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Cantus comes to Bemidji

BEMIDJI — A world-class men’s a capella group from the Twin Cities is bringing its mastery of polyphony (blending more than one note at a time) to Bemidji.

The group is a musician-led ensemble where nine singers collaborate with each other during the year to bring new songs, different arrangements and oversee the process from beginning to end without bringing in an artistic director from outside their world. And what a world it is; each singer has at least a degree in vocal music from a noted college, they are all voice coaches for private students ranging from high school to graduate level in all genre of music from popular to classic. All the singers get a chance to “flex their muscles” when a program is being conceived and assembled.

Cantus has already appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and is scheduled to sing at Lincoln Center in New York City. They are coming to entertain Bemidjians at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Bemidji High School auditorium. The trip is funded through a grant by the Minnesota Arts Board to bring world-class talent to the smaller towns of Minnesota. They will be performing in Wadena on Wednesday and Glenwood, Minn., on April 26.  

“The program that we are bringing to Bemidji is named ‘A Place for Us,’ and it’s about identity, in the broadest sense of the word, from the Americas,” said tenor Aaron Humble during a recent phone interview. “We have got music from the native populations here and also a charming Spanish folk song from Mexico; some old colonial music from New England during the time of the Revolution. The real narrative of the program is about finding home and your own identity as Swedish, Norwegian, German, but also as an American. We are seeking a blending of all the different identities.”

Cantus has recorded 19 albums under its own label since 1995; the latest is “Song of a Czech: Dvorák and Janacek for Men’s Voices” released last year.

Advance tickets are for sale at Headwaters School of Music and the Arts, 519 Minnesota Ave. for $17 and $5 for students and $20 at the door. Call 218-444-5606 for more information.