Featuring the players and singers of Arcady
Brantford will resound with Christmas joy as Arcady brings you a concert of festive holiday cheer! ‘Christmas with Arcady’ will be held on December 2, 2023, at 7:30PM at St.Andrew United Church. You will be delighted by favourite Arcady Christmas tunes including There’s A Song in the Air, In Dulci Jubilo, and Snowflakes Fall Softly by Arcady’s artistic director, Ronald Beckett. You will also be treated to the unique experience of new Christmas music garnished with local talent and holiday spirit. Arcady’s string orchestra, treble chorus, and youth chorus will present this dazzling concert with artistry and enthusiasm.
December 2, 2023 - 7:30 pm
St. Andrew’s United Church
95 Darling St., Brantford, ON
- Personent Hodie Ronald Beckett Text from Piae Cantiones (1582), tr. by John A. Parkinson
- Winter Song Emma Theresa Verdonk Text by the composer
- The Traveller Ronald BeckettText by Jessica Speziale
- The Rose That Bare Jesu Benjamin Gabbay Text: 15th-century traditional
- Joy Ronald Beckett
- In the Beginning John Van Maanen Text from King James Bible
- Angels We Have Heard on High arr. Shawn Oakes
- There’s a song in the air Ronald Beckett Text by Josiah Holland
- Exuberant Charles Demunyck
- The Christmas Card Ronald Beckett
- Adeste Fideles arr. Ronald Beckett Text: Traditional
- The praise of
Christmas Ronald Beckett
- Snowflakes fall softly Ronald Beckett Text by Lydia Sharpe
- Wir Danken Dir Ronald Beckett
- Stille Nacht arr. Ronald Beckett
- In Dulci Jubilo arr. 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
Composer-conductor Charles Demuynck has guest conducted extensively in Europe and the U.S. and with the following Canadian orchestras: Orchestra London, Niagara Symphony, Mississauga Symphony, Scarborough Philharmonic, Oshawa-Durham Symphony, Cathedral Bluffs Symphony, Etobicoke Philharmonic, Prince George Symphony, National Academy Orchestra, Royal Conservatory New Music Ensemble, Lethbridge Symphony, North York Concert Orchestra and the Philharmonie des Jeunes d’Ottawa-Carleton. Charles is the Music Director of Masterworks of Oakville Chorus and Orchestra, and St. Andrew Catholic Church in Oakville. A native of Dawson Creek, B.C., Charles Demuynck holds a doctorate in conducting from the Hartt School in Hartford, Conn., where he was a student of Harold Farberman. He also holds conducting degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, and the University of Toronto. He is an active composer, and his works have been performed frequently in Canada, and internationally. As Music Director of the Oakville Chamber Orchestra, he is proud to lead this group of extraordinarily enthusiastic and talented musicians.
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
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 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
Christmas with Arcady is generously supported by