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Cantus Announces 20-21 Season

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Three new online performance events this fall and in-person concerts in the Twin Cities are planned for spring 2021.

Cantus Announces 20-21 Season

Though live in-person performances by Cantus have been suspended for the remainder of 2020, the men's vocal ensemble today announces a series of new performances to be made available online and in-person for the 2020-21 Season. The ensemble's popular COVID-19 Sessions recordings are also set for international release on Signum Classics starting this week.

Fall 2020 Online Concerts from "Camp Cantus"

Thanks to careful quarantine and creativity, Cantus has been able to continue making music during the pandemic and will present three new programs over the coming months to be made available online for audiences in the Twin Cities and around the world. The group's small size has allowed its members to sing together under protocols developed with guidance from medical professionals. To safely create and capture these online concerts, the ensemble quarantined intensively for two weeks, underwent tests for COVID-19, and then rehearsed and recorded together in isolation in Decorah, Iowa at what the members of the ensemble dubbed "Camp Cantus."

The first of these three new programs is There Lies the Home, premiering online October 2, 2020 and available through October 4. Few journeys on our planet are more dangerous than those across the oceans.a??There Lies the Homea??honors the courage, despair, and yearning of those who traverse these tumultuous blue unknowns seeking opportunity or adventure, as well as those fleeing persecution or stolen from their homes. With repertoire spanning riveting sea shanties as "Shenandoah," traditional spirituals like "Steal Away," and the Lake Superior folk classic "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,"a??There Lies the Homea??weaves together stories of the journey, what's left behind, and what's just beyond that blue horizon.

It takes strength to be vulnerable. It takes courage to ask for help. It takes confidence to reach out and connect. Ina??Brave,a??available November 6-8, Cantus examines what it means to identify as a man in a society that prizes conformity over personal authenticity. With works by composers from Fanny Mendelssohn to Sara Bareilles,a??Bravea??takes a nuanced look at evolving ideas of masculinity. The program also includes works by contemporary innovators like Mari Ésabel Valverde and Sydney Guillaume, as well as the world premiere of Griffin Candey's multi-movement work, "Protocol."

Ina??Lessons and Carols for Our Time, Cantus offers a contemporary take on a beloved British Christmas tradition elevated by the Choir of King's College at the University of Cambridge. Weaving together poetry and song, the program draws upon such classic carols as "Silent Night" and "A La Nanita Nana," as well as modern works by Abbie Betinis and Saunder Choi. The concert will also feature Franz Biebl's stunning "Ave Maria," continuing a cherished holiday tradition.

The first half of Christmas with Cantus: Lessons and Carols for Our Time (Lessons 1-5) will be available from 7:30 pm on Friday, December 11 through 7:30 pm on Sunday, December 13. The second half of the program (Lessons 6-9) will be available from 7:30 pm on Friday, December 18 through 7:30 pm on Sunday, December 20.

Cantus' online concerts are available on aa??pay-what-you-can model, with a suggested price of $20a??per household per concert. Tickets for online concerts will go on sale approximatelya??two weeks prior to the concert weekend and can be purchased on the Cantus website.a??Attendees who purchase tickets will receive ana??e-mail with a link to the webpage for the online concert, available for 48-hours.

The COVID-19 Sessions

On Thursday, August 20, Signum Classics begins releasing the COVID-19 Sessions. Recorded on March 17, 19, and 20 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the COVID-19 sessions came together quickly as society began to shut down amidst the growing outbreak in the United States.

"Cantus tour dates and home concerts were being canceled and it was clear there would be only a limited window in which to sing together before the world went on pause," says Paul Scholtz, tenor. "What would social distancing and prohibitions on large gatherings mean for vocal music, our communities, and the world at large?"

The artists recorded these 19 tracks thanks to the expertise of members Chris Foss (audio) and Jacob Christopher (video) and with an enormous amount of uncertainty about what the next weeks and months would bring.a??The COVID-19 Sessions were first released on YouTube and Facebook in the spring of 2020 and racked up millions of views, prompting Signum to release the tracks internationally on digital music providers like Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and Amazon Digitala??in higher than CD - quality audio. The ensemble's performance of "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius will be the first of the COVID-19 Sessions to be released on Signum, followed by repertoire as varied as ?'riks Ešenvalds "Stars," Hildegard von Bingen's sincere "O frondens virga," and Abbie Betinis' haunting "Be Like the Bird

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