Our Music Department Staff

Mr. Mark Caswell

Dept. Head, Grade 11 & 12 Instrumental
Mark Caswell has been teaching at MDHS since 1990 and is excited to be taking on new responsibilities as the head of music. He pursued his undergraduate music studies at Wilfred Laurier University and York University. He earned his Music Specialist at the University of Toronto and has continued with his studies in Wind Band teaching at the University of Minnesota and the University of Toronto. Mr. Caswell is both a founding member and the current President of the Ontario Band Association. For the past six years, he has been the festival coordinator for the OBA Concert Band Festival – an annual festival hosting more than 10,000 students a year. Mr. Caswell is an active adjudicator, clinician and has been a guest conductor at several schools, community bands and music retreats. He is a strong advocate of student leadership and has been a teacher facilitator at the Ontario Education Leadership Centre for over six years and has presented workshops at the annual OMEA conference on student leadership. Mr. Caswell has also published several articles in music journals.

Mrs. Dawn Caswell

Dept. Head, Grade 11 & 12 Instrumental
Dawn Caswell has been teaching vocal music at MDHS since receiving her Bachelor of Music and Education degrees from Queen’s University in 1991. Mrs. Caswell has developed a strong vocal program within the high school, conducting chamber, concert, vocal jazz choirs and our combination choir Third Stream. She has also produced and directed a number of musical theatre productions at MDHS. As an active member with the Ontario Vocal Festival since 1995, she has served as the executive director for 3 years. Along with teaching, Mrs. Caswell has also involved herself in an abundance of performing opportunities. She currently performs with a number of small jazz combos around the city and has recorded her own independent jazz CD “Dream Come True” with many of Toronto’s finest jazz players.

Mr. Chasen Simmons

Dept. Head, Grade 11 & 12 Instrumental
Chasen Simmons is a multi-instrumentalist reed player who majored on Alto Saxophone while completing his B. Mus. from Western University. Following his studies at Western, he completed his B. Ed. At Nipissing University. Mr. Simmons plays with big bands around the GTA, and loves to perform in musical pit orchestras. Over the last few years, he’s had a lot of fun playing saxophone, clarinet, and flute in the pit orchestras for The Full Monty, Anything Goes, The Music Man, and Chess. In addition to saxophone, has has a strong passion for baroque recorder music. He primarily plays Alto Recorder, but he does play everything from the Bass up to the Garklein Sopranino. He’s had many amazing opportunities to perform recorder music, including the tribute to Nicholas Goldschmidt at Roy Thompson Hall, on Classical 103.1fm, at Heliconian Hall in Yorkville, and at various concert halls and museums. When he’s not teaching or performing, he’s enjoying life with his beautiful wife and baby daughter.