Category Archives: Previous concerts

Handel’s Messiah

9th March 2024

‘Whether I was in my body or out of my body as I wrote it I know not. God knows’ – So said Handel of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ in his Messiah in 1741.

Blending majestic choruses, tender and intimate arias, and expressive orchestration Handel’s Messiah tells the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The powerful narrative that flows through this piece as the drama unfolds, the range of moods and the beautiful alignment of text and music all combine to make this magnificent work the most celebrated oratorio in the choral repertoire. We were delighted to be performing again with Vivace! the period instrument ensemble for the first time since Covid.

Conductor Robin Walker.

Leader Hazel Brooks.


Soprano: Katherine Gregory
Countertenor: Alasdair Austin
Tenor: Joseph Hancock
Bass: Tom Butler

Christmas with Cantate – Christmas 2023

For our Christmas concert we performed spiritual and secular music to celebrate the season. Our programme presented a fantastic range of pieces featuring traditional carols alongside new discoveries from across the ages. We sung Bach’s motet Komm, Jesu, komm together with German, French and English carols as well as popular Christmas songs. We also performed less well known music including pieces by late Renaissance composer Marenzio and contemporary Lativan composer Dubra. With music by Praetorius and Brahms, Rutter and Willcocks we offered a wonderful range of pieces, some peaceful and some lively, all full of the spirit of Christmas. There were selections of favourite audience carols for everyone to join in with too. It was a wonderful and varied programme designed for all ages and all interests: we had a great audience join us for the evening as we got the Christmas season well underway.

The Spice of Life – June 2023

Our summer concert Spice of Life was held on Saturday 17th June 2023 at the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Tonbridge- our organist was our good friend Iestyn Evans.

We continued to celebrate our 20th Year with a gala concert presenting our favourite music, drawn from our performances over the last 20 years, including Vivaldi’s Gloria, Gabrieli’s Jubilate Deo and Bruckner’s Locus Iste. From Gesulado to Rheinberger, Rachmaninov to Whitacre – a range to ensure there was something to delight everyone in our programme. We also performed pieces by Frahm, Morgan and Magnussen, composers who have been great friends of the choir, as well as Over the Rainbow (which we sang, along with the Gabrieli, when we won Top Choir Kent) and The Wellerman – recalling a dewy morning in Knole Park. We were also very excited to be able to welcome back past members of the choir to sing with us again – making this an extra special finale to our Anniversary year.


Saturday 13th May 2023

Poster for the Cantate Choir's Tudor Voices concert in March 2023

Out of one of the most violent periods of religious and political history in England came some of the most sumptuous and divine music ever written. This year marked 400 years since the death of two of the most noted figures of English choral music – William Byrd and Thomas Weelkes. In this concert we paid tribute to these two masters with performances including Salvator mundi by Tallis and Byrd’s Teach me, O Lord and Ne irascaris domine; it also featured other sacred and secular highlights of this era, including works by Gibbons (This is the record of John), Tomkins (When David heard), Dowland (Come again, sweet love doth now invite), as well as a setting of Greensleeves (attributed to Henry VIII).We had a wonderful evening of music from Tudor composers.

Tchaikovsky Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

Saturday 28th January 2023

Ely Cathedral with Ipswich Choral Society

Saturday 4th February 2023

The Chapel of St Augustine, Tonbridge School

Poster for Cantate Choir's Hymn of the Cherubim concert in February 2023

We performed Tchaikovsky’s settings of texts taken from the Divine
Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. We had performed it the previous week in Ely Cathedral which has been an amazing experience – collaborating with Ipswich Choral Society. For our own concert we were in chapel in Tonbridge School.

This is the most celebrated of the Eucharistic services of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Tchaikovsky felt a deep connection with this part of Orthodox worship, writing to a friend that, ‘it is impossible not to be profoundly moved by the liturgy of our own Orthodox Church… to be startled from one’s trance by a burst from the choir; to be carried away by the poetry of this music; to be thrilled when… the words ring out, ‘Praise the name of the Lord!’ – all this is infinitely precious to me! One of my deepest joys!’

The concert opened with a setting of the Prayer for Ukraine. It took place in the glorious setting of St. Augustine Chapel at Tonbridge School.

The programme also featured solo organ pieces including works by Dupré, Vierne, Rheinberger and Reger; this was an opportunity to hear the marvellous Marcussen Organ in the chapel.

Intense and stirring, made all the more thrilling in the
atmosphere of the chapel, we hope you enjoyed our performance as much as we did.







