25th Anniversary Celebration

25th Anniversary Celebration

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  • Northern Sunrise Mari Alice Conrad
  • Mixolydian Ronald Beckett
  • Chanson Courante* Benjamin Gabbay Texts by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) and Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859)
  • Asleep Greg Walshaw Text by John Keats (1795 – 1821)
  • Invitation to Love* Emma Verdonk Text by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906)
  • Two Irish Songs* Shawn Oakes Text: Traditional
  • Coquina Suite Ronald Beckett
  • The language of the stars Katerina Gimon Text by Martha Lavinia Hoffman (1865 – 1900)
  • Tu Creasti, Domini John Van Maanen Text by Hillaire Belloc (1870 – 1953)
  • Havoc Ronald Beckett
  • Spring Ronald Beckett Text by William Blake (1757 – 1827)
  • I keep six honest serving men Ronald Beckett Text by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)
  • O come, let us sing* Ronald Beckett Text: Psalm 95 (KJV)

* Denotes premiere


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: Ruth, John, 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

David Rehner


Etobicoke-born violinist David Rehner discovered his love for the instrument at age four while watching Itzhak Perlman perform on Sesame Street. Lessons with EPO violist Shari Lundy began soon thereafter, followed by enthusiastic membership in community groups such as the Mississauga Youth Orchestra, Bach Youth Ensemble and Classical Youth Orchestra.

Now an experienced orchestra leader, David is regularly engaged as concertmaster with The Rose Orchestra Brampton and the Etobicoke Philharmonic, and appears often as a soloist. For many years he served as concertmaster with the Oakville Chamber and Brampton Symphony orchestras, and has also performed as concertmaster with numerous other groups including the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, Masterworks of Oakville Chorus and Orchestra, Yorkville Romantic Evenings Orchestra, Great Lakes Orchestra and the Oakville Symphony (with which he presently serves as a Young Artist Mentor).

A full time music teacher with the Peel District Public School Board, David helped establish and develop QE Arts—the first elementary school regional arts program in all of Peel—while concurrently building from scratch the only elementary school strings program in Peel at the time of that program’s inception. In 2011, he was named Arts Person of the Year by the Brampton Arts Council in recognition of his work teaching violin to underprivileged youth. In 2012, David began conducting The Rosebud Orchestra, an orchestral training program in Brampton for youth aged 8 to 18. He remains committed to quality music and education in the greater community, balancing his full-time teaching job with a busy performing schedule. 

Mari Alice Conrad


Mari Alice Conrad is an emerging, award-winning composer near Edmonton, Alberta currently studying graduate work in music composition at the University of Alberta.  Her compositions have been commissioned and performed across Canada, United States, and Europe including Babɛl Choir (Toronto), Standing Wave Ensemble (Vancouver), Exultate Chamber Singers (Toronto), Pro Coro Canada (Edmonton), Allegra Chamber Orchestra (Vancouver), SHHH!! Ensemble (Ottawa), Edmonton Winds, the Edmonton Saxophone Quartet, Soprano Maghan McPhee and pianist Valerie Dueck (Ottawa), Allen Stiles (Vancouver), and the Vancouver (Art) Song Lab with poet Madhur Anand, tenor Asitha Tennekoon, and pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa.  Her compositional practice shines an exceptional light on the human condition and fosters curiosity, authenticity, connection, and collaboration creating a compelling experience for both performers and audiences alike. Several of her scores have been recently published and commercially recorded.

Mari Alice is passionate about the next generation of music creators and has mentored young composers through the Tuckamore Festival Widening the Circle Program (Newfoundland), the Contemporary Showcase Edmonton, and as an instructor of composition at MacEwan University (2022/2023).  Her current research-creation focuses on composing accessible contemporary chamber music for developing musicians exploring the exciting potential within the small ensemble unit.  Her research suggests that chamber music can be an inclusive, participatory way of knowing that empowers youth to express their ideas and critically consider and engage with the world around them.

Benjamin Gabbay


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

Katerina Gimon


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

Shawn Oakes


Shawn Oakes is a composer and singer and 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.

John Van Maanen


John Van Maanen has been a baritone soloist for Arcady since its founding, and is regularly featured in their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah. He has also been involved as narrator in two recent productions of sacred operas composed by Ronald Beckett. John is a member of the Senior Choir of St. James United Church in Simcoe, occasionally serving as relief organist there. He has also performed lead roles in several productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas by The Wandering Minstrels of St James. Mr. Van Maanen pursued musical studies at the University of Western Ontario, earning a Bachelor of Music degree (Honours Music Education) in 1991, and a Master of Music degree (Honours in Vocal Literature and Performance) in 1993, under the tutelage of Professor Susan Bingemann-Ambrose. He maintains a studio in Simcoe. John has a fast-growing catalogue of church anthems to his credit. He has had hymns published in several hymnals. His setting of the Let all mortal flesh keep silence was recently published by Oxford University Press.

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

Greg Walshaw


Greg Walshaw holds the diploma of Colleague of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from McMaster University, where he studied organ with Paul Grimwood. He has been organist at St. Andrew’s United Church since 2003, and began a new position there as organist and choir director. Before coming to Brantford, Greg held organist and choir director positions in Hamilton at Laidlaw United Church and King St. Baptist Church. Greg is one of two accompanists for the Brantford Children’s Chorus, and has been the accompanist of The Renaissance Singers since the 2001/2002 season. As a continuo player, Greg has performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, McMaster University Chamber Orchestra as well the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (with the McMaster University Choir). During six years with the McMaster University Choir, Greg served as accompanist for three years, and spent two years as assistant conductor. As a singer, he spent ten years with the Cathedral Church of the Redemer in Calgary, where he also performed several times with the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus. In Ontario, he has sung with the Bach Elgar Choir, the Te Deum Singers, Westdale United Church in Hamilton (as tenor section lead), and Arcady. As a composer, his focus is on music for the church. As most churches tend to have choirs and organs, most of his works are for choir or organ. However, he has composed scores and soundscapes for theatrical productions in Calgary and Hamilton, where he was active as an actor, director and playwright. He worked for two seasons in various capacities at Alberta Theatre Projects and Theatre Calgary, and spent six years as Artistic Director of the Alchemist Theatre in Hamilton.