Patricia & Gerald Neufeld
Emerging Artist Program

Supporting a New Generation of Choral Artists

The Guelph Chamber Choir launched the Emerging Artist program in 2021, as an opportunity for musicians to bridge the gap from emerging to established, while in the early stages of their careers.

We’re excited to announce the official naming of our Emerging Artist Program, honouring our founding Artistic Director.

The Patricia and Gerald Neufeld Emerging Artist Program (Neufeld Emerging Artist Program) will support young choral artists and conductors as they begin their careers, in a special program with the Guelph Chamber Choir.

This program is aimed at artists under the age of 30 who will work together with the Artistic Director to create a program addressing specific goals of each successful candidate, such as singing and conducting opportunities, understanding non-profit management, curation of concert repertoire, social media development, and reaching out to the community through outreach programming and implementation (SingOUT).

Successful candidates will provide leadership at rehearsals and receive a monthly stipend for the duration of the season.

If you know a young artist who should apply, please have them contact us at for details.

We would like to recognize the support of contributing sponsor, Bisson Dentistry for the 2023/24 season.

2023 – 2024 Emerging Artists

Lindsay Scott has grown up in Guelph and is now in her third year of a Bachelor of Music degree in Self Directed Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is currently studying vocal performance with James McLean and composition with Barbara Assiginaak.

Lindsay is a passionate performer and composer, who has been involved in Laurier’s student composer concerts and classical performance recitals. She recently presented a variety of original music, including an acoustic work for voice and guitar, an ensemble piece for voice, guitar, violin, and cello, and a vocal duet with guitar and piano.

Lindsay has also recently performed solo classical works by Tosti, Massenet, Brahms, and Viardot during the past year of her degree.

Lindsay is the musical director of Laurier’s acapella group ‘Hawkapella’, a member of the Grand Philharmonic Choir, a choral scholar at St.Peter’s Lutheran Church in Kitchener, and recently directed a chamber choir to accompany Tim Baker and the KW Symphony. Lindsay has been a chorus member in the premiere of Justin Lapierre’s Mass of St.Anne (2022) and Stabat Mater (2023), Opera Laurier and KW Symphony’s La Traviata (2023), the Laurier Singers Ensemble (2021-2023), and Laurier Concert Choir’s performance of Mozart’s Mass in C Major: Piccolomini Messe as the alto soloist (2023).

In addition to her classical voice training, Lindsay has a collection of original, self-produced songs released on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming platforms. She is a multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, violin, and piano in her recordings and performances. In addition to being a musician, Lindsay is also passionate about fitness, riding horses, and spending time with friends and family.

Coming up this year, Lindsay is excited to be one of Guelph Chamber Choir’s Neufeld Emerging Artists this season, to release new original music, and be a part of Opera Laurier productions. 

Wil Ainsbury is a young artist just beginning his career in music. He graduated from Wilfred Laurier University in the Spring of 2023 and is happy to be working with the Guelph Chamber Choir help him begin his career. Wil has a passion for performance and is very excited about the repertoire he will be able to perform with the choir.

Wil started singing when he was in elementary school by taking lessons from a neighbor with his childhood friend. He then went on to perform in several community musicals like Oliver and Shrek. He also performed in the Pickering Rotary festival several years in a row. Eventually he went to the performing arts school in Durham named O’Neill C.V.I.. He then went to Wilfred Laurier University to complete a Bachelor of Music.

Wil has a great love for music. He hopes to in the future not only perform, but also hopefully teach and conduct. He has many aspirations for the future and is glad to have Guelph Chamber Choir be an important aspect in his growth.

Previous Emerging Artists


Katie Hatanaka is a soprano, conductor, and teacher from Markham, Ontario. She recently graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance studying under the guidance of Bethany Horst and choral conducting with Kathleen Allan and Dr. Mark Ramsay. Katie ignited her passion for vocal music at the age of 6 through joining the Toronto Children’s Chorus and has continued to sing in various choral and solo settings since. Through an opportunity in her final year at Western to participate as one of six student conductors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s inaugural symposium, “Lift Every Voice” (2022), Katie cultivated a love for choral conducting and has since been pursuing opportunities to further her skills as a choral conductor. She is excited to have the opportunity as an emerging artist to grow as a conductor, leader and musician through the program as well as enter a new choral community in Guelph.