Poster for Cantate Choir's November 2022 20th Anniversary concert of Poulenc's Gloria

We performed a selection of music – Mendelssohn’s Lauda Sion, Magnussen’s beautiful setting of the Shakespeare lyric Fear No More, Vierne’s Les Angelus (for soprano solo and organ) and Poulenc’s Gloria; this last piece we performed to celebrate our twentieth anniversary – it was one of the pieces we performed for our first concert.

We were delighted to be joined by Soprano Gwen Martin and Organist Charles Andrews. Robin Walker, our director of music, conducted

Poulenc’s Gloria, completed in 1960, is one of his best-known works. It moves through many moods from jocular to mysterious, from melodious to joyous – sparkling with energy and excitement even its quieter more intricate moments and most especially in its glorious fanfares. The complex organ part evokes the brilliance and drama of a full orchestra. We enjoyed performing this 20 years ago and were delighted to return to it again to celebrate our anniversary.

First performed in 1846, though not published until after Mendelssohn’s death, Lauda Sion was composed to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Corpus Christi. It is celebratory and majestic, most often described as adopting a melodious Italianate style, and reaches a dramatic climax before a calm conclusion in the final movement.

Jonas Magnussen’s setting of the Shakespeare’s song from Cymbeline – Fear no More the Heat ‘o the Sun – simply stirs with soulful beauty.

Gwen Martin and Robin Walker performed Vierne’s Les Angelus, a work of wonderful clarity, at times intense, at others serene, perfect for in St Martin’s church.

Summer 2022 concert


St. Mary’s Church, Platt

Sprig of Thyme

Conductor Robin Walker

We were delighted to perform our programme of American and English folk songs with music by Vaughan Williams, Rutter, Copland and Frahm.

We conjured a world of ballads and love songs where you could walk country lanes and sail the seven seas; find many wonders and curiosities – from American bandicoots to ghostly lovers – and hear the calls of the Ohio river boatmen and listen to the philosophies of the Miller of Dee.

In the 150th anniversary year of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ birth we sung Five English Folk Songs, together with John Rutter’s Sprig of Thyme; together these represent a lovely collection of songs, some recognisable, others less well-known.

Aaron Copland’s sound world is unmistakable in his settings of old American songs, whether he is reworking a minstrel song that recalls America’s majestic rivers or updating a lively farmyard nonsense song.

We were particularly excited to present the world premiere of Late-Night Lyrics by Frederick Frahm including a setting of the poem by Emily Dickinson, ‘I felt a Funeral, in my Brain’. Late-Night Lyrics is a set of three sophisticated and subtle songs on three very different themes.

At times infectious, energetic tunes, at others wistful storytelling, these songs were wide ranging, bringing a host of characters (and animals!) to life. Folk songs tell us many things about beauty and loss, nature and the rhythms of life; this proved to be a perfect selection for a summer’s evening to celebrate the many stories they tell.


St. Mary, Kippington


Conductor Robin Walker

We are delighted to be presenting this programme of richly layered and
dramatic sacred pieces. This is the concert we had been about to perform when
covid struck in 2020 and we are very pleased to be returning to these pieces
once again.

Kodály was born in Hungary and stayed there during the Nazi occupation. In
the last stages of the war he took refuge in the Budapest Opera House and it
was there that he composed Missa Brevis, building on an
earlier work composed in 1942. Its first official premiere was at the Three
Choirs Festival in Worcester in 1948.

The piece is imbued with folk melodies and romanticism. There are moments of
yearning and moments of joyousness; intense and rich, gentle and haunting,
exuberant and exultant, this piece is wonderful to perform and we hope you will
enjoy discovering it if you have not heard it before. 

Four Sacred PiecesQuattro pezzi sacri, were
written separately between 1886 and 1897, towards the end of the Verdi’s life.
 They were published together in 1898 and they are generally performed in
the publisher’s order, rather than chronologically.

Ave Maria was a piece composed to try and harmonise the
enigmatic scale. Intended  as an exercise, it was not originally written
for public performance. The melody is sung by each line in turn and the other
parts harmonise around it, resulting in a lush and beautiful piece.

Stabat Mater is a theatrical composition as the music moves
between the different dramatic moods of the crucifixion.

Laudi alla Vergine Maria is a setting of a prayer in Canto
XXXIII of Dante’s Paradiso, a joyous hymn to the Virgin Mary, for four female
voices a cappella. Gentle and beautiful this is a moment of peace.

