Chorale Cantando (an ensemble of sixteen experienced singers specialising in unaccompanied singing) was formed in 1997 as an ad hoc group to provide Christmas music at Eastbury Manor House. Since then, the group has sung at garden fêtes, private functions, weddings and church services, often raising funds for charities and churches. The choir's repertoire includes light music and novelty songs (see Silly on the menubar), masses and motets (see Serious). Chorale Cantando is able to provide a complete evening's entertainment (see Concerts) or provide the music for a church service or wedding (see Services). If necessary or requested, the choir is willing to produce handbills, posters and programmes for an event, write a press release, and help with other aspects of publicity (see Publicity). Usually there is a flat fee of £50, (weddings by negotiation). Information about Philip Norman, who directs the choir, is available under Conductor.
Chorale Cantando's repertoire of serious pieces covers anthems, motets and masses from the Sixteenth Century onwards. Such pieces as "Blessing and Glory" by Boyce or "God is Gone Up" by Croft are performed, as are pieces by Sullivan (The Long Day Closes), Liszt (Kyrie Eleison) and Knut Nystedt (Laudate). As would be expected, examples of carols and spirituals are also included..
The "silly" songs sung by Chorale Cantando are many and various. This group includes famous songs of the 30s and 40s such as "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Chattanooga-choo-choo", more recent favourites such as "Autumn Leaves" and "I Feel Pretty", novelty songs such as "Lipstick on Your Collar" and "When I See and Elephant Fly", and vocalised versions of "Can Can" and "The Entertainer". It is the choir's presentation of such pieces which has attracted most attention and resulted in most invitations to appear.
Chorale Cantando gives complete concerts lasting about 90 minutes including an interval. These can consist entirely of one type of music (serious or silly) or a mixture. The music is separated by appropriate readings - either amusing, contemplative or informative - according to the type of concert. These concerts are all "stand alone", i.e. the choir doesn't need the church to provide any instrument (piano, organ or keyboard) but is totally self-sufficient. All that is required is enough space for sixteen people to stand with adequate lighting.

Here is an example of a typical programme, performed in St. John's Leytonstone in aid of the Ramp Appeal in April 2002. Whilst being a mixed programme, it is weighted more towards the "silly" songs. It was advertised under the title "Bet Your Bottom Dollar", which is a line from "Lipstick on Your Collar"::

1 Lipstick on Your Collar
2 Autumn Leaves
3 I Feel Pretty

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

4 The Long Day Closes
5 Vespers

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

6 Li’l Liza Jane
7 Shenandoah
8 O Susannah


9 God in Gone Up With a Merry Noise
10 O, Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
11 Ave Maria

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

12 The Entertainer
13 I Remember it Well
14 Don’t Bring Lulu

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

15 My Lord’s Gonna Rain Down Fire

The choir also presents themed concerts, and in January 2003 in St. Francis' Barkingside, presented a programme of choral and organ music, with readings, meditating on the Epiphany and New Year.
Occasionally, Chorale Cantando participates in special festival services, supporting the congregational singing of hymns and communion setting and also supplying suitable introits, motets and anthems. All members of the choir are involved in church choirs at some time, some are regular members of such choirs and, apart from the conductor, two are responsible for the music of their own churches.
In many cases, Chorale Cantando assumes responsibility for producing publicity material for concerts. This will, typically, consist of 20 or so A4 posters, about 100 A5 handbills, and the programmes. The posters and handbills are sent to the concert organisers about a month before the event, together with master-sheets, should there be a need for more copies.
This a flat rate charge which the choir makes holding a concert of singing at a service. There are no additional extras for producing publicity materials or travel. This sum is passed on to the conductor, Philip Norman, as he is a professional musician.
Chorale Cantando is directed by Philip Norman, a full time musician who runs Philip Norman Music Services and Performers Online. He is Director of Music at St. John's Leytonstone E11, Organist of the German Lutheran Church of St. Mary with St. George WC1, conductor of Chorale Cantando, St. John's Festival Choir, Woodford Symphony Orchestra, The Orwell Singers, often Shernall Concert Choir and, from September 2003, The Questors Choir. If you would like to know more about Philip Norman Music Services and the full range of activities offered, including concerts, choral workshops and concert tours, please CLICK HERE.
If you think that you may be interested in booking Chorale Cantando to run a fund raising concert for your church or organisation, or to sing at a private function, garden fête, or similar event, please contact Philip Norman (details above).