cantando@bloem was established in 2009 to give adult choristers in Bloemfontein the opportunity to express their love for singing and choir music.  cantando@bloem is a semi-professional community choir with and eclectic repertoire, including both sacred and secular works.  The choir’s repertoire also boasts a few ethnic works that are very popular with audiences.

Works from the standard choir repertoire include:

  • Haydn’s Nelson Mass;
  • Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony;
  • The pop cantata, Holy Moses;
  • Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana;
  • Mozart’s Missa et in honorem sanctissimae trinitatis;
  • Excerpts from the Messiah of Handel;
  • The Faure Requiem; and
  • The Mozart Requiem.

Werner Stander is the choir’s conductor and Maretha Steyn is the accompanist.  Werner obtained his Master’s degree in Conducting in 2015 at the University of the Free State under Lance Phillip.  In June 2019, Werner will attend master classes that will be presented by Professor Simon Halsey at the University of Birmingham.  Halsey is the director of the London Symphony Choir as well as the Birmingham Symphony Choir and was involved with the Berlin Rundfunkchor (radio choir) for 15 years.  Professor Halsey has also been involved in several productions and recordings in collaboration with Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.  These productions include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  Halsey further boasts a Grammy Award for the best choir performance and recording of Ein Duitches Requiem by Brahms.

In 2015 cantando@bloem toured to Italy and Austria to primarily take part in the 18th Alta Pusteria Choir Festival in South Tyrol in Northern Italy.  cantando@bloem was one of 73 choirs from across the world that took part in the 2015 Choir Festival.  In addition to the international tour, the choir also toured:

  • Eastern Cape;
  • Southern Cape;
  • Gauteng;
  • Namibia;
  • Eastern Free State;
  • Southern Free State; and
  • Northern Cape.

The choir had many successful performances over the years, but a great honour was bestowed upon cantando@bloem when they received an award from the Free State Arts Festival in 2017 in the category for Best Debut Performance for the Mozart Requiem (conductor: Louis van der Watt).  Apart from several outstanding performances in Bloemfontein and surrounding areas, one of the highlights of 2018 was the choir’s attendance of and performance at the tenth World Choir Games in Pretoria.  It was an honour for the choir to work with world famous conductors such as Jürgen Budday (Germany), Inessa Bodyako (Belarus) en Hannelize du Plessis (South Africa).   

The choir is looking forward to what the rest of 2019 has in store for them.  The 2019 fall concert in the Anglican Cathedral was received tremendously well.  Two other highlights cantando@bloem is looking forward to, are their annual concert and 10 year celebrations that will take place in September in the Odeion.  The choir’s founding conductor, Bouwer van Rooyen, will also conduct a few works during the evening.  The year will conclude with a performance of the Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms in collaboration with the FSSO, conducted by Alexander Fokkens.