January 11, 2013

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Vocal ensemble Cantus, celebrated as "the premier men's vocal ensemble in the United States," will perform in concert Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University.

The ensemble will be joined by special guests, the Bucknell Men's Choir. The performance is sponsored, in part, by RiverWoods Retirement Community.

Cantus is known worldwide for its trademark warmth and blend and its engaging performances of music ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century.

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

The Washington Post has hailed the ensemble's sound as having both "exalting finesse" and "expressive power" and refers to its music making as "spontaneous grace." Cantus performs more than 70 concerts each year both in national and international touring, as well as in its home of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

Past performances have brought the group to the stages of the Kennedy Center, UCLA, San Francisco Performances, Atlanta's Spivey Hall, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and New York's Merkin Concert Hall. During the 203 season, Cantus makes its first trip to the Middle East with appearances in Muscat, Oman and Dubai, along with performances in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas/Fort Worth among numerous other North American engagements.

Kathryn Maguet, executive director of the Weis Center, says, "Cantus is considered to be one of the freshest and most engaging vocal ensembles in choral music today. From art songs to folk songs, from Smokey Robinson to Richard Strauss, Cantus' brilliant sound, innovative programming and heartfelt singing have garnered the highest praise from critics and audiences alike. The singers — all solo quality — produce a wonderfully warm, gutsy and masculine sounds as well as a kind of smooth delivery, overtly emotionality, and uncanny sense of ensemble. They have a peerless gusto — a sense of boundless joy in music making."

The ensemble is heard frequently on public radio including "Performance Today's" annual Thanksgiving program "Thanksgiving with Cantus," and two recent performances on "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor.

Cantus has released 15 albums on its own self-titled label, each to considerable acclaim. The recipient of numerous awards, including Chorus America's highest honor, the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence (2009), as well as Chorus America's Education Outreach Award (2011), Cantus was the 2010-11 Artist in Residence on Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media's "Performance Today."

The next event in the Weis Center series is a modern classical ensemble, eighth blackbird, on Friday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. The Chicago-based, two-time Grammy Award-winning sextet combines the finesse of a string quartet with the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater company. Its musical aerobatics delight, provoke and entertain audiences around the world. The Los Angeles Times says of the group, "The blackbirds are examples of a new breed of super-musicians." The ensemble has won two Grammy Awards and was recently nominated for an additional Grammy in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category.

For more information about this event, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach coordinator, at 570-577-3727 or by e-mail at lisa.leighton@bucknell.edu.

For more information about future programming at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to www.facebook.com/WeisCenter or www.bucknell.edu/WeisCenter.

Contact: Division of Communications