All posts by Frania Hall

Dixit Dominus


St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks

Saturday March 9th


We will be performing Handel’s Dixit Dominus, a wonderfully energetic and challenging piece, together with three stately but joyful baroque choral pieces by Pachelbel. We will be joined by Vivace! who will also perform Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Our guest soloists will perform a Magnificat also by Pachelbel.

Handel understands effect better than any of us—when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt.’

—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart*

We are delighted to be joined by Vivace! led by Diane Terry as well as guest soloists.

The centrepiece of the evening is Handel’s Dixit Dominus, a setting of the Latin text of Psalm 110. Handel composed the piece while he was in Italy and it was first performed, it is believed, in 1707 when he was just 22. It is an exciting and energetic piece, not without challenges. In the King James version this psalm begins: ‘The Lord said unto my Lord: sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy foot-stool’.  It is a dramatic, robust and declaratory psalm and this is reflected in the intensity of Handel’s music: there are vigorous arpeggios and majestic fugues, highly layered cascading chorus parts and beautiful solo melodies, leading to a final triumphant Gloria. If you have not heard it before it is a stirring piece, full of drama and contrast, and for those who have, hearing it performed live is always a fantastic and spirited occasion.

The concert will also present four choral pieces and one orchestral piece by Pachelbel. Pachelbel represents the flowering of the south German organ schools and is one of the most important composers of the middle baroque. The Canon in D is well known by many and it is always a delight to hear its elegant and measured chord progression. The choral works are less well known but the choir will be singing three lovely pieces: Jauchzet dem Herrn, a joyful setting of Psalm 100, the buoyant Singet dem Herrn and the stately Lutheran hymn, Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan. The final piece, a Magnificat, will be performed by the soloists.

War & Peace, commemorating the end of the Great War.

Saturday 10th November 2018 at St. Mary’s Church, Kippington, Sevenoaks

Poster for Cantate Choir's War & Peace concert in November 2018

A programme of music and readings, with organ.

Organist: Iestyn Evans

Readers: Sandy Walsh and Robin Lustig

Cantate’s next performance is a special concert to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The programme includes songs and readings from poems written during and after the War alongside settings of sacred texts that reflect the choral traditions of the last century.  The centrepiece of the concert will be Herbert Howells’ Requiem. Other works include pieces by English composers of the 20th Century, such as Ireland and Elgar, as well as music by Messiaen, Pärt and Whitacre, music to evoke both sadness and hope.

Tickets cost £15 (Friends £12 and under 18s £7.50) and include refreshments.

The programme is approximately 90 minutes without an interval.

Tickets available at Sevenoaks Bookshop, online at or by phone 0800 411 8881.

Sounds of Light – Summer Concert at Tudeley

Saturday 23rd June 2018 at All Saints Church, Tudeley at 7.30pm

An  performance of music ancient and modern, including the world premiere of a piece by local composer and supporter of the choir, Laurie Dunkin Wedd, inspired by the wonderful Chagall windows at Tudeley. We performed the Mass for 5 Voices by Byrd, the Chansons Francaises by Poulenc as well as If Ye Love Me by Tallis and Three Thomas Campion songs by Nunn.  It also included the world Premiere of a  piece by Frederick Frahm for clarinet and piano which encapsulated the different windows and was performed by Sarah Trigg on the clarinet accompanied by our Director of Music, Robin Walker on the piano.


We performed the E minor Mass and a selection of sacred motets, accompanied by organ and trombones at St. Martin’s Brasted on Sunday 22 April. It was a lovely sunny evening, quite a contrast from the original planned date of the concert which was postponed from March due to the snow.

Through their gorgeous harmonic language and polyphonic layering, their roving melodic lines and unexpected dissonances, these pieces represent compelling examples of Bruckner’s intense sound world. It was a stirring and rewarding evening.

Please note that the poster below has the old date on it.




Saturday June 22nd, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Platt.

For our summer concert this year we are exploring styles of music which are challenging us to get out of our comfort zone.  We’re singing music which bridges over 900 years, opening our concert with music by one of the most important and influential composers in history, Hildegard von Bingen, followed by a work by Stevie Wishart written only a few years ago based around that ancient music.  Stevie explores the Medieval sound-world through texture and vocal effects to create a rich and elaborate soundscape, reminiscent of monastic chant and ancient buildings.

