Son of Maple Leaf Singers’ founders George and Marie Gillis, Rob Gillis has grown up with music in his blood. He played percussion for the chorus starting at just eight years old and has been singing and playing in bands since the age of 10. As a founding member of Vancouver band Blue Meenies, Rob sang and played bass guitar for over 25 years.
In 2007, Rob and his wife Josie joined the Maple Leaf Singers as full-time singing members, taking on various duties including executive and managerial positions. Rob became Assistant Director in 2017, and took over as Music Director the following year.
As a Senior General Manager for Sienna Senior Living, Rob blends his passion for superior senior living in perfect harmony with music, often inviting the Maple Leaf Singers to provide their theatre quality entertainment to those unable to go out to a live performance.
Accompanist – Gail MacDonald
A Vancouver native, Gail MacDonald graduated from John Oliver High School and received her Bachelor of Music degree and Teacher Certification from UBC. She has been a Music and ELL Specialist Teacher for over 40 years, working with students ranging from Kindergarten to Adult Education. She now teaches part-time.
As a chorister, Gail has performed locally, nationally, and internationally. She is a former Director of the Burnaby District Children’s Choir and currently directs Andante, the Burnaby Retired Teachers Choir.
A member of the Maple Leaf Singers since 1998, Gail enjoys singing and accompanying our varied repertoire. In 2015, she received the Joyce O. Maguire Award from the BC Choral Federation for outstanding long-term service as a choral accompanist.
Assistant Accompanist – Marilyn Rushton
For Marilyn Rushton, music is like a second language. She began playing piano at the age of five. Throughout her school years, she sang in school choirs and in a girls’ quartet. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from UBC in 1975.
Marilyn sang on radio jingles and worked in piano bars for nearly 15 years before taking on the role of co-director of the Burnaby Children’s Choir from the late 1980s to 2000.
Marilyn received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from UBC in 2000 and joined the Maple Leaf Singers in 2001. She completed a Master’s Degree in Special Education in 2002. She is a vision teacher with the Vancouver School District and regularly incorporates music into her students’ programs. Marilyn also directs a performance choir for blind and partially-sighted singers.