Emily Steers (she/her) is a soprano from Guelph Ontario. She recently completed her MA in Community Music at Wilfrid Laurier University, studying community and identity formation in LGBTQ choirs. She is an ardent fan and performer of new music, having recently premiered a solo chamber opera by Alexander Wright and participated in the Musique 3 Femmes new opera workshop. She is equally passionate about early music, co-founding the Rubrum Aurum early music trio in 2018 and touring the Maritime provinces in the spring of 2019. She has a diverse set of operatic performances under her belt, ranging from Mozart to Monteverdi to Janáček. Recently, Emily has been honing her skills as a conductor, working with the Mount Allison Elliott Chorale, the Laurier Singers, and the chorus of Vera Causa Opera. She runs a thriving teaching studio, working in a diversity of styles from musical theatre to folk to classical. Emily is committed to making her work accessible and meaningful to anyone who wishes to make music!

Finn writes: “I have been singing since I was about 6 years old, where I started my vocal journey with the Guelph Youth Singers. Music has been in my life since I was very young, and it continues to shape who I am today. To be given the opportunity to share my musicality with others has been a gift and drives me to share my love of music, especially with the wonderful community in Guelph. My love for music has also pushed me to audition and take part in spreading the emotional language of music beyond my local community and I look forward to the future of musical outreach both here in Guelph and beyond.

I had the wonderful opportunity to join the Guelph Chamber Choir earlier in the 2019-2020 concert season and am thrilled to be joining them once more in song as an Emerging Youth Artist. I am very grateful for the positon I have been given and I hope I can support the Guelph Chamber Choir in the coming choral season and build new skills in the program! I look forward to making wonderful music together!”

Emerging Artist Composer in Residence

Silas Chinsen is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, and arranger based in Guelph, Ontario. He holds a M.Mus and B.Mus  in classical guitar and voice performance, and has work featured on Naxos Records. Silas creates music for choirs, solo guitar, indie/neo-soul  projects, scores for audio-visual collaborations, and is the 2022 Guelph Artist in Residence.

Silas graduated with the highest distinction from the University of Ottawa on full scholarship, and was twice the recipient of the Ed Honeywell Scholarship for Classical Guitar.  He studied guitar with Patrick Roux and voice with Dillon Parmer, in addition to conducting with David Curry and Laurence Ewashko.  Silas won the 2019 Ottawa Guitar Society’s “Call for Scores” composition competition, and has received various grants for his work, including the Guelph Arts Council Research and Renewal Award, the City of Guelph Artist In Residence Grant, and a TACTICS grant for the composition of a full length musical theatre production.

Silas creates music to illicit a unique and visceral emotional experience, with interests in extended harmonic and uncommon sonic textures. From modern classical compositions and arrangements to producing ambient soundscapes using recordings of the sounds of nature, Silas treats each project as a new opportunity to push his own musical and creative boundaries to continue to develop his unique sound and skillset.

Emerging Artists - Finn Steinke and Silas Chinsen

We would like to thank the 2022/23 season sponsor:


In the program’s inaugural year, the Guelph Chamber Choir proudly named Autumn Debassige, Alto, and Ben Sproule, Tenor, as the first-ever Emerging Artists.

Tenor Ben Sproule has a wide range of musical interests with a particularly strong background in Barbershop Singing. While an Emerging Artist with GCC, Ben was a featured conductor in the 2021 Carol Concert and provided leadership in rehearsals throughout the season. Ben graduated from the University of Guelph in Spring 2022.

Autumn Debassige is a singer, music teacher, and theatre performer of First Nations heritage based in southwestern Ontario. A versatile freelance artist, Autumn is an alto chorister at St. John the Evangelist in Elora. She has been a featured artist with 4th Wall Music (Windsor) and has appeared on stage at Niagara’s Oh Canada Eh Dinner Theatre for their production Broadway Showstoppers. Autumn is a graduate of Leslie Fagan’s voice studio at WLU (2016) and holds an Advanced Diploma in Music Theatre Performance from St. Clair College (2019). A proud alumna of The Ontario Youth Choir (2017), Autumn currently studies voice with Dr. Elizabeth Lepock.

2021-22 GCC Emerging Artists - Community Outreach