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Upcoming Concerts


She Walks in Beauty

Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm - St. Perpetua Church in Lafayette


The Chamber Ensemble begins the season with an eclectic set of pieces that include Palestrina’s “Sicut Cervus” followed by Jean Berger’s English rendition of the same Psalm 42. We will also perform Whitacre’s “Three Songs of Faith”, Barnum’s “She Walks in Beauty”, Owen’s “I Am the Wind” (“Do not stand at my grave and weep…”) and Runestad’s “Let My Love Be Heard”. Works by Kverno, Gabrieli and Aitken round out this engaging program.

Star of Wonder, Star of Night

Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 4:00 pm - First Presbyterian Church of Oakland

Monday, December 9, 2019 at 7:30 pm - Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church


Always a seasonal high point, the holidays are simply not the same without Cantare setting the stage. With adult, youth and children’s choirs on deck, accompanied by full orchestra and organ, we will feature works by Bach, Bruckner, Howells, Glick, along with arrangements of “Silver Bells”, “Many Moods of Christmas, Suite 3”, “Home for the Holidays”, Oseh Shalom, and several others. All choirs will present Boito’s breathtaking “Final Psalmody” from his opera Mefistofele. The audience is invited to join the choirs and orchestra in singing!

Considering Matthew Shepard

by Craig Hella Johnson

Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 7:30 pm - Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church

Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 4:00 pm - First Presbyterian Church of Oakland

Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 7:30 pm - Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley in Kensington


Matthew Shepard, the Wyoming teenager who became a national figure after he was beaten and left for dead for being gay in 1998, has inspired plays, documentaries and books. He is the subject of this newly written 95-minute extended work entitled “Considering Matthew Shepard” that explores his life, death and legacy. Composer Craig Hella Johnson, Director of Austin choir Conspirare and former Director of San Francisco’s own Chanticleer, features lyrics taken from Shepard’s writing well as dark passages about the group that picketed his funeral. “The piece actually became a whole lot more than just the story of the suffering,” Johnson said. “It needed to become this larger invitation to return to love. And to return to remember who we are as human beings, in the deepest sense of our essence."

Mystery and Majesty

Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm - Location TBD

Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 4:00 pm - St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oakland


The Chamber Ensemble will present Swiss composer Frank Martin’s “Double Choir Mass.” Without question, it is one of the most beautiful settings ever written, employing independence from its eight vocal lines offset with sections of lush double choir antiphonal writing. Also featured will be Forrest’s “Good Night, Dear Heart”, Ešenvalds’ “Only in Sleep”, and works by Ohrwall, Stroope and Stanford.


Sweet Rivers

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 7:30 pm - Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church


Cantare’s Spring Concert will feature both adult choirs along with Nova and our Children’s Honor Choir. Selections include Craig Hella Johnson’s setting of “My Crushed Angel” coupled with “My Funny Valentine”, Elaine Hagenberg’s “The Music of Stillness”, Shawn Kirchner’s “Sweet Rivers”, and Jake Runestad’s “And So I Go On”, composed in memory of Germán Aguilar, who directed Cantare’s Chorale in 2014. Selections by Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Carole King, African American spirituals and gospel, and some surprises round out the evening.


Cheek to Cheek

Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 7:30 pm - Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley in Kensington

Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 4:00 pm - Location TBD


The Chamber Ensemble closes the season with its annual concert of popular love songs from the last 125 years, featuring American standards from Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Kern, Mercer, Carmichael, and Rodgers, along with songs from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and up to contemporary artists of today. With two concerts in play this season, there will be room for everyone to enjoy this traditionally sold-out performance.

 Performances from Season 2018-19

My Lord, What a Morning                      

African-American Spirituals and Gospel Songs

Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 pm - Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church
Sunday, July 28 at 4:00 pm - First Presbyterian Church of Oakland


Cantare’s Summer Choir of 125 singers will present African-American spirituals and gospel songs, offering heartfelt passion in reflecting life rooted in American slavery. We hear the perspective of an oppressed culture, embracing the promises professed in Judeo-Christian traditions that proclaim freedom, justice, equality and respect.  These expressions of faith must now turn toward a spiritual plane where such promises can ultimately be trusted.

