Cantilena is a four-part mixed choir of around 30 voices, whose repertoire seeks to be bold and wide-ranging.
Borne out of the Wells Chamber Choir, Cantilena was established in 1979, being based for some years at St John’s Church, Glastonbury, under its first conductor, Robin Walker, who was Organist and Choirmaster of St John’s at the time. Robin was succeeded by local organist and composer, Brendan Ashe, who handed on the baton in 1988 to our present Music Director, Tony Bevan, one of the famous Bevan family of musicians from Croscombe. For ten years from 2000, the choir had the unusual and quite successful arrangement of being under the direction of the Organ Scholars of Wells Cathedral, until Tony returned in 2010 when the arrangement ceased.
The choir is now based at St Mary’s RC Church, Glastonbury, rehearsing there on Tuesday evenings, but we have given concerts in many different venues, particularly in local places of worship, including Sherborne Abbey, but also at Glastonbury Abbey, GlastonburyTown Hall, the Abbey House, Edgarley Recital Hall, the Rural Life Museum and even Taunton Museum!
Over the years Cantilena had been able to draw on the expertise of many local instrumentalists and talented soloists, some of whom have made a name for themselves in the wider world of music, such as the London-based soprano, Sophie Bevan, the baritone, Robert Clark, of Voces 8, and international baritone soloist, Ben Bevan.
We wish to make good music accessible for performers and audience alike, so we keep subscriptions and prices low, including our £1.00 ticket price offer for children under 15.
The word “cantilena” means “a musical passage of sustained lyricism” which is the quality we aim to bring to our work.