A ‘first’ for Cantate is a programme which features exclusively female composers, and we will perform music from the Renaissance and the 19th century, with pieces by perhaps the most well-known female composer of the last century, Amy Beach.  We conclude our programme with two works by Lauren Redhead, performing one work which is a cappella and a second in which we have an element of improvisation and which we will perform with electronics Lauren is creating especially for this performance.

This is going to be a particularly exciting concert for the choir, working with two contemporary composers exploring the real cutting edge of vocal performance, and challenging us to try a whole new approach as a choir.  We look forward to welcoming you to what will most certainly be an exciting and enjoyable evening.

Robin Walker, May 2019

Tickets are priced at £12 (U16 at £6) and are available at Sevenoaks Bookshop and online at Refreshments from 18.45 before the performance commences at 19.30.

Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610

Saturday 14 October 2017
Pamoja Hall   7.30pm

With Vivace and The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble

Director of Music: Robin Walker

Poster for Cantate Choir's October 2017 performance of Monteverdi Vespers with Vivaci! and The English Cornett & Sackbut EnsembleBorn in Cremona, Monteverdi was a composer and court musician particularly known for books of madrigals and operas. His work transitions from Renaissance polyphony to Baroque melody including pioneering techniques such as bass continuo. The Vesperis in Festis Beata Mariae Vergine, more casually known as the Vespers of 1610, was his first sacred work in nearly 30 years reflecting a blend of both styles. In scale it represents one of the most ambitious works of religious music written before Bach.  It is a large, complex and ground-breaking piece noted for its brilliance and power.

Special guest soloists will perform with The Cantate Choir and we will be joined by Vivace and The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble for what promises to be a wonderful evening.

Tickets cost £15. (concessions £7.50 U18s)

For more information and a link to book tickets, go to


Solstice of Light – June 2017

St Mary’s Platt, Sunday 25th June 2017

With William Searle (tenor) and Ian Shaw (organ).

The centrepiece of our summer concert was the Solstice of Light, Peter Maxwell Davies’ Cantata for tenor, choir and organ. Its fourteen movements form a poetic history of Orkney with beautiful melodic moments and some wonderful harmony. This highly evocative piece was performed as the long light of June lasted into the evening making it a very special occasion.

We also be presented a wonderful setting of Shakespeare’s song from Cymbeline, Fear No More, by Jonas Magnussen, being performed for the first time in the UK, as well as two pieces by New Zealand composer Paul Newton-Jackson.

We were joined by special guests, tenor William Searle and organist Ian Shaw. William performed a beautiful selection of English solo songs as well as the tenor role in Solstice of Light.  Ian played an organ solo during the first part of the concert as well as performing the fantastic, virtuoso solo sections in Solstice of Light.

Strawberries and drinks were at 6.30pm  in the Churchyard and the concert followed at 7.00pm.

Lux Aeterna March 2017

Saturday March 4th 2017 – St. Martin’s Church, Brasted.

Poster for The Cantate Choir's Lux Aeterna concert in March 2017

The choir performed a capella music full of melody and luscious harmony by Mendelssohn, Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten, while our special guest soloist Philippa Mo played a range of pieces for the violin.

Two of Mendelssohn’s motets for eight-part choir opened the concert. Philippa then played two pieces for violin by German Romantic composer Rheinberger; she was accompanied on the organ by Robin Walker. Britten’s Five Flower Songs followed, fascinating settings of works by poets such as Herrick and Clare. Philippa then performed a new work by Frederick Frahm Grendel’s Soliloquy.  Closing the first half was Sir Edward Elgar’s famous Nimrod, arranged for choir and set to the text Lux Aeterna.

The second half was a feast of Vaughan Williams, opening with The Lark Ascending.  The choir then performed the composer’s Mass in G minor for double choir and soloists, a truly great work of the English 20th century choral tradition.



Christmas celebrations

The Cantate Choir performed a sparking celebration of Christmas in December at St. Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks. We were very fortunate to be joined by Matilda Lloyd, the wonderfully talented trumpeter who won the brass section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2014, and whose solo pieces by Bach and Damase were very much enjoyed by the audience. The choir, under guest conductor Riccardo Bonci, performed a variety of Christmas carols, including some new ones to us – by Maxwell Davies, Wishart, Matthias and Howells. Of course there were plenty of audience carols too and Matilda joined in playing from the gallery and Iestyn Evans joined us on the organ. The evening included rousing renditions of popluar favourites The Twelve Days of Christmas and Jingle Bells, with We Wish You a Merry Christmas as a spirited encore.

