About Us

The Canterbury Trebles Women's Ensemble​


The Canterbury Trebles Women's Ensemble is a welcoming and accepting ensemble, aspiring to bring music for women’s voices to the Ottawa region and beyond. The choir has an eclectic repertoire ranging from Purcell and Verdi to Hatfield and Daley and often partner with local charities to raise funds. The choir has participated in Choral Canada's National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs, and has represented the National Capital Region at the Canadian Music Festival.

The Canterbury Trebles, founded in 2005 by Robert Palmai, was originally created to offer graduates of the Canterbury High School Vocal Program a welcome place to sing. The ensemble has since been opened to the community and now includes women from a variety of experiences. Mr. Palmai proudly conducted the choir for its first ten seasons, after which he handed the baton to his Canterbury High School successor, James Caswell.

James Caswell, Director

James Caswell is the vocal and choral performance teacher at Canterbury High School, a position he has held for 18 years. He is also the Minister of Music at Glebe-St. James United Church. James has a passion for choral music and for exploring a wide range of styles of choral music, with a particular focus on Canadian composers, both new and old.


James has directed the Anglican Chorale of Ottawa, on six performing tours of cathedrals in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. James was the music director of the Canadian Centennial Choir for 15 years, and served as the music director and organist at First Baptist Church, Ottawa for nine years. He has also been a guest conductor and clinician for many ensembles in the Ottawa region.


Having assumed the role of Artistic Director of the Trebles from founder, Robert Palmai, James is thrilled and honoured to continue his work with the Trebles in this, his fifth season as director, and the choir’s 15th anniversary season.

Robert Palmai, Founder

​Robert has spent all his adult life as a music educator, accompanist and coach, conductor and church musician. He is the founding director of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto, the Cantando Singers of Deep River, and the Canterbury Trebles Women’s Ensemble, which he conducted from 2005 to 2015. From 1993 to 2000, he was the musical Director of the Savoy Society of Ottawa. On Christmas Eve of 2018 he ended his service in church music ministry by retiring as organist and music director at Glebe-St. James U.C (GSJ UC). 

After his retirement from teaching at Canterbury High School in 2001, he kept himself active as an accompanist for university auditions and juries, RCM exams and Kiwanis Music competitions. During this time he also served as a volunteer for the local Kiwanis Music Festival. 

In March 2019, he assumed the role of co-chair of property and grounds of GSJ UC. Robert and Susan now enjoy some travelling and are actively involved in the lives of their seven grandchildren. The recent purchase of a trailer hitch and a bike rack will enable the couple to enjoy cycling, wherever they go!