THE WILLOWS TRIO
The Willows are making a name for themselves as a dynamic close harmony vocal trio,. With Krista Deady as contralto, Andrea Gregorio as soprano and Lauren Pedersen as mezzo-soprano, the refreshing harmonies of these sophisticated songstresses will transport you back to the classiest of eras in music—today.
Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, the tri-hair colored trio met as young dance students. Together, they not only nurtured an appreciation for the performing arts, but became the closest of companions. Their passion for the performing arts eventually brought them across the country to Ryerson University in Toronto to complete their Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) degrees in dance. Little did they know, they’d soon discover that their talents would extend beyond dancing.
A music class encouraged the trio to sing in front of their Ryerson classmates. Inspired by the Jersey Boys musical, they chose to sing a tune from the show, expertly choreographed with some dance moves of course! The girls had no idea harmonizing was a skill until the positive feedback from their peers gave them the push they needed to break out into Toronto’s music scene as a bona fide trio act called The Willows. Soon The Willows were dazzling crowds with their unique set list, incorporating synchronized dance steps to add an element of theatricality that reminds audiences of years gone by, with a modern touch. From those first few open mic opportunities to headlining their own shows at venues across the country like the Virgin Mobile Mod Club, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Danforth Music Hall, Lilac Festival and Blue Chair Café, The Willows have combined their dance and classical music training to become Canada’s newest entertainment delight.
Krista (The Redhead Contralto)
With her curly red locks, it’s no surprise that Krista Deady was drawn to Riverdance, the internationally acclaimed Irish dance production she would watch countless times on VHS. By age 6, she was jigging in both Irish and Scottish dance while taking classical ballet classes at Edmonton Dance Centre. Krista decided to focus on ballet and complimentary dance genres instead such as jazz, character and modern. Krista danced multiple times in prestigious summer programs with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, National Ballet and the Banff Centre. While attending the University of Alberta, Krista discovered hip-hop dance and soon after, she decided to join dance classmate Andrea Gregorio in Toronto and enroll in the renowned Ryerson University dance program. For two years of her undergraduate degree, she competed in the Ontario Universities Competition for Hip-Hop and in 2009, she was the dance captain for Ryerson’s Urban Hip-Hop Union. In 2013, Krista graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree in dance and continued to explore hip-hop and other opportunities in the arts through classes, workshops and performances. Krista had the privilege of performing in HOW TO SUCCEED: A Musical Tribute to Des McAnuff, the Royal Conservatory of Music opera The Cunning Little Vixen and off-stage as a background dancer on the Canadian television show Reign.
Alongside performing with The Willows trio, Krista focuses on dance education for youth through the Ryerson Theatre School Summer Program and is the co-owner and co-artistic director of dancED Movement Project with Andrea Gregorio.
Lauren (The Blonde Mezzo-Soprano)
From the earliest Lauren Pedersen can remember, music was her true passion. At an early age, she was playing violin at the Suzuki music school and went on to complete her grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music with honours in piano. Lauren developed a strong musical background, expanding her artistic repertoire to the cello, bass guitar, drums and harmonica, while training in various forms of dance at the same time.
Lauren’s dance education began at the Marr Mac School of Dance with ballet, tap and jazz classes. She then discovered the heart-pounding rhythms of Irish dance and trained at the Mattierin School, competing at the championship level around the globe. In high school, Lauren had to make the choice between Irish dance and ballet, choosing to focus on ballet at the Edmonton Dance Centre. While attending the University of Alberta, Lauren joined the hip-hop dance team and later became the head coach, choreographing routines for school sporting events and leading a hip hop team that performed at collegiate baseball games.
Lauren decided to further her arts education, joining Andrea Gregorio and Krista Deady in Toronto for Ryerson University’s renowned dance program. In 2013, Lauren completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree in dance with honours and continued to explore performance and training opportunities in Toronto and abroad.
Lauren returned to her love of music, writing songs and accompanying in a few bands in Toronto before forming The Willows with Andrea Gregorio and Krista Deady, where she now focuses her time on musical arrangement and composing new material for the trio.
Andrea (The Brunette Soprano)
Born into a musical family, Andrea Gregorio was already playing two instruments and taking ballet classes before she had started elementary school. Her classical ballet training at Edmonton Dance Centre gave her the opportunity to discover other dance genres such as jazz, character and modern. Andrea attended the prestigious Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Banff Centre summer programs numerous times, receiving world-class instruction that inspired her to turn her passion for the arts into a career. She moved from Edmonton to Toronto to further her arts education, enrolling in the renowned Ryerson University dance program. In 2012, Andrea earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree in dance and continued training in professional workshops with Kenny Pearl in Toronto, Springboard Danse in Montreal and ImPulsTanz in Vienna. Andrea had the privilege of performing Lars Scheibner’s Sealed Angel with ProArteDanza, Gadfly’s Stygmata, HOW TO SUCCEED: A Musical Tribute to Des McAnuffand the remount project of David Earle’s masterpiece Sacra Conversazione.
Alongside her performance engagements with The Willows trio, Andrea focuses on dance education for youth through the Ryerson Theatre School Summer Program and as the co-owner and co-artistic director of dancED Movement Project with Krista Deady.
Check out the action-packed, feel-good, toe-tappin music video for The Willows hit song “Breakfast in Bed.” If you haven’t seen these ladies dance before…now’s your chance…
The Willows debut album ‘Tea For Three’, showcases a fresh take on the group’s signature, nostalgic style. These dynamic ladies combine intricate 3-part harmonies with jazzy, pop-infused instrumentation to get you up on your feet. The album features a who’s who of the Canadian jazz music scene, including Ben Riley on drums, George Koller on bass, Adrean Farrugia on piano, William Sperandei on trumpet, Al McKay on trombone, Tom Szczesniak on accordion, Mike Freedman on guitar and John MacMurchy on clarinet. Drums by Max Senitt, bass by Chris Adriaanse and trumpet by Tim hamel on ‘Breakfast and Bed’, as well as Max and Chris on ‘What Are You Waiting For?’
The Willows’ first album, This Is Christmas, features classic favourites alongside their original tunes “Candy Cane Lane” and “This Is Christmas.” The ladies maintain their signature tight harmonies while adding a touch of brilliant instrumentation.
In 2015, the 3 gals met George Koller, nationally acclaimed bassist and multi-instrumentalist, and they embarked on a journey to create a timeless Christmas album. Enjoy the ride!