About Us

Cantabile Jersey

Cantabile Ensemble group photo

The ensemble is a friendly SATB chamber choir specializing in performing the finest church music from the Renaissance to the present day. Regularly invited to sing Choral Evensongs, concerts and special services in the many fine churches in Jersey, we have also sung in English cathedrals and in September last year had an enjoyable trip to Normandy. The choir also sings at corporate and private events.

Our musical director, Graham Caldbeck, is one of the UK’s leading conductors of amateur choirs and brings a wealth of practical experience as a singer, conductor and teacher to our rehearsals. The choir meets on a Tuesday evening in St. Martin’s Parish Church between 7.30pm and 9.00pm. You are most welcome to attend a rehearsal on a trial basis and to sample the opportunity to improve your vocal and musical skills in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

From October last year the choir has sung on 16 occasions and in 10 different venues including 4 Evensongs and 2 Advent Services. The choir sang for the first time a Tenebrae Service on Maundy Thursday at the Town Church and was delighted to sing the Missa Brevis by Palestrina at St Thomas’ Church, and has been invited to return to both churches again in 2017.

Over the last two years the choir performed music from six centuries, including works by Tallis, Dowland, Byrd, Gibbons, Tomkins, Purcell, Bach, Greene, Stainer, Stanford, Wood, Vaughan Williams, Ireland, Bainton, Harris and Duruflé. More recently-composed works by John Tavener, Arvo Pärt, Andrew Carter, Howard Skempton, Cecilia McDowall, John Rutter, Matthew Harris, Mark Sirrett, Judith Weir, Stephanie Martin, William Matthias, Umas Sisack, and Sally Beamish have also featured in the choir’s attractive and eclectic programmes.

The choir will be revisiting St Lawrence Church on Advent Sunday to lead a special service of readings and themed music “From Darkness to Light” in preparation for Christmas and for the first time will be singing at a service of Nine Lessons and Carols at St Martin’s Church on 11 December, both services commencing at 6 p.m. In every service led by the choir an Order of Service setting out the text of the hymns, readings and choir items will be produced for the congregation.

If you would like to receive the choir’s newsletter please sign up using the link at the side of this page, and if you are interested in joining us, please contact our Chairman Fred Benest on 863826.

Director Of Music

Graham Caldbeck

Graham CaldbeckGraham Caldbeck is one of Britain's leading conductors of amateur choirs. He studied music at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a Choral Scholar, and has sung with the Cathedral Choirs of Guildford and Winchester. He holds both the Fellowship and Choir Training diplomas of the Royal College of Organists, is a former Assistant Organist at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Director of Music at St Mary The Boltons in Chelsea. After initially working in schools in Cheshire and London, he headed the Hampshire Specialist Music Course before moving to the Royal College of Music. There he was Head of Undergraduate Studies and subsequently Head of Individual Studies between 1989-2004, and also conducted the RCM Chorus and Chamber Choir. For five years he was an External Examiner at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Graham was founder-conductor of the Winchester-based chamber choir Southern Voices in 1984 and directed it for fifteen years. He has conducted the Somerset Chamber Choir since 1990, working with many of the UK's most talented instrumentalists and soloists, and between 1996-2012 conducted the Nonsuch Singers, a well-known central London chamber choir, and between 2005-2012 directed the Mayfield Festival Choir in East Sussex. His concerts have regularly been highlighted in the national press and broadcast on TV and radio, both in the UK and the USA, and he has worked with many of the UK's leading composers. He has conducted choirs for services in many UK cathedrals, including St. Paul's, Winchester, Salisbury, Wells, Truro, Hereford, Worcester, Brecon, Ripon and York Minster.

Graham now pursues a freelance career as conductor, organist, vocal coach and teacher. In 1992, 1994 and 1996, he conducted the Jersey Festival Choir as guest conductor with an RCM Orchestra. He moved to Jersey in September 2012 and is now also Director of Music at St Clement's Church.

Evening Prayer

The History of Evensong

Image of a churchFrom the earliest days of the Church of England until the 1960s Sunday worship consisted mainly of Morning Prayer (or Mattins) and Evening Prayer (or Evensong). Holy Communion was only celebrated three or four times a year (which explains why you will find it somewhere in the middle of the Book of Common Prayer and not at the beginning). It was the Parish and People Movement (later to become the Parish Communion Movement), formed in 1949, that began the shift away from Mattins and Evensong towards weekly communion.