Christmas with Cantate

Poster for Cantate Choir's Christmas concert in December 2016 - Christmas with Cantate

St Nicholas’ Church, Sevenoaks.

Saturday 10th December 7.30pm.

With guest conductor Riccardo Bonci and organist Iestyn Evans.

Our Christmas programme will feature carols, old and new. From Wassail song to Wishart, with Bach, Vaughan Williams and Rutter, and, of course, we hope you will join with us to sing our favourite carols together!

This year we are delighted to be performing with our very special guest soloist – Matilda Lloyd on trumpet. Matilda won the brass section of the BBC Musician of the year in 2014 and made her Proms solo debut this year with the BBC Philharmonic; she has also played with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields for the Classic FM Live concert at the Royal Albert Hall and she has appeared on In Tune on Radio 3.  She works with a variety of orchestras and she currently reads music at Trinity College, Cambridge and studies the trumpet with Mark David, Head of Brass at the Royal Academy of Music, London. She will be joining us to perform many well-known carols and she will be playing solo pieces including Bach’s Concerto in D Major after Vivaldi.

For a glorious, sparkling start to the Christmas season do come and join us!

Tickets are £15 including refreshment and are available at Sevenoaks Bookshop or online and by phone from Brown Paper Tickets on and 0800 411 8881. They will also available from members of the choir.

You can register to receive e-mail updates from the home page of this website.

Rye Festival 2016

The Cantate Choir were delighted to have been invited to take part in a special multi-choir concert at the Rye Festival in September. Three choirs came together to collaborate on an evening concert in St. Mary’s Rye. Each choir presented a short programme and we were very pleased to perform again some music from our summer concert – a piece by Frederick Frahm, Who is Wise Among You and the piece Huw Morgan dedicated to Robin Walker and Cantate Choir: Ave Regina Caelorum.

We then joined with the other choirs to form one very large chamber choir. Together we performed multi-part music, working up from Lotti’s beautiful 8-part Crucifixus to the breath-taking 16-part Crucifixus by Caldara and climaxing with Tallis’ 40-part masterpiece Spem in Alium.

We are thrilled to have been asked to take part alongside The Straight 8 and Tongswood Chamber Choir and the full choir was conducted by the internationally acclaimed Peter Phillips, founder of the Tallis Scholars. The organisers in Rye treated us exceptionally well and we had a lovely day.

It was a beautiful Autumnal weather and you can see members of the choir enjoying a few moments of rest over the view of Romney Marsh.


Vivaldi Gloria and works by living composers in association with Firehead Editions.

We enjoyed performing Vivaldi’s Gloria in May 2016. Written in around 1715 it is a joyous, sparkling piece for choir and soloists and it is always a great pleasure to perform.

But also, every excitingly, and building on our tradition of presenting new music, we also performed a selection of pieces from Firehead Editions. This is a collective of three contemporary composers: Frederick Frahm, Huw Morgan and Nicholas Wibberley. They have written music for a wide variety of different contexts and are all distinguished composers, conductors and performers. We sang a range of different pieces by them including Frederick Frahm’s Who is Wise Among You and the premiere of a piece especially written for us by Huw Morgan, Ave Regina Caelorum, dedicated to Robin Walker and Cantate Choir. We really enjoyed working on this new material and were delighted to perform our very own piece. All the composers attended the concert as part of a weekend of performances of music from their label.

Messiah Triumph

The Cantate Choir’s recent performance of Handel’s Messiah raised a fantastic £10,500, exceeding our original target. The money raised went to Hospice in the Weald and we were delighted to be able to support them with our first charity concert. We weren’t sure if we would manage to fill the Pamoja Hall in Sevenoaks School but it was a sell out!

We had a fantastic time performing with our regular partner orchestra ‘Vivace!’ and the wonderful soloists. For more details of the concert follow this link:

We would like to thank our sponsors and advertisers who helped us with the fundraising and to everyone who donated prizes for the charity raffle. And of course, thank you to all those who came and were such a great audience for us.

It was a thrilling evening – We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

For a link to a review of the concert follow the link:


Vivaldi Gloria and works by living composers

Saturday 21 May 2016, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Kippington, Sevenoaks

Poster for Cantate Choir's Vivaldi Gloria concert in May 2016Vivaldi Gloria and works by living composers in association with Firehead Editions.

