Castenchel’s history

Chelsea’s Choir since 1980!

Founded in 1980 in the Gatineau hills, Castenchel is a mixed-voice community choir based in Chelsea, QC.  Its focus is on performance, sharing, learning and laughter.

Its name is a composite of the first syllables of the villages of Cascades, Tenaga and Chelsea, which are located along the Gatineau River from Wakefield down to Old Chelsea. 

The choir’s members come from all walks of life, and are of all ages, from 18 to 80. Castenchel also attracts choristers from the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa and beyond.

Castenchel delivers concerts that not only celebrate classic choral works, but also contemporary and modern music from a wide variety of international cultures and backgrounds. It regularly collaborates with talented artists and ensembles from across the National Capital Region.  Frequently showcasing youth at its concerts, it has shared the stage with university groups, high school ensembles and community youth groups.  It also collaborates with community choirs, concert bands, and even rock bands!

The choir’s past directors are Jean-Guy Marinier (1980-1984), Germain Bertrand (1984-2005), Gary Dahl (2005-2011) and Roland Graham (2011-2014).  Since 2014, Castenchel has been under the direction of Lee Carter.

Music Team

Lee Carter

Lee Carter


Music Director of Castenchel Choir since September 2014 and Nepean Choir since 2018, Lee was also the Artistic Director for the European Union’s Christmas Concert held annually at Notre-Dame Basilica in Ottawa from 2015 to 2019.  He has conducted workshops for CAMMAC Ottawa-Gatineau and choirs in the National Capital Region and works as a full-time teacher at Nepean High School, conducting the choirs and teaching instrumental music. Additionally, Lee is Music Director of Choratour, an organization that brings diverse singers together and arranges tours to the world’s top music venues, while exploring different countries. Lee holds Bachelor’s Degrees of Music and Education from the University of Ottawa where he studied the tuba with Nick Atkinson and voice with Sandra Graham.

Deborah Thomson

Deborah Thomson


Deborah Thomson is Wakefield’s musical Jill (not Jack) of all trades. A classically trained pianist (RCM, Toronto), she performs everything from Bach to boogie, Celtic, blues, Sondheim and the old standards. She started accompanying choirs at age 9 (she’s a little older now). A composer for professional theatre (NAC, GCTC), a studio musician, a choral director (in schools), and a musical educator (B.Ed.). She also rocks her trombone in the local funk band, Waked Up!

Castenchel Board of Directors 2023-2024

President ~ Sue Johnson

Treasurer ~ Bob Gibson

Secretary ~ Jennifer Currie