Acclaimed as “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States” by Fanfare, Cantus will perform “One Giant Leap” Jan. 17, 2020, in the Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.

As part of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center’s Cultural Arts Series, the 7:30 p.m. concert features a group the New Yorker called “engaging,” and the Philadelphia Inquirer dubbed “nothing short of exquisite,” a news release stated.

Cantus is widely known for its trademark warmth and blend, innovative programming and riveting performances of music ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century. The Washington Post has hailed the Cantus sound as having both “exalting finesse” and “expressive power” and refers to the “spontaneous grace” of its music making.

As one of the nation’s few full-time vocal ensembles, Cantus has grown in prominence with its distinctive approach to creating music. Working without a conductor, the members of Cantus rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing to the entirety of the artistic process.

Cantus performs more than 60 concerts each year both in national and international touring, and in its home of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Cantus has performed at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, UCLA, San Francisco Performances, Atlanta’s Spivey Hall and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

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In the 2019-20 season, Cantus celebrates the allure of upward exploration, the triumph of the human spirit, and striving for excellence through innovation and technology on their touring program “One Giant Leap.” The poetic arc of the program is structured around the moon landing and the groundwork that was laid to make this historic achievement possible, and includes works by Mohammed Fairouz, Franz Schubert, Kenneth Jennings, Byron Adams, David Bowie, Camille Saint-Saëns, Eriks Esenvalds, Z. Randall Stroope, and a piece originally commissioned for Cantus by Sarah Kirkland Snider. Besides Brainerd, Cantus will perform “One Giant Leap” across the U.S., with stops in Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and California.

Cantus actively commissions new music and seeks to unearth rarely performed repertoire for men’s voices, having received commissioning grants from New Music USA, the National Endowment for the Arts, Chorus America, American Composers Forum and Chamber Music America. The ensemble also hosts a Young and Emerging Composers’ Competition this season, with winners receiving a cash prize, a performance and recording of their composition by Cantus, and consideration for publication in the Cantus choral series.

Cantus has a rich history of collaborations with other performing arts organizations, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops, Chanticleer, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Lorelei Ensemble, Theater Latté Da and the James Sewell Ballet. The ensemble is heard frequently on both classical public radio nationwide and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Cantus was also Artist in Residence on Minnesota Public Radio and on American Public Media’s Performance Today. Cantus has released 18 recordings on the group’s self-titled label. Integral to the Cantus mission is its commitment to preserve and deepen music education in the schools. Cantus works with more than 5,000 students each year in masterclass and workshop settings across the country. To celebrate its anniversary year, Cantus will revisit the 31 Minnesota high schools that it has worked with over 11-year history of its award-winning High School Residency program.

Cantus is the recipient of three Chorus America awards, including the 2016 Dale Warland

Singers Commission Award (presented in partnership with the American Composers Forum), the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the Education Outreach Award.

Cantus is an artist-led ensemble, so the process that is used for preparing and rehearsing music is a unique one, a news release stated. A complete democracy in the rehearsal room would be an inefficient use of time, so each piece performed is assigned to one of the singers to produce. This producer is responsible for initial interpretation, leading the allotted rehearsal time, and quality control on the fundamentals, such notes, rhythms, tuning and vowel choice. Once these basics are established, the producer also facilitates discussion of interpretation and execution from the entire group. By the time a piece is on stage, each singer has had his chance to help build the performance. This collaborative work style allows Cantus to be more flexible, adaptive and ready to embrace new ideas.

Tickets are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at 218-855-8199 or online at www.clcperformingarts.com.

This event is sponsored by Mel and Sonja Nefstead, and Minnesota Public Radio, whose

members receive a discount on tickets. The Cantus Tour is made possible by an Arts Touring Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The entire CLCPAC season is made possible by an MSAB Operating Support Grant. These grants are made possible by the voters of Minnesota, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.