Cantus Announces 2024-25 Twin Cities Concert Season

The low-voice ensemble will perform five new programs in fourteen Twin Cities venues and will present Wanting Memories on tour nationwide.

By: May. 30, 2024
Cantus Announces 2024-25 Twin Cities Concert Season
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Cantus has announced its 30th anniversary concert season at home in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and on tour throughout the country.

The eight low voices of Cantus will be heard on stage in fourteen venues in Minnesota with five new programs, additionally presenting their popular annual series of Christmas with Cantus and Covers. Cantus will also welcome the five-time GRAMMY award-winning vocal ensemble The Swingles for a collaborative concert at the Ordway Concert Hall in St. Paul on March 7, and host their annual Cantus Idol competition and fundraiser on May 5, 2025.

Cantus opens the season October 4-13 with five performances of Wanting Memories in Stillwater, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Edina, and Plymouth. Anchored by Ysaÿe M. Barnwell's piece of the same name that has long been a Cantus repertory staple, the program explores the enduring relationship between music and memory. Cantus will also present Wanting Memories on tour from September through March in eleven cities this season, including stops in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The annual Christmas with Cantus: Lessons and Carols takes place at nine venues throughout the Twin Cities from December 12-22; a special family-friendly presentation of Christmas with Cantus will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, December 21 at Westminster Hall in Minneapolis.

From April 4-13, Cantus presents their new program The Secret Letter, which brings to light a clandestine world of forbidden love with works spanning Mari Valverde, Abbie Betinis, Leoš Janáček, and Melissa Etheridge. Their annual Covers series concert, Pure Funk reinvents hits from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Parliament, and runs May 31-June 8 at the Luminary Arts Center. They close the season with a reimagining of Frank Sinatra's groundbreaking concept album In the Wee Small Hours, from July 15-18.

Continuing their proud tradition of collaborative concerts, Cantus will welcome the iconic, international vocal ensemble The Swingles for a concert of fifteen voices performing separately and as one on March 7, 2025 at the Ordway Concert Hall. They will also hold their annual fundraising dinner and Cantus Idol competition at the Metropolitan Ballroom and Clubroom in Golden Valley, MN on May 5, 2025, to support the ensemble's educational outreach efforts.

To complement their live concerts, Cantus will continue to make performances available online to audiences worldwide, with digital subscription packages available that allow access to all livestreamed and on-demand content throughout the season.  Cantus will also continue their pay-what-you-can program, offering single tickets to online performances and single tickets to select subscription concerts in a pay-what-you-can format, starting at $5.

“We can hardly wait for next season's lineup of programs,” says Cantus tenor Paul Scholtz. “Wanting Memories will set the stage as an intensely personal and moving program, but there's something for everyone this year. We can't wait to see you there in-person or virtually!”

Fields of Wonder out on Signum this Fall

This fall, Signum will release Fields of Wonder – the fourth Cantus album on the UK-based label – on which the ensemble performs five song cycles written for low voices. Three of the cycles were composed for Cantus and the record boasts a total of 16 world premiere recordings. Themes are both timeless and relevant, ranging from the immigrant experience in Melissa Dunphy's N-400 Erasure Songs and an exploration of masculinity in Griffin Candey's Protocol to climate change in Gavin Bryar‘s EdwIn Morgen Sonnets, Vol. 2, all anchored by the newly rediscovered Fields of Wonder by Margaret Bonds with poetry by Langston Hughes. Originally performed in concert in 2021, Fields of Wonder was described by the Star-Tribune as “stylistically diverse, impeccably sung and emotionally involving.”

Educational Programs

Cantus will offer its High School Mentorship Program to the students at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis. Inaugurated in the 2023-24 season, the program offers sustained, in-depth, and highly tailored support throughout the season to students. The ensemble will also work with the Minnesota chapter of ACDA to host the second iteration of its Tenor Bass Festival at Grand Rapids High School.

Cantus 2024-25 Season Ticket information

Three-, four-, and five-concert subscription packages go on sale to the public on Saturday, June 1 at Single tickets go on sale September 9. Tickets may also be purchased by calling the Cantus box office at 612-435-0055.

  • Five-concert package: $155 each
  • Four-concert package: $130 each
  • Three-concert package: $102 each

Online and In-person Single Tickets on sale September 9, 2024

  • Single adult ticket - $36
  • Single student ticket - $5
  • Pay-What-You-Can prices - $5, $12, $20, $36, $45

Cantus 2024-25 Hometown Concert Season

**Pay-What-You-Can (starting at $5) Wanting Memories | October 4-13, 2024

Why is it that we can recall the lyrics and melody of a song from our childhood, but we struggle to find our keys in the morning, or find ourselves unable to remember peoples' names? Time and age can cause organized memories to gradually become a maze of fragments, but music often remains the one thing that helps us to remember who we are. As memory fades, is music the final conduit for our memories and connection to our past? 

