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Cantate History



  • Residential for Cantate Senior and Junior Choir’s including a visit from patron, Matt Sharp to compose a piece based on flying, and coaching with ex-member of the choir Charlotte Brosnan
  • Cantate Senior Choir performed the premiere of ‘If I had wings’ by Will Todd at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Cantate Junior and Training Choir’s performed the cantata ‘Letters to Lindberg’ by Richard Rodney Bennett in Ashton Church
  • Cantate Senior Choir participated in one of the largest youth choir projects in the UK as part of Gabrieli Roar performaing and recording ‘An English Coronation’ in Ely Cathedral
  • Cantate Junior Choir performed as part of Bishop’s Stortford Carnival
  • Cantate Senior and Junior Choir’s were joined by the Graduate Choir for a glorious picnic concert at Bishop’s Stortford College
  • All three choirs performed in a winter concert in collaboration with the David le Page ensemble
  • Cantate Senior choir took part in the family carol service at St Paul’s Cathedral


  • Cantate Senior Choir perform Haydn’s Harmoniemesse in St Albans with Gabrieli, conducted by Paul McCreesh
  • All three Cantate Choirs, with support from the Graduate Choirs and Amici Cantate record a new Christmas CD for release later in 2017


  • Cantate invited to be a partner choir on the prestigious Gabrieli Roar Scheme, allowing its members to perform alongside one of the finest professional choirs and orchestras in the world. Concerts in Southwark and Ely Cathedrals during the year
  • Youth Choir invited to sing at Saffron Hall with Hertfordshire Chorus in a performance of Berlioz’s epic Te Deum
  • Funding from Aldeburgh Music allows Cantate to run its most ambitious ‘Stortford Sings!’ project to date with a term of workshops and outreach culminating in a sold-out concert for the Training Choir at The Rhodes Centre in Bishops Stortford
  • Cantate tours South West France for a third time
  • The Senior Choir is invited to sing in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Hertfordshire Music Service Gala concert


  • Cantate invited to take part in a Festival of Choirs in St Albans Abbey, including a first performance of a newly commissioned work by Ben Parry, Director of the National Youth Choir
  • Choir commissions the Latvian composer Rihards Dubra to write a piece to celebrate the success in the World Choir Games. ‘Sing Joyfully’ is premiered in July 2015 in the presence of the composer

  • Senior Choir selected once again for the National Festival of Music for Youth in Birmingham

  • Cantate entertains the crowds with carols before the Varsity Match at Twickenham

  • Cantate records charity single ‘Hey Charlie’ at Abbey Road Studios in London


  • Twentieth Birthday Concert at Saffron Hall including performances from members of all the Cantate family

  • Cantate’s second performance at the World Choir Games in Riga results in the choir winning gold medals in both its categories and ending the competition as the highest placed choir from Western Europe

  • Matthew Sharp, the ‘virtuoso of the arts’ accepts invitation to become Patron of Cantate
  • Choir records ‘The News from Nowhere’ choral symphony in Milton Court Concert Hall, Barbican


  • The Youth Choir travel to Bath to compete in the Mid-Somerset Choral Festival winning their under 16 category

  • The choir’s second tour to France
  • A crowd-sourcing fundraising campaign enables Cantate to undertake its most ambitious project to date. The massed choirs together at Thaxted Primary School with an orchestra of members, friends and supporters perform Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde at the Thaxted Festival. “Your performance of Noye’s Fludde will remain a highlight of the history of the Thaxted Festival. I have vivid memories of the evening and I’m sure the children will always remember it”


  • All three choirs return to the Thaxted Festival to sing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, plus a programme of African and Spirituals. The percussion team is joined by Italian virtuoso Paulo
  • First concert in a new series of outreach concerts. Entitled ‘Stortford Sings!’, the Training Choir is joined by local primary school children
  • Autumn Concert in Long Melford, Suffolk for the Youth and Senior Choirs
  • The second of three consecutive Thaxted Festival appearances sees the newly formed Cantate Graduate Choir perform for the first time


  • The Senior Choir performs Vivaldi Gloria (from memory) as part of the Brandenburg Spring Festival at St Martin’s in the Fields
  • Members of Cantate take part on the BBC Radio 2 programme ‘At the foot of the Cross’ in St Albans Abbey with Hertfordshire Chorus and the BBC Concert Orchestra
  • The Senior Choir takes a top award again at the National Music for Youth Festival in Birmingham. “Beautiful presentation and a lovely choral sound – you really perform”, Gillian Dibden
  • The Youth and Senior Choirs tour the south of France, with concerts in Bordeaux and around the bay of Arcachon
  • The Youth and Senior Choirs visit St Mary’s Church in Ware for the first time and sing Fauré’s Requiem from memory


  • Nicholas Shaw and Graham Instrall over as joint Music Directors of Cantate
  • Senior Choir takes part in the National singing manifesto ‘Sing Up’ with several members training as young leaders with school children in Milton Keynes, before a final concert involving 500 children at Stadium MK
  • Training Choir compete in the Llangollen Eisteddfod for the first time, finishing as the highest placed Non-Welsh Choir

