Forest City String School

Delight must be the basis and aim of this art.

Faculty & Staff


Mark Payne

Mark Payne

Mark Payne is a multi-faceted singer, pianist and conductor with a career spanning multiple genres. He is the resident Music Director for the Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia, ON, where he prepares and directs all the musical productions at the Playhouse. Mark is also the pianist/music director for the Anglican Church for the Ascension in London, a co-conductor of the Amabile Primus Mens Choir, and is a freelance music director, singer and pianist.

His education includes degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland (B.Mus), and the University of Toronto (M.Mus), in Piano Performance and Literature. He spent a semester at the Guild Hall School of Music and Drama in London, England, two summers at the Chautauqua Institute in New York, and two summers at the Merola Program in San Francisco, a prestigious program auditioning over 600 potential applicants across North and South America each year.

At the University of Western Ontario, Mark was the Head Opera Vocal Coach for 8 years, preparing singers for operas and opera gala performances in multiple languages ranging from Handel to Britten and everything in between. In addition he conducted several productions, as well as teaching vocal repertory to singers and pianists for two years.

Mark has worked with orchestras and opera companies across Canada, with roles ranging from tenor soloist to vocal coach to repetiteur to conductor to chorus master. Mark has performed as soloist with professional orchestras as a pianist, singer and conductor. For six seasons, he was the chorus master for both the Symphonic Choir and Chamber Choir for all the choral productions for Orchestra London.

Leigh Walter

Leigh Walters

Leigh Walter is a very energetic and passionate music teacher. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Honors Music) in 2000 from Western University where she had the honor of studying both double bass and piano with the former Dean of Music, Dr. Jeffrey Stokes and Patricia Giron respectively. She achieved her ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music and later obtained her Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University in 2002.

After deciding to reside in London, Leigh accepted a position with the Thames Valley District School Board and has since been working as a full-time elementary music teacher. Leigh has been a very proud faculty member of Forest City Talent Education since 2003. She first became involved as an accompanist and was then approached to take on the challenges of teaching reading classes for violin and taking over the conductor’s post for the Intermediate Orchestra.

Since taking on the role of Conductor, Leigh has led the Intermediate Orchestra to win the Kiwanis Music Festival at the Provincial level three times and has also been awarded various trophy prizes for excellence in conducting and best musical performance for an elementary string orchestra.

With a desire to continue learning, Leigh achieved a Masters of Education (A Phenomenological study on the experiences of students within a community-based string program) in 2011 from Western University. Leigh is a dynamic person that loves striving for excellence in performance collectively with her students. She truly enjoys private teaching and enjoyed building her own private piano & theory studio for several years prior to having her two children and wanting to share more family time together with her husband. It is her hope that she will have the opportunity to return to more private teaching and performing in the future.

Jordan Clayton

Jordan Clayton

Jordan Clayton is a young, passionate violinist and violin teacher based in London, ON, whose involvement in music education extends already over 15 years.

Jordan completed his Honors Bachelor of Music Degree in Violin Performance at Western University in 2010 under acclaimed violinist, Prof. Annette-Barbara Vogel. Jordan has enjoyed the opportunity to study chamber music with Prof. Tom Wiebe, Scott St. John, and members of the Quatuor Arthur Leblanc, among others.

As a violin teacher, Jordan finds the work of building students’ musical instincts and technical skills immensely fulfilling. While he employs the Mother Tongue philosophies of Dr. Suzuki, he also finds rich inspiration in the methods of Létourneau, Flesch, Sevcik, Schradiek, Mazas, Wohlfahrt and others.

In 2012, Jordan received his Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Ottawa. In 2015, after working outside of the university walls, Jordan returned to London to study with his mentor as a graduate student. In collaboration with Prof. Vogel, Jordan co-founded the exciting new Canadian string ensemble, Magisterra Soloists, for which he is now a core musician and the Educational Coordinator. Jordan is dedicated to developing and transmitting the art of classical music through both his performing and teaching. Alongside his work as a private teacher, Jordan is on faculty at the Forest City School for Talent Education and with El Sistema South London. Jordan’s enthusiasm for arts and culture goes far beyond the concert hall. He loves to cook and discover new foods, and delights in good meals with good friends. He is bilingual and is actively involved in the French Canadian community. At 6’6’’, Jordan prides himself on being one of Canada’s tallest violinists!

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