About Us

Cantatrice began back in 2004 when 90 singers signed up (yes 90!) on the first day. Its sister choir in Horsham began three months later.

Over the years we have performed a huge variety of music from pop through to classical, singing at Open Gigs (Steynings own Live Lounge) to the illustrious venues of Chichester Cathedral, The Hawth, Crawley to
St Clement Danes in the Strand, London.

​Workshops by visiting professionals are a must for any choir who want to improve and David Lawrence, Brenda Rattray, Jeremy Jackman,  Jonathan Wilcocks were musicians we invited to work with Cantatrice.. They loved the energy, happiness and  over-whelming sound of the choir and of course lunch at White’s! Also arranged were Voicecraft workshops with Mark Oldman and Ruth Kerr, a must for any choir who want to learn the basics of singing when time does not always allow because of note bashing!

We love working with young musicians which are plentiful and willing in our area; many of whom have gone on to music colleges and who have returned to share in some more music making.
 
Over the years- apart from the social events (!) and the usual Christmas celebrations, the choir has performed with Worthing Symphony Orchestra at Worthing Assembly Hall  in the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ concert, for the 25th anniversary celebrations for ABCD (Association of British Choral Directors) at the Dorking Halls in October , returning there again for Ch oiroke – a massed choir sing masterminded by the charismatic Kaytie Harding. We took a trip to the Mid-Soomerset and Bournemouth festivas, sang with the Sussex Harmonisers in Horsham’s Drill Hall, and performed a concert for the Steyning Festival but probably the biggest challenge and highlight was our concert in St Clement Danes Church, the Strand, London as part of the ever growing Brandenburg Choral Festival.
 
Finally one could not have any choir without an accompanist and Laura Skuce was my absolute rock when it comes to support. A totally versatile musician, happy to play (& sing) classical, rock, folk & musicals and turn her hand to almost any instrument! Sadly we lost her in 2013. The Choir is now accompanied by Zoe's husband Gary Prior who adds a new dimension and personality to this happy choir..


Zoe - our musical director

Zoë was born in Steyning and trained at Chichester College,  Trinity College of Music, where she was awarded the Lady Maud Warrender Prize for outstanding achievements in singing and musicianship, and the Else Mayer Lismann Opera Workshop.
 
Following her debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, her extensive concert and recital engagements have given her platform at the Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the Fields, and St James - Piccadilly, the South Bank, Fairfield Hall - Croydon, St John's Smith Square, Jubilee Hall - Aldeburgh and The Dome - Brighton 
She collaborated with international artists Gervase de Peyer and Gwenneth Pryor in a series of recitals and has appeared in Kuwait for the British Ambassador, the opening of British Trade Week and the Kuwait Chamber Philharmonia.
As Musical Director for the Pulborough & District Gilbert & Sullivan Society she led them though many productions and a trip to Ireland which resulted in an award for ‘Sheer Entertainment’ at the Waterford Light Opera Competition.
Zoë's life now revolves around conducting and training choirs and choirs she has, taken part in the West Sussex ‘Sing Out’ project and was invited to conduct the bi-annual Carol Concert for the West Sussex WI in Chichester Cathedral on two occasions & the Amici Voices.
She now directs the Kaleidoscope Singers, founded her own choir ‘Cantatrice’, a 150 strong ladies choir in 2004 and was Musical Director of the Sussex Harmonisers a men’s barbershop group fro 2011- 2015. She has just started - with three other male singers, a new men's acapella chorus which will embrace all acapella styles of music including Barbershop. Zoe is also a temporary staff member at the Guildhall School of Music, London & The Royal College of Music. She also tutored on the Earnley Music Courses & at choral workshops.
These choirs have performed at the beautiful houses of Parham and Petworth, Chichester Cathedral, Chichester Festival Theatre, Worthing Pavilion, Worthing Assembly Hall, the Players Theatre, London, Arundel Cathedral and the Anvil, Basingstoke.  
Zoe was Music Co-ordinator for the 2008 Steyning Festival and shares the secretarial load with her husband Gary Prior for the popular and highly successful Steyning Music Society which promote professional concerts in the town.
 
She continues to perform as a soloist, most recently in soprano solo in Mozart’s Requiem, Elijah (Mendelssohn) Carmina Burana (Orff) & three Last Night of the Proms, in Lewes, Midhurst and Worthing Assembly Hall.
 
​Cantatrice featured on BBC Radio 3
Cantatrice were heard on Meet the Choir on Sunday 28 September 2014 at 4.30pm. This was a very special airing as it followed our 10th Anniversary celebrations and it was the last time that Laura played for us, so even more memorable and special. Our sincere thanks to Jose Peate (Zoe's mum) and Kirsty Watson for being brave enough to speak - you were brilliant!
You can hear it on BBC Iplayer by follwing this link
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p027br9j

The choir is accompanied by Zoe's husband Gary Prior