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Cantate seeks new Music Director

Cantate seeks new Music Director

From September 2019


Cantate Youth Choir is an open-access, ambitious and highly successful Youth Choir based in Bishops Stortford (Hertfordshire). Its vision is to enrich the lives of children aged 6-18 years through high-calibre choral experiences.  Established 25 years ago Cantate has developed a reputation for excellence locally and nationally. Under the inspirational musical leadership of Nick Shaw and Graham Instrall for the last 8 years the choir has won gold medals at the World Choir Games in Graz in 2008 and in Riga in 2014, where it was the highest placed mixed voice youth choir from western Europe. Amongst many other local venues, it has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Saffron Hall and West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge. Between 2015-2018 it was partnered with the Gabrieli Consort in its ‘Roar’ scheme, singing at Southwark and Ely Cathedrals.

Cantate is divided into three distinct groups: a unison Training Choir, a 2/3 part predominantly upper voice Junior Choir and a SATB Senior Choir. Each choir performs at least one concert a term, appearing on their own and in combination with the other groups. An element of percussion training, aimed at developing the young singer’s rhythmic skills, is integral to these rehearsals and will continue to be directed by Graham Instrall. Rehearsals typically take place on Sunday afternoons during the school term with extra rehearsals on the Friday evening/Saturday afternoons prior to concerts. A weekend music workshop for older singers usually takes place once a year and, when possible, seniors have participated in competitions or short tours at the end of the summer term.

The repertoire is wide ranging, exploring all types of music to ensure variety, maintain interest and expand the students’ repertoires and understanding of music in different styles.

Nick Shaw is moving on at the end of the 2018/19 season and the Choir is inviting applications for an experienced and inspirational successor to start in September 2019, with a vision to continue to develop the choir and its repertoire. For clarity, Graham Instrall will continue to be a member of Cantate’s music staff,  but will assume the position of ‘Assistant Music Director’ from September 2019, alongside the current Assistant Music Director.

The successful applicant will:

– have energy, commitment and enthusiasm to stimulate and engage young minds and voices to attain high standards of performance with varied repertoire;

– uphold the vision of the choir and provide opportunities for students to grow and advance their musical and social development within “the Cantate family”;

– work closely with other members of the music team to develop the choir’s reputation further;

˗ have knowledge of repertoire suitable for young voices, and a network of contacts and resources to support musical activities;

– possess excellent presentation skills necessary for communicating well with audiences and singers;

– be prepared to make a firm commitment to the choir and local music making and perform other duties in line with the role as agreed between the post holder and the trustees;

– attend six trustee meetings per annum, where practicable, and provide a termly report to the trustees reviewing the activities of the choir and future plans and activities;

– work collaboratively with trustees, choir managers and other volunteers to advance the aims of the choir.

Competitive renumeration will be offered for this post.

Applications in the form of a curriculum vitae (CV) and covering letter should be sent to by 31st January 2019. Interviews (including taking rehearsals with the choirs) will take place on the afternoon of Sunday 3rd March and the appointment will be confirmed as soon as possible after that date. This will allow the successful candidate time to liaise with the current music team and plan the rehearsal and concert schedule from September 2019.


From September 2019