The Cantate Choir will be performing Vivaldi’s Gloria in May. Written in around 1715 it is a joyous, sparkling piece for choir and soloists, with distinctive, sunny harmonies and beautifully expressive moments. This lovely, uplifting music forms the centrepiece of our concert.

Following our tradition of presenting new music, we will also be performing a selection of pieces from Firehead Editions. This is a collective of three contemporary composers: Frederick Frahm, Huw Morgan and Nicholas Wibberley. They have written music for a wide variety of different contexts and are all distinguished composers, conductors and performers. Their music is intelligent, well-considered and attractive, and is performed the world over. We are delighted to be presenting a selection of their recent works, both sacred and secular, which we are sure you will enjoy.

We look forward to welcoming you to an inspiring evening of old and new music.

Tickets are £15 and will be available at Sevenoaks Bookshop or online and by phone from Brown Paper Tickets and 0800 411 8881. They will also available from members of the choir.

You can register to receive e-mail updates from the home page of this website.

Forward dates for your diary

Saturday 14th December 2019 (venue to be confirmed)

J.S. Bach, Christmas Oratorio Parts 1, 2, 3.

Vivace! led by Hazel Brooks join forces once again with Cantate to perform one of Bach’s most famous and celebrated works.  The first three of six parts take us from the beginning of the Christmas story to the birth of Jesus and the celebrations of the Shepherds, so it’s the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit!

Visiting Choir- Rochester Cathedral

Cantate Choir visit Rochester Cathedral.

rochester photo 1 rochester photo 2


For the weekend of October 24th-25th we were privileged to be the visiting choir at Rochester Cathedral singing the services on Saturday and Sunday. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to sing church music in this  beautiful, historical setting, joining a tradition of music for worship that has been continuous since 604AD.

We prepared a fantastic series of pieces spanning the centuries of the finest church music from Ramsay, Purcell and Ayleward to Stanford, Howells and Harris and up to the modern day with the Missa Brevis by Dove.  From rehearsing in the music rooms in one of the towers to sharing a lunch together at Pizza Express as well as becoming, for a short while, part of the life of the cathedral, the whole weekend was very enjoyable. We were delighted to receive so many compliments for our singing from the congregation. It was particularly special to hear the music in the beautiful acoustic of the cathedral and we hope to return to perform in this glorious space some time in the future.

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Gala Concert – Handel’s ‘Messiah’

23rd January 2016
Pamoja Hall – Sevenoaks School

Poster for the Handel's Messiah concert in January 2016


Handel’s Messiah

The Cantate Choir with orchestra ‘Vivace!’ and internationally renowned soloists gave a gala charity performance of this most wonderful of Oratorios to raise money for The Hospice in the Weald.

Choir, orchestra and soloists performing the Hallelujah chorus in Handel's Messiah

The Cantate Choir raised over £10,000 for Hospice in the Weald through it’s Gala Charity Concert on 23rd January 2016. This organisation provides the most outstanding palliative care to the terminally ill, and is heavily reliant on the generosity of the public, local businesses and organisations. Our guest of honour, Lord Sackville, introduced the concert.

The choir performed Handel’s masterpiece under the baton of Robin Walker accompanied by orchestra ‘Vivace!’ who played on period instruments. Cantate also welcomed internationally renowned soloists: soprano Gillian Keith, counter tenor Francesco Ghelardini, tenor Tom Randle and bass Trevor Eliot Bowes.


Conductor – Robin Walker
Leader – Hazel Brooks

Soprano – Gillian Keith
Counter-tenor – Francesco Ghelardini
Tenor – Tom Randle
Bass – Trevor Eliot Bowes

Programme notes

Programme notes by Sarah Kelmsley


Review by Graeme Fife

Summer 2014: Norway tour and Concert, Pining for the Fjords.

Poster for Cantate's 'Pining for the Fjords' concert in June 2015In late May, The Cantate Choir went tour again, this time to Norway.  See the news pages for pictures of the trip. They  gave a concert in Bergen cathedral after which they travelled to the heart of Norway to rekindle their friendship with The Førde Kammerkor to perform there. This choir came to sing with Cantate in Sevenoaks in October 2012.

