The Youth Of Today!

Cantate is a mixed-voice youth choir based in Bishop’s Stortford and is widely recognised as one of the UK’s outstanding choirs for young people.

With nearly 150 singers aged 8 to 18 in three choirs, it has a reputation for innovative, dynamic and musical performances of the highest quality, yet is open to anyone to join without audition.

Throughout the Season, the choirs perform concerts within their home areas of Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire as well as appearing in prestigious venues throughout the south of England.

Cantate has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, both in the BBC and Schools Prom Concerts, the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican, 10 Downing Street and St Paul’s Cathedral. Regular tours to Europe have been a feature of Cantate’s calendar for many years, with the choir performing to packed churches in the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, St Mark’s Basilica in Venice and the church of Saint-Merri in Paris.

Cantate is no stranger to competition success. A previous winner of the Sainsbury’s Children’s Choir of the Year (2000), the choir achieved international acclaim at the world’s largest choral event – the World Choir Games in Graz, Austria (2008) – in which over 430 choirs from some 90 countries competed. Cantate won gold and silver medals, and was the only UK choir to win a gold medal in the finals. Cantate regularly wins top awards at the Music for Youth National Festival in the UK.

Cantate has appeared on BBC Songs of Praise several times, and has worked and recorded under conductors including Sir Andrew Davis and John Rutter. It is proud to have the active support of three honorary patrons: Baroness Genista McIntosh , Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe and composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. 

All three choirs perform a repertoire that embraces the best of the Classical, Show and Pop traditions, as well as music from around the world. All members of Cantate are given percussion work as a crucial part of their education in the choir, starting with simple Samba and moving to complex presentations of rhythm and movement that are a feature of many of the concerts.

As well as being a non-auditioned, open-access choir, there is also a well-established bursary fund so that there are no barriers to membership.

It therefore relies heavily on sponsorship, grants, donations and voluntary help, and an appeal was launched in 2011. Cantate was founded by Michael Kibblewhite in 1994. Since 2010 it has been led by Nicholas Shaw and Graham Instrall who head an inspirational professional team of pianists, directors and singing teachers.


To find out more about Cantate and its upcoming events and to buy tickets and merchandise please visit our website.