Emerging Artist Showcase

Emerging Artist Showcase

Featuring the players and singers of Arcady

A celebration of the 2024 Arcady RBC Emerging Artists, with unique new works written for them by Ronald Beckett and other Arcady composers. This concert takes place in the beautiful Whistling Gardens amphitheatre.

August 10, 2024 - 4:00 pm

Whistling Gardens

698 Concession 3 Townsend, Wilsonville ON


Ronald Beckett

Artistic director & conductor

Ronald Beckett has had numerous compositions performed by ensembles throughout Ontario. He has written three operas that constitute a trilogy: RuthJohn, and I Am…. that have been given fully staged performances by Arcady and Queens Student Opera. Ruth, due largely to its length (72 minutes) and facility of staging, has received some twenty performances since its premiere in 1996. Ron’s catalogue of compositions includes a number of additional large-scale works for orchestra or orchestra and chorus and an abundance of chamber music and pieces for piano and organ. Since 2008, he has written a great number of songs and music for youth, specifically for the Arcady Youth Singers.

Ron is the founding director of Arcady, an organization established in order to encourage outstanding young musicians by providing them a bridge between their student and professional performing careers. Most of Arcady’s work is in two areas: period performances of early music repertoire and the works of Ronald Beckett. The ensemble offers 20 to 30 programs ranging from small ensemble to full choral-orchestral performances in Ontario each year. Arcady has released three CD recordings on the Crescendo label: A Baroque Messiah (1999), Welcome Yule! (2001), and Ruth (2007). Welcome Yule! is a collection of original Christmas compositions and Beckett arrangements. Ron also arranged and conducted Ruby Productions’ CD entitled Peace on Earth (2000). In 2002, Phoenix Records released the CD A Beckett Miscellany – a sampling of Ron’s instrumental music performed by The Essex Winds and Arcady.

A Summa Cum Laude graduate from McMaster University in History and Theory, Ronald Beckett is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (Piano Performance), and also holds a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Western Ontario. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to music and community, he was inducted into the McMaster Alumni Gallery in 2004.

Ron is a member of SOCAN, the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre. His works are frequently heard on classical radio in North America and Europe.

Visit Ron’s website for more information: www.ronaldbeckettmusic.com

Katherine Barr


Katherine, born in Hamilton, Ontario, discovered her passion for singing at the  age of nine, initiating her musical journey with the esteemed Hamilton Children’s Choir. An alumna of Western University, she upholds her commitment to the performing arts by actively engaging with Toronto’s OIC and TOT companies. As a talented and dedicated mezzo-soprano, Katherine made her professional debut in 2019, embodying the character Glascha in Opera in Concert’s rendition of Kát’a Kabanová.

In 2022, Katherine embarked on a journey of professional artistic exploration, roles including Fanny Nightingale in The Lady with the Lamp and Sister Berthe in The Sound of Music. However, her most notable achievement was her portrayal of both the Witch and the Mother in Hansel and Gretel with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre.

Recently, Katherine had the privilege of participating in OperaFest, collaborating for the second time with international singers. Her performance included the roles of Romeo, the hopeless romantic from i capuleti e i Montecchi, and Tisbe, one of the malevolent stepsisters in La Cenerentola.

This summer, Katherine has been selected to partake in an opera intensive program in France: La Roche D’hys, further enhancing her artistic repertoire.

Anticipating the upcoming season, Katherine is looking forward to singing with Arcady!

Douglas Graham


Hailing from Edmonton, baritone Douglas Graham (he/him) is no stranger to the stage. From school plays to the Winspear Centre, Douglas has performed everything from Andrew Lloyd Webber to Verdi. From his first performance with the Edmonton Opera chorus in Il barbiere di Siviglia, to performing Verdi in Italy, singing has taken Douglas anywhere and everywhere.

Receiving his BMus from the King’s University in 2016 and his MMus from the University of Western Ontario in 2019, Douglas has gone from a chorister to principal with roles such as Figaro, Escamillo, Count Almaviva, the Pirate King, Belcore, Pandolfe, and Germont performed across the world through various programs and companies such as Opera NUOVA, COSA Canada, Chicago Summer Opera, Vienna Summer Music Festival, Mediterranean Opera Studio & Festival, and Grande Prairie Opera. Douglas is also quite busy outside of opera, performing with orchestras such as the River City Chamber Orchestra, and in choirs such as Kappella Kyrie and Pro Coro Canada.

Through his career, Douglas has had the pleasure to learn from amazing artists including Ted Baerg, Boris Brott, Rob Herriot, Keith Chambers, Brian Deedrick, Michael Zaugg, Nelly Miricioiu, Gary Coward, and Leonardo Catalanotto.

Recent highlights include the world premiere of the choral work Ukraine War Requiem by Benedict Sheehan, Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with orchestra, and his opera debut as The Page in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with Edmonton Opera.