Once returned the choir reprised the repertoire from the tour to present to an Audience at St. Martin’s Brasted. The concert included performances of Grieg, Norwegian folk songs, Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir, Weelkes, Morley, Stanford and Vaughan Williams, performing madrigals outside on a lovely summer’s evening before moving into the church for the rest of the concert.

Norway Tour 2015 and our Summer Concert Pining for the Fijords

In May Cantate went on a choir tour to Norway to perform at concerts in various locations, renewing friends with Forde Kammerchor who visited the UK a few years ago and performed with Cantate in Otford. The choir first sang in Bergen Cathedral, joined by GNEIS, a young talented local choir. Then taking the trip up the coast the choir visited to Forde. The Forde Kammerchor were wonderful hosts for our visit and everyone enjoyed a convivial evening in a traditional barn where we all rehearsed ready for a concert at Forde Art Gallery. You will see some photos of the choir on the trip, including the one where the two choirs performed the Tapsrondo together!

Pining for the Fijords was our June concert. It was a lovely opportunity to sing the music prepared for the Norway tour to our audience at home. It also meant those choir members who were unable to go to Norway were able to perform some of the special Norwegian-flavoured repertoire that the choir had worked on; while for those who did go it was a chance to remember the unique atmosphere of light and water of Norway in summer, and think of the friends they made there.
So on a lovely, sunny summer’s evening we returned to Brasted to sing music from across the ages. We sang madrigals in the open while the audience enjoyed strawberries and a glass of sparkling wine, then moved inside to perform Monteverdi Beatus Vir along with English music from composers such as Stanford and Vaughan Williams, Norwegian songs by Grieg as well as traditional and modern settings of Scandinavian folksongs.

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Top Choir Kent 2015 – Canterbury Gala Concert

Top Choir Kent logo

Top Choir Kent logo

As winners of Top Kent Choir, 2014, we performed at a special celebration in March to mark five years of this competition which does so much to raise money for charity. We joined six other choirs, all past finalists or runners up, each performing a 15 minute repertoire in the Shirley Hall in Canterbury.  We included a clapping song too – which you can see us performing below. The evening culminated in a special performance by all the choirs and audience together of a special arrangement of ‘Help’ – the song by the Beatles – to mark its fiftieth anniversary. The whole event celebrated live music and singing, and we were delighted to be able to take part.

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(photos copyright John Gichigi and The Rotary Club of Canterbury).


We were delighted to welcome so many people to our Christmas concert last Saturday at St. Nicholas Sevenoaks. We had a uplifting evening singing carols from across the ages, from There is No Rose to a beautiful arrangement of My Heart Will Always Wander by the modern Norwegian composer Magnussen in its first UK performance. There were readings inspired by the Christmas story and some fantastic original accompaniments from the brass quintet Mardi Brass.  They also played a lovely, measured arrangement of the Symphony from the Messiah and a spirited and witty medley of more modern Christmas songs. With audience carols and the rousing backdrop of the organ played by Riccardo Bonci we hope our audience had as enjoyable evening as we did.

On Tuesday before our concert we sang carols at Sevenoaks Station for the Red Cross Ebola appeal. We thank our friends and family who helped us with the collection as we sang. We raised over £350. We continued our collection after the concert itself and were able to contribute in total to the fund just over £1000 which was a fantastic achievement. Thank you to everyone for your support.

Cantate at the Spiegeltent – Canterbury Festival

Read report on concert

11.00am, Saturday 25 October – Spiegletent, Canterbury


We are delighted to be performing at the Spiegletent at the Canterbury Festival as winner of the Top Choir Kent competition. The concert takes place at 11am  on the 25th October. The venue is unique – part baroque ballroom part exotic marquee – and fantastic for an intimate and exciting concert.  Do come and join us as we present a morning of madrigals, classical pieces, folk song and jazz. There is something for everyone from Gabrieli to Tea for Two.Choir practising in the Spiegeltent

With other grcanterbury_festival140x210-140x210eat events continuing throughout the day why not take in a guided walk, or a comedy performance, rounded off with an evening concerSpiegeltentt by acclaimed choral group ‘Voces 8’ in Canterbury cathedral – make a day of it!


The Spitfire ground is a 2 minute drive or 10 minute walk from the centre of town, postcode CT1 3NZ . Parking is easy in that area.

Tickets are only £5 from the festival box office and will be available on the door.

For full details on the festival and booking go to and for our concert go to