artistic Team

David Vamos
Artistic and Vocal Director

David Vamos has been a member of the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble since 2002, first beginning as a singer before moving on to various directorships on the artistic team since 2007, including music director and most recently vocal and artistic director. He holds a degree in Voice Performance from the University of Manitoba, as well as a degree in Education from OISE/UT. After three years of singing with the Lachan Jewish Chamber Choir and the Aradia Ensemble in Toronto, David returned to Winnipeg in 2012 to accept the position of Music and Theatre Arts teacher at the Gray Academy of Jewish Education, where he loves sharing his passion for music and Jewish culture with a new generation.

rachel cooper
Dance Director

Rachel Cooper is an independent dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She is a graduate of the Senior Professional Program of the School of Contemporary Dancers, and holds a B.A. Honours in Theatre and Drama/Dance and a Bachelor of Education both from the University of Winnipeg, and was awarded the University's gold medal for her studies. Rachel began her professional career in Toronto performing with Tilt Sound and Motion. She has a strong foundation in many dance disciplines - modern, ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop and has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of choreographers in various styles of dance. Rachel is on staff at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Shelley Shearer School of Dance, The School of Contemporary Dancers, and is the director of the Maples Collegiate Dance Department. Her choreography has appeared and been awarded on both local and international stages. Rachel continues to attend professional development workshops to further her growth and progress as a dancer and dance educator.

Jesse Popeski
Music Director

Jesse Popeski is a Winnipeg guitar player and a recent graduate of the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Music. A regular face on the Manitoba music scene, Jesse can be seen playing with groups such as Beatox & Sir Luc and the Dukes. He has been one of Grace Hrabi's main collaborators since 2013. Jesse joined the Chai orchestra in June 2015.

John Loewen
Director of Production

John comes to Chai from a 30 year history of touring and local support in a variety of different aspects of the entertainment industry. North American tours with Trans Siberian Orchestra, Billy Idol, and the Moscow Ballet as Transportation and Logistics Lead Hand, Royal Winnipeg Ballet as Foy captain/rigger. Local movie and video productions as 1st and 2nd audio boom operator and as an independent audio technician for many of the recognizable (and not so recognizable) live events in and around the Winnipeg area. John also holds a position at Sound Art AVI here in Winnipeg as the Design and Integration Division manager designing and implementing large scale audio and visual systems.