Cantamus Choirs

Senior Choir

CantaGraz 2013 171mus Girls Choir founded in 1968 is directed by Ann Irons who continues the legacy of excellence created by Pamela Cook the previous Director and founder of the choir (1937 - 2013).  Based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, Cantamus consists of 46 girls aged between 13 - 19 who come together for the sheer joy of singing and to be part of the Cantamus family.  The girls are trained by a talented team of teachers, Ann Irons (Director) Elaine Guy (Assistant Director).  Throughout its career critics have acclaimed its performance and its impeccable techniques.  Its repertoire includes works from the 11th - 21st Century.  The Performing Rights Society has awarded prizes on four separate occasions for their enterprising programmes.

Cantamus is internationally renowned; 28 first prizes in international choral festivals have been won, in addition they have won 8 Grand Prix, including the Grand Prix (Riva del Garda), BBC Choir of the Year (twice), Choir of the World (Llangollen Eisteddfod) and championships at the World Choir Olympics (Bremen 2004 and Xiamen 2006). In July 2013 they competed in the First European Choir Games in Graz where they gained three Gold medals and Championships in the Youth Equal Voice Class and the Sacred Class.  Thirty overseas tours have been undertaken, including Japan, China, Israel, USA and Canada (twice), Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Estonia and Finland.  Many girls pursue careers in music and a number are now employed as soloists or chorus members in the Opera Houses of the World.

Cantamus has been featured in numerous radio and TV broadcasts, and The Golden Girls was a BBC documentary of the girls’ successful tour of China. Their commercial CDs produces by EMI and Warner have distributed worldwide, along with other private recordings made by the choir.

Engagements with professional orchestras include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.  These performances have beein in the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican and Royal Festival Hall in London, the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Harrogate International Centre and the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham.  In 2008 the choir sang with the BBC Welsh National Orchestra in the BBC Promenade concerts in both Cardiff and London.

Works have been commissioned from leading British composers in various genres (opera, jazz, ethnic) and some have gifted works because of their admiration for the choir.

Howard Goodall has said the choir: "Only a very few musicians and performers manage to combine absolute, world-class excellence of technique and style with the ability to express themselves from the bottom of their hearts.  Cantamus, miraculously, are amongst the select few". 


Junior Choir Auditions

The junior choir girls are taught by two former pupils of Pamela Cook: Louise Collett and Freya Irons. Llangollen 2013

Auditions for the Junior Choir are held in January and June for girls (minimum age 9) who:

  love to sing
  would like to be part of a prestigious, dynamic organisation
  want to develop their musical skills in a positive and caring environment
  are prepared to commit themselves for training for possible entry into Cantamus at a later stage

The audition requires the applicant to:

  sing a song, e.g. a hymn, carol or classical piece (copy of music required, accompanist provided)
  sight-read a short piece of prose
  do some simple aural tests

An adult needs to accompany the girl and will be given further details then.

Group singing lessons and choir rehearsals take place on Friday evenings during school term-time at the Samworth Church Academy, Forest Town, near Mansfield.

Membership of Cantamus provides:

  the joy of being surrounded by musically talented friends who strive for excellence
  a firm foundation for a life-long love of music
  preparation and guidance for University or Music College entry, if desired

Please e-mail Sheila Haslam or phone 01623 627764 for an application form.

Each year the Junior Choir will take part in a Residential workshop weekend.  This is normally held at Edwinstowe Youth Hostel.  The aim of the workshop is to work on their repertoire, musical skills and movement and to give the girls the opportunity to be together on an enjoyable break.

Updated 02 February 2014

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