An auditioned chamber chorus that strives for musical excellence in the performance of challenging and diverse repertoire, we seek to foster a vital arts community, collaborate with other organizations, provide opportunities for artistic fulfillment for our singers, and share our love of music with our audiences. Since 1977, Amare Cantare (“to love to sing”) has performed masterworks and choral music from six centuries. Based in Durham, New Hampshire, the group’s members come from all over the Seacoast.
Amare Cantare presents:
Amare Cantare’s spring concert offers unaccompanied choral music in an exceptionally wide variety of styles, ranging from Heinrich Schütz to Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock. The centerpiece of the program is Johannes Brahms’s brilliant Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen (Why Is Light Given to the Weary), his most extensive and compelling work for unaccompanied chorus. Our concert also includes Barnwell’s Prayer from Safehouse: Still Looking; Joan Szymko’s SATB setting of The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry; and works by Samuel Scheidt, William Byrd, Hugo Distler, Stephen Chatman, Carson Cooman, and Lea Morris. The theme of Light appears throughout the program both metaphorically, as in Brahms, and literally—as a sunset, a morning, and “the day blind stars waiting with their light” (Berry).
Tickets will also be available at the door.
Saturday, April 6, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.
Stratham Community Church
6 Emery Lane, Stratham, NH
Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m.
Oyster River Middle School
1 Coe Drive, Durham, NH
Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Middle Street Baptist Church, Portsmouth
18 Court Street, Portsmouth, NH
“That was such an amazing and moving performance today. At every level and in so many ways, we found ourselves tugged and tossed, tilted and lifted—lifted, yes, ultimately, out of our skins into and through the transcendence of song. Thank you for sharing your rich gifts and your accomplished performers with us.”
“As a pedal steel guitarist in a country band, and as a jazz lover, I have a deep appreciation for layered harmonies and complex voicings, but I have had little exposure to classical music, and I’d never been to a choral concert until I heard Amare Cantare. It was a revelation; I couldn’t believe how all those blended voices could sound like one giant instrument. Their pitch was spot on and their dynamics were superb. Kitty Beller-McKenna conducted them with great skill and confidence and clearly inspired their expressive interpretations. I also loved the mix of material, from folk and religious songs to Great American songbook standards. I want to hear more.”
Our Newest Album
“En Vivo: Choral Music of Spain and the Americas” draws from live performances in 2018 and 2019 to showcase Amare Cantare at its best. Enjoy our music on your favorite streaming service, and help support us with your purchase. Read more in this Seacoast Online article.
Catherine Beller-McKenna, Music Director
Music director since 2001, Catherine Beller-McKenna has extensive experience conducting choruses in both community and collegiate settings. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from New England Conservatory, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of South Carolina, where she explored a special interest in text/music relationships in the cantatas of J.S. Bach. She has taught and conducted at Bowdoin College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Southern Maine. She is known for her innovative programming, her wide-ranging musical interests embracing a variety of styles and cultures, and her ability to work with adult volunteer singers from a wide variety of musical backgrounds. In 2009, she was the recipient of the Maryann Hartman Award from the University of Maine, given to women living or working in Maine who have demonstrated the levels of attainment now possible for women and who serve as significant role models for women of all ages. She also directs Women in Harmony in Portland, Maine, and formerly directed the Maine Girls Chorus, the Granite State Choral Society in Rochester, NH, and Sandpipers, the Seacoast Children’s Chorus in Portsmouth, NH. Catherine (who goes by Kitty) is continually amazed at the power of music to build community and bring people together. She lives with her husband in Durham, NH.
- Clark Bourne, President
- Scott Joy, Vice President
- Elizabeth Smardz, Treasurer
- Morgen Ames, Secretary
- Catherine Beller-McKenna, Music Director
- Ruth George
- Stephanie Kinnett
- Charles Smith
- Theo Wiegand
Amare Cantare is an auditioned chamber ensemble generally made up of 24 voices. When openings occur, they are filled by private audition with the music director. We do keep a waiting list, as vacancies sometimes arise unexpectedly. Please email us for more information or to set up an audition.