BOARD & STAFF
Janet Pryer is the Executive Director of FOM Music Society, a role she took on whole-heartedly in 2017 after four years as FOM’s bookkeeper. Janet was a Chartered Professional Accountant and graduated from Camosun College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management and Leadership. Janet first learned about Friends of Music on a family outing to the annual Victoria Day Parade where she saw one of the groups performing on a float. Janet played trumpet in many community bands in Victoria, including a short stint in the Moodswing Orchestra as well as performing at EMP in a few Community Concerts with the Wine and Roses Ladies’ Salon Orchestra. Janet believes in the healing power of music and loves helping people find their place at FOM. She can’t think of a more perfect job, where she can leave her tuba in the office and sometimes is even called on to play it.
Vanessa came on board with FOM Music Society in January 2020. She has a passion for the arts, and serving the non-profit sector. Her educational background is in Anthropology, with 5+ years of experience supporting large membership-based organizations with program & volunteer coordination, administration, and communications. She is also a skilled photographer and works part time as a Photo Lab Specialist. Vanessa has been involved with drop-in musical groups for the last 9 years and knows first-hand the benefit that music can have to uplift the spirit and improve health. She loves hand drumming and Kirtan (an Indian tradition of call and response devotional singing and chanting). Music has brought a deep sense of joy into her life, and she is excited to continue supporting FOM Music Society with its mission.
Hi, my name is Chey Davin Hjelt, I am a peer support worker and musician who has lived in Victoria for the last 20 years. The thing I enjoy most about the friends of music programs are the different bands and musicians that I get to play, perform and interact with in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Lately, I have also got the opportunity to work and even sub as the Music Director of the rock band. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I find that friends of music is the perfect place to have fun and unwind after a stressful day. I know I will always play music, and I will look back and remember my time at Friends of Music with happiness and good memories, it truly is a great place to learn and have fun.
fom music society board of directors
Nathan joined the FOM board in March of 2021. A lifelong passion for music and its ability to bring people together is what drew him to FOM Music Society and board membership. Nathan has a Bachelor of Science in general biology and a Doctorate in neuroscience. His research has focused on preventing the harmful effects of aging when damage occurs in the brain or spinal cord. Currently, he works as a public servant and enjoys living life on Vancouver Island. Nathan is excited to use his skills and expertise to raise awareness and help those affected by mental illness.
Rodney worked for 25 years in public practice accounting including accounting, tax and assurance services. He provided qualified risk management advisory services with 10 years of experience serving universities, crown corporations and the BC provincial government. For the past 10 years, he has served as filing financial controller and CFO for a locally owned business with multiple offices across Canada and abroad. He brings to the board his skills in financial control, governance and planning. FOM Music Society has served so many who are recovering from mental health challenges. Rodney hopes that his contributions will continue to help existing stakeholders and reach out to more people in need.
Lynn joined the FOM board in 2018. She has always pursued music in some form, starting with piano lessons and later followed by school band classes. As an adult, she has performed in a recorder consort and in a succession of choirs, which included the Good News Choir with Louise Rose. She took up learning the Ukulele at Friends of Music in order to be able to play together with her husband, who is a guitarist. The main focus of her music endeavours has always been community. She loves being part of Friends of Music and has an interest in mental health, so it was an easy decision for her to join the board. Outside of FOM and her musical pursuits, she works as an ESL teacher at GV Victoria.
Arun joined our board in July 2022. One has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, and currently works as a receptionist at the University of Victoria. Their interests include music, movies, Studio Ghibli, and Calvin and Hobbes. One has lived in 4 different countries, and comes from a family of artists; painters, musicians, dancers, writers. Music has always had a huge influence in one’s life. So much so, that they have put in 100s of hours in expanding their musical palette, discovering new genres and new traditions. Being interested in cultures around the world, especially their narratives and oral traditions, Arun’s current favourite genre is contemporary folk music and is exploring folk traditions around the world. Although deeply interested and passionate, they neither play any instrument nor know music theory. One keeps planning to do them both. As a board member, one brings critical thinking and analytical skills, and hopes their involvement will positively impact the board, the society, and the community in general.
Neil was drawn to Friends of Music by his uncle and long-time President, Bill Buckle. He first joined FOM’s Ukulele Group, and by 2014, he found himself on the board. Neil is very proud to be a part of this organization. He didn’t hesitate to take on the Presidency in April 2016, a few months after Bill Buckle passed away. Neil worked for thirteen years in the Air Force as a jet engine specialist and vibration analyst technician; for five years as a production manager at a plastics injection molding plant; and then spent almost twenty years as a mechanical engineering instructor and lab technologist at Camosun College.
Ken Beattie was born and raised in Victoria BC. He studied at Camosun College, and attended Pacific Vocational Institute in Vancouver, on the Aircraft Maintenance course. As a Youth, he was an air cadet and went on to earn his private pilot license at age 19.
Ken is passionate about playing the accordion, and he has studied the instrument since age 8. At Friends of Music, you will find him regularly accompanying the Eclectics, one of our performance groups. He has also busked on the Victoria Causeway, which led to many a paid gig. Ken got involved with Friends of Music, before it was even registered as a Society. He also did both volunteer, and paid work, in Mental Health, such as leading a support group for 33 years, and served as President of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Victoria Branch, attending national conferences across Canada. Ken has been on the board in the past, and believes in the long-term future of FOM. He wants to continue to help people to support the mental health through the gift of music.
Robert became involved with Friends of Music shortly after the death of his brother, Bill Buckle, who was a founding member of FOM and president for over 25 years until he died. In joining, Robert came to really appreciate the wonderful work FOM does to support many people through the medicine of music and what a vital organization FOM is for the community. Robert is a third-generation Victorian and attended the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia. He has been a licensed realtor for over 30 years, the last 25 with Newport Realty. Robert enjoys real estate and the creativity of restoring beautiful, old heritage buildings.
Winona works as an entrepreneur, including real estate. She loves to engage with the public in the hospitality industry. She also has a background in volunteering, which has included: The Boys and Girls club, Snow Host and ski instructor for Visas which is a non-profit charitable society focused on proving nationally certified snow sports instruction to the physically or developmental challenged programs on Mount Washington. Winona is a Saskatchewan rough riders fan and she loves to spend time with her family.
Julio worked in the field of finance as an internal auditor, manager, and director for the provincial and federal government and is currently retired.
Julio enjoys listening to all kinds of music and is a beginner guitar player. He enjoys living on the island and would like to contribute back to the community.