Pamela Cook (1937 – 2013) Founder of Cantamus Girls Choir
On the occasion of Cantamus’ 40th anniversary, Pamela wrote ‘I brought together 14 of my private singing pupils, purely for their musical education to form an ensemble. Later, after encouraging comments from choral experts we ventured with 18 girls, into our first international choral competition…..the fascinating and fabulous journey began’. From those small beginnings, Pamela led the choir on to international success and acclaim. The choir’s achievements are down to Pamela’s experience and expertise in her different roles within the musical world; as a solo performer herself to the different posts she held as lecturer and examiner.
Pamela taught in Universities and Conservatoires, including the Royal Northern College of Music and the Birmingham Conservatoire. She lectured in Physiology, Use, Care of the Voice for major conferences internationally. She served on the jury of international competitions most notably, in the UK, the BBC Choir of the Year and was an expert commentator for The Cardiff Singer of The World for BBC Radio 3. Pamela published articles for many leading journals and her private practice included professional opera singers from all over the world, professional choral singers and those Cantamus girls who chose to pursue a career in singing.
Pamela Cook is still regarded as a leading authority on vocal and choral techniques and was much in demand for solo and choral workshops at home and abroad. Many choral directors from around the world have visited Mansfield to observe the methods used in training Cantamus.
In 1984 she was awarded an MBE, was made an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and an Honorary Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire. International Rotary conferred on her the Paul Harris Fellowship and in 2003 she was made a Vice-President of the Association of British Choral Directors, alongside John Rutter and Brian Kay.
In 2010 The Royal Academy of Music made Pamela a Fellow of The Royal Academy, citing her invaluable contribution to choral and solo singing. This honour is held by only 300 fellows throughout the world and Pamela joined such luminaries as Sir Simon Rattle.
Nottingham University was to confer an honorary doctorate to Pamela in July 2013, sadly, just four days before Cantamus travelled to Austria to take part in the first European Choir Games, Pamela died following a short illness.
Pamela Cook made a huge contribution to the music world and the lives of Cantamus girls who were lucky enough to work with her.
‘To each girl of Cantamus since 1968 goes my love and warm thanks for her contribution to the Cantamus story and its great success.’ Pamela Cook 2008