Deanna Gestrin is a vocalist, choral conductor, clinician, composer, studio singer, and music educator from Vancouver, Canada. Her family comes from the St’at’imc First Nation in the interior of British Columbia. Inspired by her many wonderful musical mentors, Deanna decided on a career in music education at the age of thirteen. She is blessed to have taught music for the past twenty-four years in various settings including private vocal instruction, early childhood music, elementary classroom music, secondary chorus and band, post-secondary music, as well as adult and children’s community choirs.
Deanna holds degrees in professional music, jazz performance, secondary education, and she will soon complete a Master of Counseling degree from Adler University. Deanna recently developed a community wellness program that combines her specialties of music, counseling and Indigenous culture. The program aims to enhance empathy, resilience, connection, and communication skills through medicine wheel teachings, drumming, singing, movement, and personal storytelling experienced in a circular setting.
Deanna is also the program lead for an intergenerational Indigenous drumming and singing community group called VYC kindred, sponsored by the Vancouver Youth Choir. Kindred is a free program that brings together immigrant and Indigenous youth with Indigenous leaders to learn about hand drumming, singing, and Indigenous culture. The Kindred program recently expanded to include an additional location. As part of its ongoing commitment to community outreach, Kindred also offers free community workshops.
Deanna regularly performs in classical, choral, jazz, contemporary, and traditional indigenous music settings. Through her educational, musical, and cultural work, Deanna’s ultimate goal is to build bridges and cross-cultural connections between people, families, and communities.