Cantamus Advent

The Hawkchurch concert is on Tuesday 17 December at 7pm. Tickets are £10 on the door and this includes mulled wine and mince pies.

Cantamus members have been performing together since 2012 (with a few personnel changes) and have secured quite a reputation for their expressive singing, lovely blend and interesting programmes. They rehearse in Bothenhampton, Bridport, and usually give nine concerts a year over three seasons: spring, summer and Advent.

In September the choir appointed a new musical director, Martin Schellenberg, following the retirement of founding MD Malcolm Knowles. Martin is a creative choral and orchestral conductor with many years’ experience, and his ‘day job’ is director of music and organist at St Mary’s Church, Beaminster.

This year will be the fourth time Cantamus have sung in the village’s beautiful church, and their third Advent visit. The singers are delighted that the concert includes a preview of the church’s Christmas tree festival, as the gorgeous decorations and glittering lights provide such a festive backdrop to the seasonal music.

Cantamus perform a range of both sacred and secular music, and unusually among local choirs their programmes are made up of groups of songs, rather than being built around a major work. This mean there’s plenty of variety and something for everyone. This year’s Advent programme, for example, is called ‘O come, Emmanuel’, after a gorgeous piece by living composer Bob Chilcott, and also includes a series of anonymous antiphonal chants and a haunting, ethereal arrangement of ‘Es ist ein Ros entsprungen’ by Praetorious. More widely known pieces include the ‘Cherry Tree Carol’ and the ‘Sussex Carol’; ‘Jesus Christ the Apple Tree’ by Elizabeth Poston; a beautiful arrangement of ‘Silent Night’; and ‘The Lamb’ by John Tavener.

For more information, including the full Advent programme, visit or the choir’s Facebook page (‘Cantamus – Dorset’).

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