  • Funding from Arts Council England allows the Training Choir to stage Benjamin Britten’s opera for children, The Golden Vanity
  • Senior Choir visit Paris and perform at Disneyland and the church of St Merri


  • Mozart’s Requiem (sung fron memory) at the Thaxted Festival, with the Brandenburg Sinfonia. Participation in the Somerset International Youth Choral Festival with 4 American & Canadian Choirs.  Concerts in Wells Cathedral and Sherborne Abbey
  • Cantate hosts the Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago
  • 15th Birthday Celebration Concert in Cambridge Corn Exchange
  • Farewell to Michael Kibblewhite, founder director of Cantate


  • Cantate become Gold Medal winners in The World Choir Games (“The Choral Olympics”) in Graz, Austria, in which 430 choirs competed. Cantate was the only UK choir to win a Gold
  • The first Cantate Family Concert, and first performance from a Cantate Samba Group


  • BBC Songs of Praise recording at Thaxted
  • Competing against choirs from world-wide, Cantate Senior Choir gains “2nd Prize in the Senior Children’s Choirs Competion at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. “faultless…totally committed with beautiful intonation and tone”


  • 1st Prize Cum Laude at the Europees Muziekfestival, Neerpelt, Belgium “A choir with a beautiful uniform sound.  The children sing with joy!”
  • BBC Songs of Praise recording at Chelmsford Cathedral
  • Outstanding Performance Award for the Senior Choir and Highly Commended for the Youth Choir at the National Music for Youth Festival in Birmingham
  • Senior Choir invited to appear at the Royal Albert Hall Schools Prom
  • First Performance of Bob Chilcott’s Missa Cantate, jointly commissioned by Pax Travel and Cantate
  • Cantate structure reorganised into 3 young choirs: Senior, Youth & Training


  • Cantate sing open-air at Portman Road (Ipswich Football Club) for The Mothers Union
  • First appearance at the Thaxted Festival “The only time I can remember that a Festival concert has been accorded a standing ovation!” Gareth Stainer, Artistic Director, Thaxted Festival
  • First appearance by the Alumni Cantate Chamber Choir in the Remembrance Day concert at Cambridge West Road
  • Inaugural concert by Cantate Parents’ Choir (later to become Amici Cantate).
  • Sixth CD recorded – “Drums and Voices”


  • 10th Birthday Gala Concert in Cambridge Corn Exchange


  • Cantate invited by John Rutter to sing in the inaugural recording of his Mass of the Children.  It rapidly becomes a best-seller
  • Performance of Stravinsky’s Persephone in BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, with BBC Symphony Orchestra & BBC Singers, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.  A CD was subsequently issued. An excellent children’s chorus – absorbingly beautiful”
  • Both Senior & Training Choirs win 1st Prize in their respective categories at the Peterborough Choral Competition. A polished and skilled youth choir of very high standard”


  • Training Choir formed
  • A Night Under The Stars Charity Gala Concert at Westminster Central Hall in the presence of the Earl & Countess of Wessex
  • The first of Cantate’s annual Royal British Legion concerts at London’s Guildhall, in the presence of Princess Alexandra
  • Fifth CD released – “Cantate at Christmas”A lovely programme, splendidly sung” Brian Kay, BBC Radio 2 presenter


  • Cherie Blair invites Cantate to sing at 10 Downing Street
  • First Senior Choir Tour to USA and Junior Choir Tour to Lake Garda
  • Fourth CD released – “Cantate” Live
  • Cantate chosen to represent UK in the international choral competition Let The Peoples Sing, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and throughout Europe.  Awarded Runners-up Prize “Cantate revealed an ease of balance and breathing which made their programme dance with imaginative energy”-  The Times


  • Junior Choir founded with own concert programme Junior & Senior Choirs enter Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year competition, and both win Choir of the Day Awards. “A lovely silky and blended sound…stylishly sung”
  • Junior Choir progresses through to the Finals and wins the Sainsbury’s Children’s Choir of the Year Award at the Royal Albert Hall, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and televised on Christmas Day on BBC 2 The singing of this choir is an absolute delight – your choir is very special – what a wonderful sound you make”


  • Cantate wins both the Outstanding and Highly Commended Performance Awards at the National Music for Youth Festival. “Superb, terrific.  Lovely, glorious sound”
  • Cantate invited to appear at the Schools Prom, Royal Albert Hall, in the presence of Prince Charles


  • Cantate wins the Highly Commended Performance Award at the National Music for Youth Festival “A really outstanding classy choir”
  • Invited to sing Family Carols service at St Paul’s Cathedral for the first time
  • Invited by Howard Goodall to participate in BBC Radio 4 Christmas Pantomime
  • Third Cantate CD – “Ryhthm of Life”


  • Tour to Tuscany & Umbria, with performances in Assisi, San Gimignano and Cortona


  • First entries into national competitions – Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod & National Festival of Music for Youth (Royal Festival Hall)
  • Second CD released – “Cantate Classics”
  • “Symphony of Voices” recorded – a special effects CD-ROM for Hollywood


  • First CD produced – “Cantate” – featured on Classic FM


  • Inaugural Concert performed 3 weeks after launch
  • Performances at Royal Festival Hall and in Royal Gala Concert at Barbican
  • First Cantate tour – to Belgium, Holland & Germany