Cantus explores the unique and enduring relationship between music and memory in all of our lives. Through selections that include timeless tunes like “Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World” and anchored by Ysaÿe M. Barnwell's “Wanting Memories,” this performance traverses the realms of nostalgia and family, loss and love, grief, laughter, fear and hope. More information  

Friday, October 4, 7:30 pm – Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater**
Saturday, October 5, 7:30 pm – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis 
Sunday, October 6, 3:00 pm – Sundin Hall, Saint Paul
Thursday, October 10, 11:00 am - Meetinghouse Church, Edina (online live and on-demand through Oct. 20)
Sunday, October 13, 3:00 pm - St. Philip the Deacon, Plymouth

Repertoire to include:

Christmas with Cantus | December 12-22, 2024

Cantus offers a modern reinterpretation of a timeless tradition. Blending poetry with sacred and secular song, Cantus reimagines the beloved format of Nine Lessons and Carols made famous by the Choir of King's College at the University of Cambridge. 

The program spans a range of cultures and contexts from 12th-century chant by Hildegard von Bingen to Pentatonix's “Light in the Hallway.” More information   

Thursday, December 12, 11:00 am – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis (online live and on-demand through Jan. 2)
Friday, December 13, 7:00 pm - Zumbro Lutheran Church, Rochester
Saturday, December 14, 7:30 pm - Capri Theatre, Minneapolis**
Sunday, December 15, 3:00 pm - St. Philip the Deacon, Plymouth
Monday, December 16, 7:30 pm – Hamline Church United Methodist, Saint Paul
Tuesday, December 17, 11:00 am - Meetinghouse Church, Edina
Thursday, December 19, 7:30 pm – Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, Saint Paul
Friday, December 20, 7:30 pm – Ordway Concert Hall, Saint Paul
Saturday, December 21, 3:30 pm – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis - family friendly**
Sunday, December 22, 3:00 pm - Trinity Lutheran, Stillwater

Repertoire to include:

  • Hildegard von Bingen (arr. Chris Foss): Frondens Virga
  • Linda Kachelmeier: We Toast the Days
  • Traditional French (arr. Saunder Choi): Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Traditional Spiritual (arr. Marvin Curtis): Go Tell It on the Mountain
  • Kim Gannon, Walter Kent: I'll Be Home for Christmas

The Secret Letter | April 4-13, 2025

For centuries, a clandestine world of forbidden love has thrived within the pages of passionate letters, spanning nearly two millennia. The Secret Letter delves deep into the intimate exchanges that defied societal norms and ignited flames of love in the shadows. Through the evocative works of Mari Valverde, Abbie Betinis, Leoš Janáček, Melissa Etheridge and others, Cantus celebrates the indomitable spirit and timeless allure of love. Join Cantus in a mesmerizing exploration of love's enduring legacy—a testament to resilience, passion, and the boundless power that transcends time itself.

More information  

Friday, April 4, 7:30 pm – Sundin Hall, Saint Paul**
Sunday, April 6, 3:00 pm - Trinity Lutheran, Stillwater
Thursday, April 10, 11:00 am – Meetinghouse Church, Edina
Saturday, April 12, 7:30 pm – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis (online live and on-demand through April 20)
Sunday, April 13, 3:00 pm - St. Philip the Deacon, Plymouth

Repertoire to include:

  • Robert Pearsall (arr. Reed Criddle): Lay a Garland
  • Consuelo Velázquez (arr. José Galván): Bésame Mucho
  • Francis Poulenc: From Figure Humaine, Un Loup
  • Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein: From The King and I, “We Kiss in the Shadow”
  • Mari Esabel Valverde: Before Spring

Covers: Pure Funk | May 31-June 8, 2025

Get up, get down, get yourself ready to dance and sing along to Funky hits that keep your heart thumping! Join Cantus as they put their soulful harmonic spin on tunes you know and love. Featuring the music of Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Earth Wind & Fire, and more, Cantus' Pure Funk setlist is a testament to the timeless power of groove. More information  

All performances at the Luminary Arts Center, Minneapolis

Saturday, May 31, 7:30 pm
Sunday, June 1, 3:00 pm 
Friday, June 6, 7:30 pm**
Saturday, June 7, 7:30 pm
Sunday, June 8, 7:30 pm

Available for online on-demand streaming from June 13 through June 22**

Repertoire to include:

