The Cantabile Chamber Singers (= CCS) is a non-profit chamber choir of 16-20 singers dedicated to making music of the highest caliber and social awareness. They perform a diverse repertoire, from Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina to Whitacre and music that was written yesterday. Formed in 2006, the choir is comprised of experienced singers whose areas of study range from music to medicine. Their musical expertise has lead them to perform under such conductors as Maestro Helmuth Rilling, Maestro Peter Oundjian, Dr. Doreen Rao and Dr. Jerzy Cichocki. They have come together for several reasons: for the love of music and the joy we can bring to others through the music we make, while helping to bring awareness to causes that impact society.
Keeping with its mission and vision of community outreach and social justice issues, CCS is a not-for-profit organization where its members believe that music can help bring awareness to social issues such as poverty, discrimination and illness. We hope to enrich the lives of those to come to our concerts and more importantly those who benefit from them.
CCS was founded in 2006 by Cheryll Chung as an advanced ensemble to further her development as a conductor. She was the assistant conductor of the Macmillan Singers at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, and was finishing her final year of her Master’s degree in Conducting. Following a successful inaugural benefit concert for the Regent Park School of Music in April 2006, a group of students and colleagues in her ‘practice choir’ approached Cheryll to consider forming an ensemble in which they could continue to make music together and make a difference in society. The choir provides an opportunity for ongoing learning and development as well as rewarding performances; this is balanced with a reasonable time commitment, as the choir rehearses once a week within the school year.
CCS has performed benefit concerts exclusively in tandem with the following organizations: Regent Park School of Music, Literature for Life (an organization that empowers at-risk teenage mothers through literature), the St. Clement’s Catholic and Anglican Churches rebuilding fund, Out of the Cold, Seaton House, Michael R. Applin Nursing Award (Toronto General Hospital), and the Canadian Cancer Society.
Musical highlights from the above concerts included the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé, all of the motets by Anton Bruckner, all of the motets by Maurice Duruflé that are based on Gregorian Chant, choruses from the Messiah and the Creation by George Frideric Handel and F.J. Haydn, and a number of works by W.A. Mozart, including his Coronation Mass, choruses from the Magic Flute, and Sancta Maria’ a Marian motet performed with a string quartet.
CCS is committed to the journey of learning, helping to educate those around us through music. As such, we have held two lecture series concerts on Renaissance church music (where Cheryll lectured and conducted), which may otherwise not be accessible to the general audience. We had a successful all Bach concert, celebrating J.S. Bach's life and music with guest lecturer Dr Robin Elliott and guest artist Felix Deak. This was on March 26, 2011 to celebrate J.S. Bach's 326th.
In 2009, CCS held a Remembrance Day concert at St. Anne’s Anglican church featuring Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with young upcoming soloists Lorelle Angelo and Claudia Lemcke, and Gabriel Fauré's Requiem featuring organist Daniel Norman. We also held three outreach concerts during the Christmas Season, including one on Christmas Eve for ‘Out of the Cold’. In order to promote Canadian music, they featured a benefit concert (for the Michael R. Applin Nursing award in pailiative care) on March 13, 2010; the concert included works by Toronto composers (a premiere by Cecilia Livingston, Rob Teehan and Norbert Palej), premieres by Jeff Enns, Jordan Nobles and Robin J. King, and repertoire that was either recently composed or by prominent Canadian composers.
The CCS has been welcomed into the international choral community by being invited to sing at the Mondial Choral Loto- Quebec Festival for two consecutive years, and also at FESTIVAL 500 in St. John’s Newfoundland, where it was warmly received by audiences, the festival, and participating choirs and clinicians.
The CCS looks to continue pushing the limits of choral music and musical excellence by engaging in new works by contemporary composers, while remaining firmly grounded in the rich musical history that has made choral chamber music so desirable.
CCS has released their debut CD ‘Chansons’!