When Douglas isn’t working on music, he is likely editing episodes of his podcast Inconceivable! Media or exploring the outdoors.

Marcel van Helden


Hailing from the small town of Acton, Ontario, Marcel van Helden holds a Master’s degree in music from Western University and a Bachelor’s degree in physics. He has sung with numerous choirs in southern Ontario including the Georgetown Bach Chorale, Musikay, Kammerchor London, and the Brott Festival Choir. Some of his notable solo roles have been in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Choral Fantasy with the Rose Orchestra of Brampton. In addition to choral and oratorio work Marcel has played a number of roles on the opera stage including Peter Quint (from Turn of the Screw), Monostatos (from The Magic Flute), and Don Ottavio (from Don Giovanni).

Ekaterina Shelehova


Ekaterina Shelehova is a singer, performer and composer who started her career at an incredibly young age—4 years old! During that time she had already recorded two radio commercials and a children’s song album. Growing up in Canada, she frequently performed in operas and musical theater productions, which she continues doing to this day. In 2013, she released her debut album MOONLIGHT- Katya, which can be found on all streaming platforms online. A Masters Graduate from Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi, in Milano, Italy, she has performed all over the world with lyrical repertoire as well as her own compositions. China, Mexico, Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria are just some examples of places where Ekaterina has sung. She has made many appearances on TV,  on a mainstream show in Beijing, singing a Chinese folk song, performed as a guest on the show Nessun Dorma, in Italy, where she shared the stage with Ted Neely (original Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar), and sang on the show I Soliti Ignoti, also a very popular show in Italy. This lead to her viral performance on Italy’s Got talent, where she presented her own unique composition, which has picked up more than 500million views online and counting. She also participated in Bulgaria’s Got Talent, where she performed her original tracks, which exploded online as well. These performances brought her to many new experiences, such as composing of the soundtrack for The Tempest-an Italian movie based on Shakespeare’s play, and becoming the lead vocalist for a world-renowned music group ERA, which she toured across Europe with in 2022, with another tour programmed for 2024.  Since then she has released an EP, and is currently working on a new album. Besides singing, Ekaterina can speak fluently in 4 languages (English, Italian, Spanish, and Russian), is a former gymnast (8 years) and is an avid fitness enthusiast. She loves studying psychology and adores animals.

Benjamin Gabbay


Benjamin Gabbay is a composer and classical pianist. He holds a Master’s of Music in Composition degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, having studied under Profs. Gary Kulesha, Alexander Rapoport, and Roger Bergs. He also holds an ARCT diploma in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He is currently an Associate Composer with Arcady.

Benjamin’s compositions have received recognition by Toronto’s St. James Cathedral (for i thank you God for most this amazing day, one of two winners of the cathedral’s 2018-2019 composition competition), the Amadeus Choir International Seasonal Song-Writing Competition (honourable mention, 2015, for Ave Maria) and the Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Competition (honourable mention, 2017, for Lux Aeterna). In 2018, he was commissioned to write a highlight premiere for the Mississauga Summer Chorale’s end-of-season concert (Requiem l’homme armé). His works have been described by conductors and composers as filling a demand in the Canadian choral scene for compositionally and technically adventurous choral music that still follows in a tradition with mainstream appeal. Through U of T, he has been the recipient of the Faculty of Music Graduating Award (2023), the Lothar Klein Memorial Fellowship (2020), the Gwendolen M Grant Music Scholarship (2019), the Robert and John Elliot McBroom Scholarship (2017, 2018, 2019), the Lobodowsky Choral Scholarship (2018), and the Susan Cale Award (2017).

For more information about Benjamin and his work, visit his website at www.benjamingabbay.com

Emma Verdonk


Emma Verdonk is a composer and vocalist from Brantford, ON. She holds her Bachelor of Music in Community Music (’20) from Wilfrid Laurier University and her Masters in Music Composition from Western University (’22). She has written music for the Laurier Symphony Orchestra, the Penderecki String Quartet, Arcady Ensemble, and various chamber ensembles. Her catalogue includes over 200 children’s songs that she has arranged and composed for the Musical Safari program at Queen Street Music School in Cambridge. From September 2019-February 2020 she facilitated an opera writing workshop hosted through Vera Causa Opera. In 2021, she had the honour of being an Emerging Artist with Arcady and currently works on staff with Arcady as the assistant to the director. As Emma Theresa, she released her first album, a collection of piano solos, entitled Reflections on Spotify and YouTube and is currently creating her second album for piano, vocals, and electronics entitled This Is Me. www.emmatheresamusic.com

Bridging the Eras is generously supported by

RBC Emerging Artists
Brant Community Foundation
SOCAN Foundation / Fondation SOCAN
Brant Community Foundation


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General admission
Includes same-day admission to Whistling Gardens botanical gardens
Under 18 admission
Includes same-day pass to Whistling Gardens botanical gardens