Te Deum is a setting for double chorus and provides another
opportunity for operatic drama. The piece ranges from lyrical passages to
thundering climaxes, providing stirring contrasts of mood and movement. This is
the piece Verdi wanted buried with him when he died.

The series as a whole provides music of great beauty and drama. If you came
to our performance of Christmas Oratorio in 2019, you will know we can promise
you an exciting and exhilarating concert. We hope you will join us on the 26th

(UPDATED – when we actually performed the concert covid had unfortunately prevented Charles Andrews from playing the organ)




We were very sad to have to cancel our Christmas concert due to the Omicron strain of Covid that was on the

Christmas with Cantate concert poster, December 2021

After our recent successful concert – a Serenade to Music – The Cantate Choir return again with our Christmas concert taking place at St.Mary Platt on Saturday 18th December.

We were overwhelmed with the fantastic audience who joined us for our November concert, after such a long wait. Now we are back again to celebrate Christmas with a wonderful programme of carols and music for the festive season, with the organ in full song.

We will be performing a variety of traditional Christmas carols from across the ages and we will be including audience favourites too – come and sing along! Having had to cancel Christmas concerts last year we are looking forward to returning full of excitement and good cheer. The Christmas season is well upon us and we hope you will join us to celebrate the festivities in the traditional way!

For the latest covid precautions at our concerts click here.

Serenade to Music

13th November, St. Martin’s Brasted

We were delighted to be back rehearsing for this Autumn. It was a challenging 18 months being unable to gather, sing and plan for concerts since we had to postpone our Spring 2020 concert so many months ago. We have been very excited to be able to rehearse again and have an exciting series of concerts lined up. This first concert of 2021 was particularly exciting as we had such a wonderful audience come to our performance to welcome us back.

Our first welcome back concert for 2021 took place on 13th November at St Martin’s Church, Brasted at 19.30.

We had missed singing so very much that our first programme was a collection of our favourite pieces which we had not been able to perform for a while. Our concert Serenade to Music was a celebration of music and included a range of contemplative, uplifting and majestic works by Handel, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Parry, Vaughan Williams, Britten and Stanford.

We celebrated music and harmony with pieces that explore the inspiring nature of music and song from composers across the centuries. Our concert included performances of Ave verum, Mozart and My heart is inditing by Handel. We sang Mendelssohn’s How lovely are the Messengers together with Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, including pieces by Stanford and Britten (Hymn to St Cecilia) and concluding with the stirring Blest Pair of Sirens by Parry. These included settings of words drawn from the Bible, as well as verses by Shakespeare, Milton and Auden, all exploring and celebrating music in its many uplifting guises.

Director of Music Robin Walker conducted and Ian Shaw will joined us on the organ.

Christmas Oratorio december 2019

Saturday 14th December 2019 at 7.30pm
at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Tonbridge.

Cantate was once again joined by their sister ensemble Vivace! to perform the first half of Bach’s great setting of the Christmas story. The first three Cantatas took us from the announcement and birth of the Christ-child to the shepherds going to Bethlehem to visit the stable. Masterful story-

telling and joyous choral music always make this piece a wonderful way to start the Christmas season.

For this special concert, Cantate was delighted to welcome back Gwen Martin (soprano) and Nick Pritchard (tenor) and to work with Natalie Davies (mezzo-soprano) and Cheyney Kent (baritone) for the first time. The period-instrument ensemble Vivace! was led by Hazel Brooks.

We enjoyed a glittering retelling of the Christmas story in the beautiful surroundings of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Tonbridge.

Sounds Ancient Sounds Modern June 2019

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

For our summer concert this year we explored styles of music which challenged us to get out of our comfort zone. We sang 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 was a programme which features exclusively female composers, and we performed 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 concluded our programme with two works by Lauren Redhead, performing one work which is a cappella and a second in which we had an element of improvisation and which we performed with electronics Lauren created especially for this performance.
This was a particularly exciting concert for the choir, working with two contemporary composers exploring the real cutting edge of vocal performance; it challenged us to try a whole new approach as a choir and led to an exciting and enjoyable evening.

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.