There Is Sweet Music Here

Chorale, Chamber Ensemble and Children's Choirs

Saturday, June 1 at 7:30pm - Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church


Cantare closes its 32nd season with all choirs on stage, commemorating the 20th Anniversary of our Chorale and the Children’s choral programs. The Chorale, Chamber Ensemble, Nova and Children’s Alumni choirs will all be singing. Selections will include contemporary classical, folk, popular and show songs and spirituals. The Chorale and Nova will join to present Please Stay, an anthem for hope as it attempts to destigmatize mental illness and challenge all of us to support those who are battling depression and thoughts of suicide. Other selections include You’ll Never Walk Alone, All of Us, Let Everything That Hath Breath, Water Night, Cindy, Not One Sparrow, By and By, Angel Band, Ol’ Man River, and several others.



Cantare Children's Choirs Spring Concert

Friday, May 10 at 6:00pm - First Presbyterian Church Oakland 


Featuring over 200 youth from our Oakland after-school choirs in a dynamic program celebrating the power of our voice united. Bring the family and little ones and enjoy this complimentary concert

By and By

Chamber Ensemble

Sunday, May 5 at 4:00pm - Lafayette Christian Church


The Cantare Con Vivo Chamber Ensemble presents an intimate concert comprised of ten eclectic: selections. featuring Poulenc's exquisite a cappella Mass in G. Also included are Brahms' Three Gypsy Songs, two spirituals: By and By and Let Us Cheer the Weary Traveler, two popular classics from the 1930's: I Get Along Without You Very Well and Ain't Misbehavin', and other works by Pearsall, Hawley, Barber, and Whitacre. There is something for everybody to experience for the first time and something to enjoy, once again.

Messa da Requiem


Saturday, March 16 at 7:30pm - Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church

Cantare Con Vivo Chorale presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, certainly one of the most dramatic settings of this historical text. It calls for four soloists, double choir and a very full orchestra that includes 8 trumpets. It is as close as one gets to merging Verdi’s romantic operatic style with religious subject matter. Without question, it is one of the pinnacles of human artistic achievement.

I'll Be Seeing You

Dessert Concert & Auction

Chamber Ensemble

Sunday, February 17 at 3:30pm - Temple Isaiah in Lafayette 


Invite your music and dessert-loving friends and secure your table of 8 for this sure-to-sell-out event!  On February 17, the Chamber Ensemble will offer our highly popular Dessert Concert program, I’ll Be Seeing You, which consists of classic love songs from the Great American Songbook and popular songs from the last 100 years. Enjoy a silent auction and a delicious array of hosted food and beverage. This event sells out fast and in advance! Advance ticket purchase required.


Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Chorale, Chamber Ensemble, Nova Youth Choir and Children's Honor Choir

Sunday, December 2 at 4:00pm - First Presbyterian Church in Oakland                                                                                              Monday, December 3 at 7:30pm -Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church


In December we present our renowned holiday concert Walking in a Winter Wonderland!, the finest of its kind in the Bay Area. A full orchestra will accompany our Chorale and Chamber Ensemble, along with Nova and our Children’s Honor Choir, to start the season off in grand fashion. Included are works by Sweelinck, Bruckner, Kverno, Biebl, Lampl, and Zimmerman, in addition to carols and holiday favorites arranged by Bradford, Hayes, Wilberg and others. You will be invited to join in singing some of these favorites along with us!

Sing We and Chant it

Chamber Ensemble

Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm-Trinity Lutheran in Alameda

Sunday, November 18 at 4:00pm - Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church 


The Chamber Ensemble begins the season with a program entitled Sing We and Chant It, featuring works by Morley, Monteverdi, Bruckner, Brahms, Pärt and others.

Gonna Take A Sentimental Journey

Chorale and Nova Youth Choir

Sunday, October 7 at 4:00pm - Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church 


Season 32 kicks off in early October with the Chorale’s annual Ice Cream Family Concert, Gonna Take a Sentimental Journey, featuring folk and popular songs, Broadway selections, light classics, and spirituals. Included is a medley of songs from the 1940’s including: Chattanooga Choo Choo, People Will Say We’re in Love, You Are My Sunshine, Over the Rainbow, and It’s a Big Wide Wonderful World. In addition are songs by Copland, Mulholland, Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Wanting Memories, Norwegian composer Kim Arnesen’s Even When He Is Silent, Ride the Chariot, and others. In keeping with tradition, following the concert Cantare will offer ice cream for everyone!