Staff

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Ronald Beckett, Director & Resident Composer
Matthew Campbell, Technical Assistant
Michaela Chiste, Coordinator of Fundraising
Katerina Gimon, Associate Composer
Elise Naccarato, Assistant Conductor
Vanessa Oude-Reimerink, Professional Mentor in Residence
Paula Thomas, Event Coordinating Assistant
Katie Walshaw, Assistant Director, Youth
Emma Verdonk, Assistant to the Director


Michaela Chiste, General Assistant
Michaela Chiste is a young soprano hailing from Okotoks, Alberta. Originally trained as a stage actor, she spent most of her life studying the dramatic arts and musical theatre before crossing over to the world of classical singing. She completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Alberta in 2017, under the tutelage of John Tessier. She has performed as a concert soloist and recitalist both internationally and across Canada, and has premiered several pieces, including The Dream, a cantata for soprano and pianoforte (Muskins, 2016), La jugement (Langan, 2019), and Songs of Fracture (Beckett, 2019), which was set to her own poetry. Michaela received praise for her 2019 portrayal of Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème with Mercury Opera. Opera Canada described her performance as “a fine balance of fragility and hopefulness”. Her other roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Principal (.Gabriel), Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore), Frasquita (Carmen), Emmie (Albert Herring), Mimi (City Workers in Love), The Dormouse (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), Jennie Hildebrand (Street Scene), Gustave (Pomme d’Api ), and The Boy (Der Jasager). Michaela is an alumna of Arcady’s Emerging Artist Program and former roster singer for Cowtown Opera. michaelachiste.com

 

Katerina GimonKaterina Gimon, Associate Composer
Katerina Gimon is an award-winning Canadian composer, improviser, and vocalist based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Burlington, Ontario. Her catalogue includes works for voice, choir, electronics, solo instruments, and chamber ensemble, as well as music for opera, theatre, and video games. Recently named as one of Canada’s ‘hot 30 classical musicians under 30’ by CBC, Katerina’s music has been presented across Canada, the United States (most notably at Carnegie Hall), and Europe by ensembles including the Vancouver Youth Choir, Musica Intima, Redshift Music Society, Erato Ensemble, Vancouver Opera, re:Naissance Opera, and Dulciana Choir. Katerina holds a Master of Music in Composition from the University of British Columbia (’17) and an Honours Bachelor of Music degree in Composition and Improvisation from Wilfrid Laurier University (’15). www.katerinagimon.com

Elise Naccarato

Elise Naccarato, Assistant Conductor
Elise is an emerging conductor and singer originally from Vancouver, BC. She began her musical journey with the Hamilton Children’s Choir under the leadership of Zimfira Poloz. She completed her Honours Bachelor in Music at McMaster University, all the while participating in the McMaster University Choirs, Ontario Youth Choir, and National Youth Choir. As a soloist, Elise has performed with the Halton-Mississauga Youth Orchestra, Orpheus Male Choir, and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. With a passion for choral music, Elise completed her Masters in Music (Choral Conducting) at the University of Toronto. She has had the privilege of working with the U of T Women’s Chamber Choir, Apprentice Conductor for Arcady, and in the summer of 2016 was one of two conducting apprentices chosen for the 2016 Ontario Youth Choir under the highly regarded Robert Cooper, CM. In September 2017, Elise formed Burlington’s first women’s choir, Myriad. Elise also works as the Events Manager for Symphony on the Bay and Administrative Director for Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir. As an emerging conductor, this season Elise is humbled to continue to learn from Robert Cooper as the Apprentice Conductor for Orpheus Choir of Toronto and Chorus Niagara. In May 2018, Elise looks forward to working with Michael Zaugg in Edmonton as an Emerging Conductor with Pro Coro. To find out what Elise is currently up to, visit: www.elisenaccarato.com

Vanessa Oude-Reimerink,
Professional Mentor in Residence
Born in Ontario, Vanessa Oude-Reimerink is a young soprano who is quickly gaining recognition for her performances in opera, music theatre and contemporary collaborations. Vanessa was a member of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program last season where she made her mainstage debut as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro. This summer, Vanessa makes her debut with the Toronto Summer Music Festival as Cathy in The Last Five Years and returns to Calgary reprise the role of Iset in Dean Burry’s The Scorpions’ Sting. Debuts for the upcoming season include the title role in Viardot’s Cendrillon with FestivalOpéra St. Eustache and Frasquita in Carmen with Edmonton Opera. Other roles include Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Pamina and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Clara in The Light in the Piazza, Rapunzel in Into the Woods, Aurore in Le Portrait de Manon and the Canadian première of Volpone by John Musto. Vanessa holds a Master’s Degree from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, where she studied with Professor Sanford Sylvan. She has received additional training from Centre d’Arts Orford, COSI, Opera NUOVA, Opera on the Avalon, the St. Andrews Opera Workshop, and Western University. Vanessa is a recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera Western Canada District and the University of Western Ontario Gold Medal.

Paula ThomasPaula Thomas, Events Coordinator
Paula Thomas (soprano) began studying voice in her home town of St. Thomas, Ontario. She holds two degrees from McMaster University (B.Mus., Honours) and Western University (M.Mus., Voice Performance). She has studied with Richard Cunningham, Lesley Andrew and Torin Chiles. Paula has a growing voice studio in St. Thomas, and directs a combined studio choir with her teaching partner Jody McDonald-Groulx. She is an occasional music leader and soloist at First United Church in St. Thomas and Central Presbyterian Church in Brantford, and regular chorister and soloist at Metropolitan United Church in London. She has performed as a chorister and soloist with various choirs in Ontario, including The Grand River Chorus (Brantford),  Choral Connection (St. Thomas), Chor Amica (London), and Arcady. She was honoured to be selected for Arcady’s Young Artist program in 2012, and now thrilled to be part of the Arcady staff!

Emma Verdonk, Assistant to the Director. Emma Verdonk grew up in Brantford, ON, surrounded by a musical family. At an early age, her mother taught her to play piano and once she had an understanding of the language of music, she began voice and violin lessons. In 2020, Emma completed her Bachelors of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University and has just begun the Masters in Music Composition program at Western University. In the past, she has had the opportunity to write for the Laurier Symphony Orchestra, the Penderecki String Quartet, and various small ensembles. From September 2019-February 2020 she facilitated an opera writing workshop hosted through Vera Causa Opera.

 

 

Katie Walshaw, Assistant Director
Dr. Katie Walshaw received her PhD in Music Theory from Western University in 2018. She also holds an Honours Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University specializing in music theory and voice and a Master’s Degree in Music Theory from the University of Western Ontario. Katie began singing at the age of five and was an active member of the Brant County Youth Singers (Brantford Children’s Chorus) for more than six years. As a singer, Katie is the soprano section lead at St. Andrew’s United Church in Brantford. She has been an active performer and soloist with Arcady since 1999, frequently appearing as a soloist.. She lives in Brantford with her husband where they share a thriving voice, piano and theory studio. Katie and Ron Beckett teach the Arcady Training Chorus on Wednesday evenings at St. Andrew’s Church.