Arts and Culture

Drop, drop: Manchester’s Kantos choir concert fills the baths

Manchester chamber choir Kantos left audiences’ heads swimming at the Victoria Baths last week as the choir presented the second concert in their post-Covid reflective concert series ‘Unlocked’.

‘Unlocked’ is a series of three concerts constituting a sequence of choral reflections on the coronavirus pandemic and the state of our future.

The concert, titled “Drop, Drop: Thirsting for Change”, featured music spanning several centuries and genres, including works from Palestrina, Whitacre and Mealor, with all pieces carefully selected to revolve around the theme of water and change.

The event also featured the world premiere of composer Shruthi Rajasekar’s piece Slow Tears.

Musical director Ellie Slorach said after the concert: “[The first concert in the series] was a reflection on what had happened in the pandemic and the tragedy of it all.

“It was about mourning but also about hope and looking forward with hope to the future.

“This concert was really thinking more about the change in what one person in the audience might feel like they could do or what they might think about because of the concert.

“It was trying to take the last concert’s message of hope and actually doing something a little bit more real,” she added.

Singing in the baths was not without its problems, and the choir had to face several unconventional challenges including unfamiliar acoustics and less than favourable staging.

Regarding the issues for the choir’s choreography, Ellie added: “There were really helpful lane markings in the pool that we could use. The tiles were actually really useful for people to know where they were meant to go and stand.”

As the concert began, choristers emerged from behind the curtains of the changing room cubicles lining the pool edge.

Throughout the performance, choir members moved around the bathing hall,  mimicking the movement and flow of water.

Musical director Ellie Slorach founded Kantos in 2015 after graduating in Music from the University of Manchester.

The choir is comprised of semi-professional and professional choral singers from across the North.

As there was no professional full-time chamber choir in the North at the time, Ellie hoped that Kantos would fill the gap in the market.

Kantos will be returning again on Sunday 14 November at the White Hotel Club in Salford for another acoustic spectacle, ‘Surround Sound’.

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