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. 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 Misérables), Nick Bottom (A 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.
Zachary Rioux participated in the Brott Music Festival in July of 2018 performing the role of Tamino in their production of The Magic Flute under the baton of Maestro Boris Brott. He had debuted this role with Toronto City Opera in March of 2018 under the direction of Erik Thor, Jennifer Tung, and Ivan Jovanovic. Mr. Rioux studied at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music with Joel Katz and Jennifer Tung. He spent June of 2017 at SongFest on scholarship, where he worked with Graham Johnson, Bill McGraw, Sanford Sylvan, and many other renowned teachers and coaches from across North America. In 2013, he participated in the Orford Arts Academy at the age of sixteen. His other operatic experience includes productions of Bizet’s Carmen with the Mississauga and York Symphony Orchestras, Handel’s Alcina and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus with the Glenn Gould School, and Mozart’s Lucio Silla and The Marriage of Figaro with Opera Atelier. Last season he performed as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, in their Last Night of the Proms concert, and again as a soloist for the York Symphony Orchestra’s A Night at the Opera concert – all under the baton of Maestro Denis Mastromonaco. In the summer of 2018, Zachary also performed a version of Bach’s Coffee Cantata – revised to the Cappuccino Cantata by Peter Tiefenbach at the Stratford Summer Music Festival and the Indian River Festival. “Praised by Ludwig van Toronto as “A Show-Stopping Tenor” and “…reminiscent of a young Alfredo Kraus.”
Described by the Toronto Star as a “must-hear lyric tenor”, Bud Roach has performed frequently with many of Canada’s finest ensembles. He has consistently produced highly regarded programmes with his ensemble Capella Intima, performing on both the baroque guitar and theorbo. Recent concert highlights include a programme entitled Canzonettas from the House of Vincenti at the Venice Opera Project, Cavalli opera performances in Venice, as well as appearances with the Toronto Consort, Messiah with the Guelph Chamber Choir and Choralis Camerata, Bach’s Magnificat with the Oakville Masterworks Chorale; a series of Fringe recitals at the 2013 Boston Early Music Festival (“revelatory concerts”- Early Music America), programmes of Noel Coward and Cole Porter with the Talisker Players, and a Capella Intima collaboration with the Toronto Continuo Collective to present Marco da Gagliano’s La Dafne. In 2013 Musica Omnia released Bud’s first solo cd- Sospiro, the complete arias from 1626 of Alessandro Grandi. “Roach is marvellous throughout….Five stars” – Early Music Today, UK. His second CD- arias by Sances from 1636- was released in October 2014. www.budroach.com
Michael Sawarna has been singing with Arcady for 10 years. An active singer in Toronto, he began singing with the Elmer Iseler Singers in 2004. He is the second Iseler Singer to originate from Kemptville, Ontario a small town south of Ottawa. Now living in Toronto, he is a Tenor Section Lead for the Amadeus Choir and St. Andrew’s United Church Choir. He is studying voice with Catherine Robbin at York University.
Steve Surian, B.Mus, B.Ed, OCT. After finishing a voice degree at Wilfrid Laurier University (BMus 1996), Steve completed his Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto (OISE). He has been teaching at the secondary level for the past 16 years. He currently teaches courses in music and mathematics, and directs extra-curricular performing band and choral ensembles at Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School. Steve also pursues a variety of professional performing engagements. As a chorister and soloist with the Elora Festival Singers since 2008, he has performed an extensive repertoire of choral music and has recorded a variety of works for the Naxos label, including Grammy and Juno nominated discs. Additionally he has appeared as a soloist and chorister with Spiritus Ensemble, Grand River Chorus, Note Bene Baroque Singers, Grand Philharmonic Chamber Singers, Choral Connection, Guelph Chamber Singers, and Arcady.
Steve Szmutni, Newfoundland native and long time Saskatchewan resident, began his music training in Brandon University’s Music Education program. He continued his studies at Humber College, where he graduated in 1992 with an Honors Diploma in Music. Since settling in Toronto, Steve has performed, taught and recorded consistently around the city and has completed numerous world and cross-country tours. Steve is currently a professional ensemble singer and occasional soloist, working regularly with the Elora Festival Singers, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Mendelssohn Singers and Beth Tzedec Synagogue, as well as performing for various church and cultural ensembles. He has sung with Richard Margison, Measha Bruggergosman, Ben Heppener, and Russel Braun. Memorable engagements include the World Choral Festival in Saltzburg and Vienna, Oratorio Terezin at Carnegie Hall and performances for both Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Alexandra. Notable Naxos recordings include compositions by Arvo Pärt, Eric Whitacre, Julian Wachner and Healy Willan. Steve has been performing with Arcady since 2009.