Rutter’s Magnificat

Saturday 9 December 2017, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Kippington, Sevenoaks

Poster for Cantate Choir's Christmas Concert in 2017, Rutter's MagnificatOur next concert is on Saturday 9 December at St. Mary’s Church, Kippington, Sevenoaks. This is a Christmas concert including John Rutter’s Magnificat, and music by Poulenc, Bach, Mendelssohn and more.  The Magnificat is an uplifting piece, combining many colourful styles, from sections full of lively energy to moments of peaceful reflection; and it includes the lovely setting of the old English poem ‘Of a Rose’.  Robin Walker will conduct and our organist for the evening will be Riccardo Bonci.

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 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.

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.

Our 2020 Programme


Saturday 20th June 2020, 7.30pm – St Botolph’s Church, Chevening

Midsummer Idyll – folk songs and part songs for a summer evening.


Saturday 7th November 2020, 7.30pm – St Mary’s Church, Kippington

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot – A journey through pivotal moments in history with music for times of Revolution.


Saturday 12th December 2020, 7.30pm – St Mary’s Church, Riverhead

O Tannenbaum – a feast of seasonal music and traditional carols for all the family, surrounded by St Mary’s Christmas Tree Festival.

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.

Fauré’s Requiem

7.30pm, Saturday 28th February 2015 – St. Mary’s Kippington, Sevenoaks

Poster for Faure Requiem concert in February 2015The choir performed this compelling Requiem together with a programme including mezzo soprano and baritone solos,  other choral works and an organ work by John Ellis as well as his choral piece, The Mass of the Grove.

Top Kent Choir, 2015

Top Choir Kent logo
Top Choir Kent logo

Saturday 28th March 2015, Canterbury

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. 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. See photos of us performing by following this link.

A Gala Christmas

7.30pm, Saturday 13 December – St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks

A Gala Christmas concert poster


Robin WalkerConductor
Mardi BrassBrass quintet
Riccardo BonciOrgan
Linsay MartinReader
Lawrence ThornburyReader


Carol arr. Robin Walker – Once in Royal David’s city
Reading John Milton – The Invocation from Paradise Lost
Choir Boris Ord – Adam lay ybounden
Carol arr. David Willcocks – Of the Father’s heart begotten
Reading Rainer Mari Rilke – Annunciation to Mary translated by Mary Dows Herter Norton
Choir Villette – Hymne à la Vierge
Carol John Goss, arr. David Willcocks – See amid the winter’s snow
Reading Henry Vaughan – Christ’s Nativity
Choir Praetorius – In dulci jubilo
Choir A. Pärt – Bogoroditse dyevo
Carol, adapted by Arthur Sullivan – It came upon the midnight clear
Reading Sidney Godolphin – Hymn
Brass solo G.F. Handel – Symphony from Messiah
Choir Anon (ed. Stevens) – There is no rose - 15th C.
Carol arr. Mardi Brass – O little town of Bethlehem
Choir F. Mendelssohn – Rejoice and be glad all ye nations
Choir arr. Poston – The Boar’s head carol
Carol arr. Mardi Brass – Ding dong merrily on high
Reading John Betjeman – Christmas
Choir arr. Mardi Brass – God rest ye merry gentlemen
Choir arr. J. Magnussen – My heart will always wander trad. Norwegian
Carol arr. Mardi Brass – Silent night
Reading Ted Hughes – Minstral’s Song
Choir arr. Mardi Brass – The First nowell
Reading T.S. Elliot – The Cultivation of Christmas Trees
Brass soloLet it Blow
Carol arr. Mardi Brass – Hark the Herald

Programme notes

View programme notes

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

Music for a summer evening

7.00pm, Saturday 14 June – St Martin’s Church, Brasted

Front cover


Robin WalkerConductor
Iestyn EvansOrgan


T. Campion 1557—1620 – Never weather-beaten sail
J. Bartlet fl. 1606—10 – Of all the birds that I do know
R. Jones fl. 1597—1615 – Farewell, dear love
G. Finzi 1901—56 – My spirit sang all day
E. Elgar 1857—1934 – As torrents in summer
C.H.H. Parry 1848—1918 – Music, when soft voices die
C.V. Stanford 1852—1924 – The blue bird
F. Delius 1862—1934 – To be sung of a summer night on the water (two unaccompanied part-songs)
G.B. Pergolesi 1710—1736 – Magnificat
A. Hollins 1865—1942 – A Trumpet Minuet
J. Jongen 1873—1953 – Petite Prélude
M. Lanquetuit 1894—1985 – Toccata
Eric Whitaker b. 1970 – Sleep
G.F. Handel 1685—1759 – My heart is inditing

Programme notes

View programme notes