Fanfare Magazine calls them "The premier men's vocal ensemble in the United States" and they live right here in our backyard: Cantus. They have another feather in their cap this week: Chorus America awarded them earlier this week with the 2009 The Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence.
The award is given annually to an ensemble that demonstrates artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure, and a commitment to educational outreach.
A couple other Minnesota groups have also won the award: VocalEssence and The Dale Warland Singers, and a Minnesota-favorite, Chanticleer.
What's different this time is that Cantus is the first collaborative ensemble to receive the award. The singers of Cantus sing without conductor or music director, and are instead self-governed much like The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and New York City's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Timothy C. Takach has been singing with and arranging music for Cantus for 13 years. He says he's thrilled for Cantus to be recognized this way. For me personally, it speaks not only to the quality of our music, but also to our process in creating the music. The little experiment that happened 13 years ago among a few friends at St. Olaf has turned into something that has made an impact on the choral world. We couldn't be happier!"