We are a community choir, with no restrictions on who may join other than age: anyone over 18 is eligible, and we have no audition requirement. All we’re looking for is an enthusiasm for singing and a commitment to the rehearsal process.

Because of Wales’s Covid-19 restrictions the Chorus has not performed in public since January 2020. In September 2021 we resumed singing together in our usual rehearsal space, wearing masks and observing sanitary and social distancing protocols for the time being.

In 'normal' times, rehearsals take place every Wednesday at 7.45 pm at Canton Uniting Church, Cowbridge Road East, CF5 1LQ and currently last about 90 minutes with a short break. In the past we have typically performed two concerts a year – a winter concert in late January or early February, and a summer concert in July – but currently our plans are on hold until the Covid-19 situation becomes clearer. Our winter concerts have normally focused on large-scale works with orchestra, such as Duruflé’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Bach’s Magnificat. At our last performance in January 2020 we gave well-received performances of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and the first part of Handel’s Israel in Egypt at St John’s Church in Canton.

Our summer concert has usually consisted of smaller chamber works and solos from members of the choir. More information about our past performances can be found in the ‘Archive’ section.

In addition, members of the choir have been involved in several Welsh National Opera community projects and with the Cardiff-based Opera Mint. We have forged links with other singers across South Wales, performed in the Wales Millennium Centre, and other public performance spaces across the country. We have also received invitations to take part in choral workshops organised by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales Chorus under Adrian Partington.

From time to time we have also arranged our own vocal workshops with a view to improving our knowledge and technique. Most recently, in March 2021, we were able to enjoy a voice workshop via Zoom with the inspiring Frankie Armstrong.


Where appropriate – and when financial considerations permit – we use a professional orchestra and soloists in our concerts. Often the soloists are recent graduates of the nearby Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; which means we can offer valuable experience and exposure at the start of their careers.

Canton Chorus is a registered charity. Its objects are:
 

  • to advance, improve, develop and maintain public education in, and appreciation of, the art of choral singing and associated musical activity, through any means the Trustees see fit, including the provision of rehearsals under skilled guidance and public performance;
     

  • to further such charitable purpose or purposes as the Trustees in their absolute discretion shall think fit, in relation to the practice of choral singing.
     

Canton Chorus is a membership organisation, open to any person interested in furthering the objects of the choir. Its day-to-day management is in the hands of the Trustees, who are elected by members at an Annual General Meeting.
 

Personal information is collected and held with the consent of those concerned or such as is necessary in order to make or fulfil a contract, for purposes inherent in or closely connected with the objects of the organisation. This information is available to Trustees and to persons designated by the Trustees to hold or use the information. A copy of our Data Protection Statement can be downloaded here.

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Our Ethos

  1. Membership is not restricted on grounds of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or any other condition. Our only restriction is a minimum age limit of 18. We do not require an audition to join the choir. All that is required is an enthusiasm for singing, and a commitment to the rehearsal process.
     

  2. The choir is part of the wider amateur musical community. Over the past four years, members of the choir have been involved in several Welsh National Opera Community Projects. This has benefited the choir enormously as those of us involved have had the opportunity to extend our knowledge in several areas of singing and performing techniques.  We have forged links with other singers across South Wales, performed in the Wales Millennium Centre, and other public performance spaces across the country. We have also received invitations to take part in choral workshops organised by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales Chorus under Adrian Partington.
     

  3. We have forged links with the professional musical community in Cardiff and beyond. Our annual winter concert is often accompanied by a professional orchestra and soloists, most of whom have  studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, or Cardiff University.
     

  4. We are part of the wider community, having performed in different churches and venues in Canton and Splott. Our performances contribute to the wide array of classical music making in Cardiff, and aim to be as accessible as possible to the public.

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John Abraham, Musical Director

 

John Abraham studied conducting at the Cranford Summer School of Music in the early 1980s, and has subsequently undertaken courses with the Association of British Choral Directors. John’s love of music, alongside his social conscience, inspired him to lead Côr Cochion, which he led until the early 1990s, producing many musical arrangements which are still widely used.

