as a child. Throughout elementary and high school at Gray Academy, Hadera performed as a dancer in multiple musicals. Hadera danced in Vancouver with Ruach, a junior Chai group, as well as at Festival Karmiel in Israel with Vancouver's Israeli dance group, Or Chadash. She auditioned at the age of sixteen for Chai, joining in 2009.
Hadera has travelled with the Chai Folk Ensemble to Mexico City, Israel and Kelowna BC. Although travelling has been incredible, the highlight for Hadera is performing during Folklorama at the Israel Pavilion.
Amidst her studies in psychology at the University of Manitoba, Hadera was accepted in 2014 to the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance where she studied contemporary, ballet and Gaga styles of dance. Hadera learned repertoire from world-renowned choreographers and took part in dance workshops across the country throughout the year.
Hadera's happy place is on the stage and she couldn't be more excited about directing Chai after so many years of dancing in this wonderful and inspiring group.
Jesse Popeski - Assistant Music Director
Jesse Popeski is a Winnipeg guitar player and a recent graduate of the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Music. A regular face on the Manitoba music scene, Jesse can be seen playing with groups such as Beatox & Sir Luc and the Dukes. He has been one of Grace Hrabi's main collaborators since 2013.Jesse joined the Chai orchestra in June 2015.
John Loewen – Director of Production
John comes to us from a 30 year history of touring and local support in a variety of different aspects of the entertainment industry. North American tours with Trans Siberian Orchestra, Billy Idol, and the Moscow Ballet as Transportation and Logistics Lead Hand, Royal Winnipeg Ballet as Foy captain/rigger. Local movie and video productions as 1st and 2nd audio boom operator and as an independent audio technician for many of the recognizable (and not so recognizable) live events in and around the Winnipeg area. John also holds a position at Sound Art AVI here in Winnipeg as the Design and Integration Division manager designing and implementing large scale audio and visual systems.