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by Daniel Hathaway

CantusCantus, the nine-member male a cappella vocal ensemble from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, will open Tuesday Musical’s new season on September 24 at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron with a program entitled “A Place for Us.”

Cantus was born at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN when four singers — three of them cellists — found something missing in their musical lives. “In midwestern universities, you usually join a gender choir during your first year then have the opportunity to try out for a school’s flagship ensemble,” Cantus tenor Aaron Humble told us in a telephone conversation. “The guys that originally got together were missing that gender experience during their second year, so they formed a male voice ensemble that also reflected their interest in chamber music.”

Cantus became a professional ensemble in 2000, eventually shedding its original founders, who moved on to other things. “It took a lot of optimism — and maybe even some naiveté to keep the ensemble going — and singers were cutting pie at Bakers Square before the group could pay a full-time salary.” Unlike some other male-voice ensembles, Cantus remained true to its original tenor, baritone and bass configuration. “I often miss the sound of treble voices more than I knew I could,” Humble said, “but there’s something truly remarkable about the TTBB sound and the way low voices can generate overtones.” Read the rest of this entry »

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