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The Choir

Cantorum was formed in March 2014 and is an Auckland chamber choir of around twenty very experienced singers, who combine their passion for learning, and their shared enjoyment of performing, in the relatively specialised area of sacred music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, in both a cappella and accompanied music.

The choir is largely made up of former members of the very successful Auckland chamber choir Musica Sacra which, under the leadership of Dr Indra Hughes, built up a strong reputation for the quality and musicianship of its performing during its period of operation from 1998 to 2013.  Covering music from the 15th to the 21st centuries, Musica Sacra performed a huge variety of repertoire, and Cantorum is aiming to follow in this tradition as it grows.

Conductor / Musical Director

The conductor of Cantorum is Iain Tetley, who is also an experienced choral singer and freelance tenor soloist.  Iain sang throughout his school and university days in England, where he grew up, and has sung in choirs almost continuously ever since. He started conducting in earnest after emigrating to New Zealand in 1997, firstly with a four-part choir on Waiheke Island, then branching out into the Auckland scene as a deputy conductor of Bach Musica, and a guest conductor of the South Auckland Choral Society in Papakura and Franklin Community Choir in Pukekohe.

Iain was a deputy conductor of Musica Sacra from 2005 until the choir ended in 2013, and during that time he combined the Waiheke, Papakura and Pukekohe choirs mentioned above, and eight soloists, with a much-enlarged St Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra – a total of 222 performers – to conduct the Auckland premiere of Karl Jenkins’ full orchestral version of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace in the Auckland Town Hall.

Iain has conducted the South Auckland Choral Society and Franklin Community Choir in a growing number of concerts since 2006, and was appointed the Musical Director of the South Auckland Choral Society in 2012, with whom he has conducted Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, Carmina Burana, excerpts of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and the Duruflé Requiem among other works, and in May this year he conducted Mendelssohn’s Elijah with these two choirs combined.

As a vocal soloist, Iain performed frequently with Musica Sacra, and he has also performed with Bach Musica and Viva Voce over several years.  His proudest musical achievements have been singing with one of the world’s most renowned organists, the late John Scott, in music by Bach and Handel in 2006 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, and singing alongside highly esteemed countertenor Andreas Scholl at the Auckland Town Hall in excerpts from Handel’s Solomon in 2011, staged by Musica Sacra.

In July this year Iain's conducting took him to Hamilton, where he conducted the large Cantando Choir in their winter concert of opera choruses and choral arrangements of popular show music.

Choir size

Cantorum has a steady membership of about twenty singers, sometimes several more, occasionally slightly fewer.  Iain would like to grow the choir to 30 over time, a “comfortable” size for a chamber choir, which would give greater scope for tackling larger scale works.


Cantorum’s repertoire, in its non-Christmas concerts, has focused on the 16th and 17th centuries, after its inaugural concert which featured, contrastingly, William Byrd and Giacomo Puccini!

Where we rehearse & perform

Cantorum rehearse at All Saints Church, 284 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, on Thursday evenings from 7.15pm to 9.15pm. We also perform our concerts there, though we intend to branch out to larger and grander venues when we are able to.

About Cantorum