In the Wee Small Hours | July 15-18, 2025

Explore the depths of the night with Cantus as they reimagine Frank Sinatra's groundbreaking concept album, In the Wee Small Hours. As with art song cycles by compositional giants like Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf, Sinatra's seminal work lays bare the intimate journey of the heartbroken. It reflects on fading memories both raw and nostalgic but ultimately finds a path toward acceptance. Cantus croons its way through some of Ol' Blue Eyes' most famous songs.  More information
Tuesday, July 15, 7:30 pm – Landmark Center, Saint Paul
Wednesday, July 16, 7:30 pm – The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis
Thursday, July 17, 11:00 am – Westminster Hall, Minneapolis (online live and on-demand through July 27)
Friday, July 18, 7:30 pm – American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis**  
Repertoire to include:

Special Event: Cantus & The Swingles | March 7, 2025

Two ensembles, 15 voices, unlimited possibilities! Cantus partners with The Swingles, the iconic UK vocal ensemble for a must-see collaborative concert with repertoire spanning nearly every genre and time period. Performing separately and together, these renowned vocal chamber ensembles will feature incredible arrangements and original music built for their unique, trademark sounds.

This collaboration continues Cantus' proud tradition of sharing the stage with such groups as Chanticleer, Canadian Brass and Sweet Honey in the Rock, offering audiences a standout performance of the season.   

Friday, March 7, 2025, 7:30 pm at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Special events are not part of subscription packages.

Tickets for Cantus and The Swingles go on-sale Sept. 9.

Now in its 30th anniversary season, the “engaging” (New Yorker) low-voice ensemble Cantus is widely known for its trademark warmth and blend, innovative programming and riveting performances of music ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century. The Washington Post has hailed the Cantus sound as having both “exalting finesse” and “expressive power” and refers to the “spontaneous grace” of its music making. The Philadelphia Inquirer called the group nothing short of “exquisite.”

As one of the nation's few full-time vocal ensembles, Cantus has come to prominence with its distinctive approach to creating music. Working without a conductor, the members of Cantus rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing to the entirety of the artistic process, creating programs that give voice to shared human experiences. As the Star Tribune has written, “The main hallmark of the Cantus sound has always been sheer quality and an unbroken belief in the special way that vocal music has of warming and invigorating the human spirit.”

Cantus enjoys a vigorous schedule of national and international touring, in addition to home concerts in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Cantus has performed at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, UCLA, San Francisco Performances, Tanglewood and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Cantus also makes all of its home concerts available online. This pandemic-prompted innovation has brought the ensemble's programs to audiences spanning 50 states and sixteen countries.

Cantus records for the UK-based Signum Classics label which has released the popular COVID-19 Sessions, Manifesto, and holiday album Into the Light.  Cantus also has a deep catalog of recordings released on the group's eponymous label.

Committed to the expansion of the vocal music repertoire, Cantus actively commissions new music and seeks to unearth rarely performed repertoire for low voices. Cantus has received commissioning grants from New Music USA, the National Endowment for the Arts, Chorus America, American Composers Forum and Chamber Music America. In 2023, Cantus was honored with the Alice Parker Fund Award from Chorus America that recognizes the exemplary work of an ensemble that respectfully and authentically presents works incorporating Black and Latinx traditions and experiences. In line with Cantus' ongoing commitment to fostering new works for tenors, baritones, and basses, the ensemble has partnered with composer and former Cantus bass Timothy C. Takach and Graphite Publishing on the Cantus Choral Series, distributing Cantus' signature arrangements and compositions for ensembles everywhere to perform and enjoy.

Cantus has a rich history of collaborations with other performing arts organizations, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops, Chanticleer, the Canadian Brass, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Lorelei Ensemble, Theater Latté Da and the James Sewell Ballet. The ensemble is heard frequently on both classical public radio nationwide and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Integral to the Cantus mission is its commitment to preserve and strengthen music education in schools. Cantus works with more than 5,000 students each year in masterclass and workshop settings across the country and has been in-residence in 31 Minnesota high schools throughout their award-winning program's 15-year history. In the 2023-24 season, Cantus deepened its commitment to students by creating the High School Mentorship program, which offers Cantus artists in-residence at one Twin Cities-based high school for the entirety of the school year. Cantus has also broadened its work by launching a yearly, statewide festival in partnership with American Choral Directors Association Minnesota catered to high school tenor and bass singers. Additionally, the ensemble hosts an annual Young and Emerging Composers Competition to encourage the creation of new repertoire through cash prizes, a performance, recording, and potential publication of winning composers.


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