Meet the Team

  • Amici School of Music – where does this name come from?

    Hi! We are Michelle and Leigh-Ann, founders of Amici.  Why did we choose this name?  Well, amicimeans “friends” in Italian, and that’s just what we are and what brought this school together – OUR friendship and desire to foster a community of musical friendships.

    Here’s a little bit more about us and our amazing team!

    • Leigh-Ann Allen
      Owner, Teacher

      Leigh-Ann Allen

      Owner, Teacher

      Leigh-Ann always had music in her bones.  As a toddler she was often belting songs from the top of the stairs to her family and stuffed animals.  A Toronto native, she studied Royal Conservatory piano from a young age, and sang in school and competitive choirs such as the Amabile Singers.  This is when her love of singing really blossomed. Leigh-Ann continued with some formal voice training in highschool, but had her sights on a business degree. After an encouraging push from her voice teacher, she auditioned for the Vocal program at Western University.  She instantly fell in love with the intricacy of vocal studies where she was introduced to the world of opera and never looked back!  Leigh-Ann finished with her Masters, balancing a teaching and opera career in Europe, Asia, and the United States for a few years before turning her attention to found the Amici Music School with her best friend Michelle.  She is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of music with families so that they too can bring the joy of music into their homes.

      Leigh-Ann was recently awarded with her Music Together Certification I for outstanding achievement in teaching, musicianship, program philosophy, and parent education.  She maintains an active teaching schedule leading Music Together classes, and private piano and voice studio.

      • She makes an impromptu appearance in Drake’s “Headlines” music video, shot in Toronto
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        M.Mus, B.Mus
    • Michelle Garlough
      Owner, Teacher

      Michelle Garlough

      Owner, Teacher

      An Alberta native, Michelle grew up performing.  She spent most of her early school years in dance classes and music lessons.  By the time she was thirteen, she was singing in a professional children’s choir that toured Europe and dancing ballet along with private voice and piano studies.  It was during those formative years that she discovered her love for singing and the stage, and it hasn’t stopped since.

      After 1 year of pursuing a science degree at University of Alberta, Michelle took a leap to follow her musical passions all the way to London, Ontario to attend Western University. And we are sure glad she did! Expanding on her choral talents, Michelle became immediately hooked on both operatic and operetta repertoire. Her comedic timing has subsequently landed her lead roles with Toronto Operetta Theatre in The Importance of Being Earnest, among other roles with Toronto Opera in Concert with whom she frequently performs.  When she’s not performing in Toronto, you can find Michelle onstage in Edmonton, where she was named Best of Festival Rose Bowl winner in the Rotary Music Festival and first place standing in the provincial festival for two consecutive years.  She was also finalist in the renowned International Esteddfod Music Festival in Llangollen, Wales.

      As director of Amici Music Together, Michelle enjoys the challenge of balancing her private piano and voice students, leading Music Together classes, and mothering her young son. She was recently awarded the Music Together Certification I for outstanding achievement in teaching, musicianship, program philosophy, and parent education.

      • With a love of the outdoors, Michelle worked part-time in a mountain bike shop in Edmonton. She is very knowledgeable about bikes and used to compete in downhill races herself. Thankfully she is still in one piece!
      • She has performed for her Majesty the Queen at St. James Anglican Cathedral
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        M.Mus, B.Mus 
    • Norita Portilho
      Teacher

      Norita Portilho

      Teacher

      In her hometown of Brasilia, Brazil Norita grew up surrounded by a musical culture.  This is where she began both performing and teaching in music, working mostly with young children in rhythmic song and drum classes.  Since then Norita made the move to Canada, where she joined the Amici team.  With a background in eurhythmics, Dalcroz method, and Royal Conservatory Smart Start training, Norita finds Music Together her favourite methodology for early childhood music education.  Teaching is her passion and she believes that this is the most beautiful way to share the happiness that music brought to her life.  She also teaches Private Music lessons in Portuguese for the Brazilian community, keeping them in contact with the Portuguese language and exploring the rich Brazilian repertoire and culture through the music. Norita brings a warm and loving energy to her classes and the children love when she plays her guitar!

      • As a child, her first solo role in a musical was the role of a cow.Moooooo!
      • Was recruited to the Amici team as a teacher when she met Leigh-Ann performing together at COC in Strauss’ Salome. Ask them about their costumes…
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        B. Mus  Education
    • Meher Pavri
      Teacher

      Meher Pavri

      Teacher

      Indo-Canadian soprano, Meher Pavri hails from London, Ontario, where she completed her BMus at the University of Western Ontario. Along with Meher’s many musical pursuits, she also works as an actor and is establishing herself in the film/television industry in Canada. Her most recent opera credits in were with Against the Grain Theatre, and premiering new works with Tapestry Opera and Vancouver Opera. You can also catch Meher singing at Raptors games and as Priya in the feature film, Pixels. She loves getting to share her passion for music with toddlers and their parents. Recently, she was the recipient of a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to study French art song with her mentor in Paris, France. Meher can’t wait to be reunited with the Amici team and families in January.

      FUN FACT: Meher has a passion for motorcycles and cars. She has a little motorcycle named Aya and loves test driving fast cars at the track. Anyone want to race?

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        B.Mus 
    • Leah O'Halloran
      Teacher

      Leah O'Halloran

      Teacher

      Originally from Saskatchewan, Leah joins the Music Together team as an experienced childcare provider with a passion for music in early childhood development.  She met Leigh-Ann and Michelle while trying out the program with some little ones under her wing in 2012 and was immediately hooked on the Music Together program specifically.  Leah has tested A LOT of song circles in Toronto and can confidently say that this is hands-down the best there is.

      Leah is also a Natural Holistic Nutrutionist, and creates visual art works inspired by and for children. While she is from the “Paris of the prairies”, one of the most rewarding experiences of her work has been travel, which included a 6-month work period in Paris, France.

      • Leah has 9 siblings!!
      • Hair stylist, YouTube channel host, holistic nutritionist, early childhood specialist, and she’s won Saskatoon Idol. What doesn’t she do?!
      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        B.Fine Arts, MA Music
    • Celina DiCecca
      Teacher

      Celina DiCecca

      Teacher

      Celina brings a dynamic finesse to her stage performance and is a highly sought after live and studio musician in Toronto, Ont. She has performed with such notable musicians as Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), Frank Leahy, Shane Cook, Mark Sullivan and Jake Charron. Celina’s most recent creation is producing, directing and performing in the incredible show The Great Canadian Fiddle Show. Celina has been teaching the fiddle, violin and viola for over 12 years and has successfully built her studio to over 30 private students both in person and online.

      Personal Info:
      • Degree:
        B.Mus Education