In 1990 John pursued his interests in classical choral music and formed Canton Chorus, adopting John’s principles of inclusivity and welcome, allowing all people to make and perform classical music. In 2008 John formed Côr Elen in Abergavenny, a choir which performs a cappella, often socialist, songs.

 

Some of the singers John has helped into the music world have subsequently  taken formal lessons, attended various music courses across the country, and sing with Opera Mint, Opera in Situ, and WNO’s Community Chorus

He was awarded the Leonard and Marian Jones Music in the Community Award of £250 from the Cardiff University Centre for Lifelong Learning for his unending commitment to accessible community music making. 

Benjamin Teague, Principal Accompanist

 

Benjamin Teague is a Welsh organist and composer based in Cardiff. A recent graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Benjamin studied composition with Michael McCartney and the late Peter Reynolds, graduating with the Beryl Weale Composition Prize. Benjamin studied organ in Llandaff Cathedral with David Geoffrey Thomas, and in London with Jeremiah Stephenson at All Saints Margaret Street.

 

Benjamin has written for various media, recently completing a string quartet (2020), two books of preludes for organ and piano respectively, and two cantatas. Current projects includes a large-scale piano work after Katsushika Hokusai's series Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji, and a collaborative ambient-electronic album based on the Australian legend of Fisher's Ghost. Benjamin has performed several recitals across the country, and in the United States. Benjamin is the Dean of the Guild of St Teilo, Artistic Director of the Archive Ensemble, and Director of the Cardiff Mendelssohn Festival.

www.benjaminteaguemusic.co.uk

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Ben Pinnow, Deputy Musical Director

 

A South Wales based choral conductor, accompanist and musical educator, Ben, who is originally from Dorset, completed his Masters in choral conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under tutors Neil Ferris, Sarah Tenant-Flowers and Simon Halsey. Whilst there he received the Busenhart-Morgan-Evans Bursary awarded by the Worshipful Company of Singers. He studied piano with Richard Ormrod at Cardiff University, and holds the ABRSM Diploma in piano performance. 

Ben currently works as Musical Director for Côr Bro Ogwr, City Voices Bristol, Roath Community Chorus, and Opera in Situ. He is pianist for the Forget-me-not Chorus and Lost Chord, and is an alumnus of Live Music Now. He also works on educational and outreach projects with Welsh National Opera and National Dance Company of Wales.

Ben also sings regularly with BBC National Chorus of Wales, is Registrar of the Guild of St Teilo, and is an organisational partner of the FAKS Sings Festival in Croatia.

www.benpinnowmusic.com

Photograph © Dewi Miller 2021

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Subscriptions

There are three rates of membership, paid at the discretion of each member:

 

  • Full rate membership is £180 per year

 

  • Reduced rate membership (state pensioners, full time students etc) is £120 per year

 

  • Minimal rate membership £0. This is available if your circumstances are such that you feel that you cannot afford the reduced rate.

 

Payments are due in September, January, and April. There are a number of ways to pay:

 

  • Monthly standing order. Full rate £15 per month, reduced rate £10 per month

 

  • Three termly payments – full rate £60 per term, reduced rate £40 per term. 

 

  • Annual payment in full – rates listed above.

 

Please contact the Chairman for further details about payments and subscriptions. Payments are accepted via bank transfer, cash, and cheque. Canton Chorus is a registered charity (no.1166663). If you are a UK taxpayer, we would be grateful if you are able to complete a Gift Aid declaration form (available from the Treasurer), which will enable us to reclaim the tax paid on your subscription and any donations you make, at no extra cost to you. 

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We also welcome donations from patrons to cover the overheads of running an organisation such as ours, namely venue hire, music staff payments, and concert fees for musicians. If you would like to donate to the choir, please contact the Chair.

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