Neal Banerjee is a native of London, Ontario where he completed a music degree from the University of Western Ontario, and also studied with Darryl Edwards, Brian McIntosh, Lynn Blazer and Joel Katz. From 1995-2001, Neal lived in Vienna, Austria, singing masses, operas, and operettas which have taken him to venues through Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Luxembourg, and the Ukraine. In 2001 was engaged at the Bielefeld Theatre and has sung various operatic roles: Rossillon (The Merry Widow), Ferrando in (Così fan tutte), Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Doktor Blind (Die Fledermaus), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Goro (Madame Butterfly). Outside Bielfeld he has performed Eurimaco in (Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria) in Linz, Fenton (Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor) in Mainz, Lyonel (Martha) in Detmold, and reprised Goro (Madame Butterfly) in Hannover. He also made his musical theatre debut singing the lead role Tony in West Side Story. After many performances as a soloist and chorister with Arcady, Neal sang the role of Tamino in the ensemble’s production of The Magic Flute, and enjoys performances with Arcady when he is in Canada.
Robert Cairns is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario where he was president of The Faculty of Music Singers and a voice student of Mary Ellen Gustafson. He is also a graduate of Ryerson’s diploma programme in Technical Theatre and later served as Recording Technician at Western. He has gained experience as conductor, composer and arranger. Mr. Cairns teaches with the Pearson School of the Arts in London, Ontario and has performed as chorister and soloist with Arcady, Strathroy Chorale, Gerald Fagan Singers, London Pro Musica and Con Voci Festive. Mr. Cairns, like many other members of Arcady, is also an experienced composer and arranger.
Christopher Edwards After finishing studies in music at the University of Toronto in 1972, Christopher Edwards went on to study voice at the Royal Conservatory of Music with Megan Rutledge and then Helen Simmie, later coaching with soprano Lois MacDonnell. Mr. Edwards’ first professional engagement, as tenor soloist at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, lasted for 17 years until his relocation to the USA in 1994. Several appearances with the Canadian Opera Company chorus in 1983 led to his oratorio debut in 1984 singing the role of Obidiah in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, followed by Bach’s Mass in B minor and Handel’s Messiah the following year. Subsequent appearances on the concert stage in Toronto include Bach’s Magnificat, numerous cantatas and the St. John and St. Matthew Passions (solos and Evangelists), Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 (Lobgesang), and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius.
Christopher Fischer, has earned a reputation as a flexible and intelligent interpreter of a great variety of roles, in opera, oratorio and recital. He has appeared as a soloist in Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah, more than eighty times, with choirs and orchestras throughout Ontario, including the Guelph Chamber Choir, the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Arcady, the Grand River Chorus and the National Academy Orchestra of Hamilton. Recent critical and audience successes include: Monteverdi’s virtuosic Vespro della Beata Vergine (the “Vespers of 1610”) with the Guelph Chamber Choir and with Brantford’s Grand River Chorus; the role of Don Basilio in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra; Bach’s Cantata #62, Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, with the Spiritus Bach Ensemble of Kitchener-Waterloo; Stainer’s The Crucifixion, with Michael Bloss and the Chancel Choir of Guelph’s Dublin Street United Church; the role of the Swan in Orff’s Carmina Burana, with both Orchestra London and Masterworks of Oakville; and Mozart’s Requiem, with Arcady and the Brantford Symphony Orchestra. This season, Chris has been engaged to perform Cunningham’s Requiem and Carissimi’s Jephte with the Grand River Chorus; Beethoven’s Symphony #9 with the Brantford Symphony Orchestra; and Messiah with Masterworks of Oakville, the Milton Choristers and the Guelph Chamber Choir. Chris holds degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University (voice) and Arizona State University (choral conducting), as well as diplomas from Conservatory Canada and the Royal Canadian College of Organists. He has worked professionally as a conductor, accompanist and church musician, has served as a section leader in the Guelph Chamber Choir for 10 seasons, and has sung with Arcady since 1992. Chris lives in Guelph, Ontario, where he teaches privately and is the Director of Music Ministries at Knox Presbyterian Church.
Lanny Fleming was born and raised in the Royal City, and remains a busy musician in and around Guelph. He has been singing as a section lead with the Guelph Chamber Choir since 2003. In 2004, he began working as a section lead and Assistant Conductor with the University of Guelph Choirs and their director, Marta McCarthy. Lanny also appears as a chorister and occasional soloist with the Oakville Chamber Ensemble, under the baton of Stephane Potvin, and the ensemble Arcady, with their founder and director, Ronald Beckett. Lanny is a long-time member of the Parish Choir of St. John’s Church, Elora, directed by Noel Edison. He has appeared as a guest chorister with numerous groups, including the Elora Festival Singers, the A Cappella Chamber Choir (Port Elgin), the Renaissance Singers (Kitchener/Cambridge), and the Bach-Elgar Choir (Hamilton). Lanny earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1998, followed by a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario in 1999. He currently teaches Grade 7 & 8 at Erin Public School. Lanny’s wife Heather is the Festival Coordinator for the Guelph Kiwanis Music Festival. They maintain a busy performing schedule while raising two wonderful children, Laura and Bennett.
John Janisse of Hamilton is the former Music Director of St. Pius Church, Brantford. He is a freelance tenor soloist who has also performed with Opera Hamilton. Mr. Janisse has received critical acclaim for his numerous stage roles with Arcady, notably the demanding roles of The Narrator in Beckett’s Ruth and the Male Chorus in John. In 1999, he appeared as a tenor soloist on the CD A Baroque Messiah and sang the part of the Narrator in the premiere of Beckett’s Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking.
Shawn Oakes is a native of Vittoria, Ontario. . He has a plethora of classical solo, choral, theatre and directorial credits to his name. Selected performance credits include Papegeno (The Magic Flute), Indian Boy (Indian Queen), Fredrick (The Pirates of Penzance), Freddy (My Fair Lady), Joseph (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Bishop/Fueilly ( Les Miserable), Nick Bottom (Midsummer’s Night Dream). Directorial credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat, Oliver, Trial By Jury, The Sorcerer and Pinocchio. Internationally, he has performed the role of Sonny (Greased Lightning) in Des Moines, Iowa as well as being a member of the Festival Ensemble and Orchestra of the in the European MusikFestival under the direction of Helmuth Rilling in Stuttgart, Germany. Highlights of this tour were performing at the Berlin Philharmonic, the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival as well as an open-air concert at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. In the summer of 2006, Shawn toured in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with the Robert Levin’s newly completed version of Mozart’s C Minor Mass and Requeim. He was also chosen to go to Montego Bay, Jamaica as a soloist for Canada in the bid for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Shawn has been a regular soloist with Arcady since 1998. His love of music lies in the early music repertoire. He is currently teaching instrumental and vocal music at Brantford Collegiate Institute in Brantford.
Joel VanderZee is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he completed a Master’s degree in Organ Performance under the tutelage of Karl Schrock. In 2008, Joel was awarded the AAGO Prize by the American Guild of Organists for achieving the highest score in the nation on the Guild’s Associateship examination. Most recently, Joel has been Director of Music and Arts Ministry at St. Andrew’s United Church, Chatham, Ontario. Joel also served as Director of Music Ministries at Second Congregational United Church of Christ and as Organ Scholar at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, both in Grand Rapids.
Joel is currently an organ technician and aspiring organ builder. In addition, he sings in the Elora Festival Singers and the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir, London, Ontario, where he plays weekly as well. He is a frequently commissioned composer, with compositions published by GIA and Adoro and performed under the batons of Joe Miller, Pearl Shangkuan and Donald Nally.
Paul Ziadé, Tenor, leads a busy life as an ensemble singer. Paul can be heard regularly as a chorister or soloist with The Elora Festival Singers and the Parish Choir of St. John’s Elora, both directed by Noel Edison, as well as with Arcady, and The Larkin Singers. As a freelance singer, he has appeared with numerous ensembles including Tafelmusik, The Tallis Choir, The Victoria Scholars, The Grand River Chorus, St. James Cathedral, and countless other churches and congregations in Southern Ontario. He has had the privilege to work with conductors such as Noel Edison, Ivars Taurins, Matthew Larkin, Jerzy Cichocki, Bruno Weil, and Imant Raminsh. Paul was educated at the University of Waterloo and studies voice with Victor Martens.