“During this concert everything came together so beautifully with the chorus, soloists and orchestra, and the music itself being so powerful, that I began experiencing a wave of goose bumps." Lyn Bronson, Peninsula Reviews
Who We Are
I Cantori di Carmel is a volunteer chorus that seeks excellence in choral performance. Our programs include major choral works as well as lesser-known jewels of the choral repertoire.
I Cantori di Carmel (Our Italian name means: The Singers of Carmel) has been bringing choral classics to the Monterey Peninsula since 1981. We perform concerts twice annually, in the spring and fall, at the Carmel Mission Basilica, and other venues throughout the year. We are proud to offer two choral workshops each year which are open to all. Approximately every three years we embark on a European concert tour where we have the opportunity to sing in magnificent cathedrals and many other local venues. Often we coordinate with choirs in our host countries for shared performances.
I Cantori di Carmel is listed as an advanced chorus class at Monterey Peninsula College, and each member is required to register as a student. Membership is by audition only. To schedule an audition, call 831-644-8012. Regular attendance at rehearsals is mandatory. Our rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings, and as the concerts approach, also on Monday evenings. Our rehearsal schedule roughly follows the Fall and Spring academic calendar.
Our Music Director
Tom Lehmkuhl is a California native, the youngest of six children, and an avid runner who recently returned to the United States after living outside of the state and country (Chicago, Boston, New York, New Delhi, and Mumbai) for over 25 years while he pursued his love of singing at Northwestern University, DePaul University, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the Tanglewood Music Center and beyond. He is very grateful to have landed in the Carmel Unified School District (where he is Director of Choral Music at Carmel Middle and High School) fours years ago when he and his French wife and eight-year old daughter decided that their great love affair with India had run its course after nine years. Tom is proud of the fact that he can speak French, street Hindi, and that his jobs have included stage manager and talent coordinator for the pilot seasons of NPR’s From The Top and the role of opera singer in Danny Boyle’s Academy Award-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire. He is thrilled and humbled to be taking over I Cantori after Sal Ferrantelli’s astounding 35-plus year run as the group’s conductor.
>> Read a Peninsula Reviews interview with Tom
Pauline Thomas Troia has a wide range of experience in choral accompaniment, chamber music, opera, musical theater, and symphony performance. She studied piano at the Conservatory of the Chicago Musical College under Rudolf Ganz, and at Northwestern University. Pauline has been the accompanist for I Cantori since 1991.
~ To cherish and preserve the heritage of great choral music and to enrich ourselves and the community through live performance.
~ To provide a forum for choral singers to learn and perfect their art with a goal of performing with integrity of technique and expression.
~ To perform a variety of quality music from all style periods.
~ To approach the literature with respect.
~ To perform regularly in live concerts.
~ To maintain an effective organizational structure with skillful, dynamic, inspired leadership.
~ To provide a nurturing, self-disciplined learning environment.
~ To assemble a group of singers capable of growth and accomplishment in vocal technique.
~ To attract and develop choral members who share a commitment to the organizational vision; who are committed to performing with integrity of technique and expression; and who come with a commitment of time, energy and concentration.
History of I Cantori di Carmel
On September 23, 1981, several members of the Carmel Bach Festival Chorus met to discuss the idea of forming an independent choral group on the Monterey Peninsula. From the beginning, the emphasis was on gathering together quality singers who would be dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in choral performance.
The charter group of 27 singers began the search for a Musical Director who would meet their high performance standards. They found Dr. Sal Ferrantelli, new to the Monterey Peninsula and the music department at Monterey Peninsula College. Dr. Ferrantelli's love of choral music, his extensive knowledge of choral literature, his sensitivity to both the technical and emotional dimensions of the music, and his high expectations for artistic mastery were a good match for the group.
The singers chose a name, I Cantori di Carmel, and gave their inaugural concert on March 28, 1982. The first program included several 16th and 17th century madrigals and motets and selections from works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Brahms and Fauré. The review of that concert by Scott MacClelland, then music critic for the Monterey Herald, set the tone of critical acclaim for which the group has since been known. He described the performance as "displaying clear articulation, true intonation and, more important, vital spirit, with Ferrantelli leading with vivid attention to shape, phrase and dynamics, and an abiding commitment to his art."
In the next few years the members established a formal structure for the organization. A Board of Directors was selected and by-laws were developed, with a mandate for annual election of Board positions by the membership.
The group grew in size and was eventually limited to approximately 60 members. The semi-annual concerts have embraced choral/orchestral selections from the Renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary periods. Major works performed have been Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven's Mass in C Major, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Theresa Mass, Handel's Messiah, Brahms's Deutsches Requiem, J. S. Bach's Magnificat, and Verdi's Te Deum. Other works have included Vivaldi's Gloria; J. S. Bach's Cantatas nos. 106 and 150; Handel's Coronation Anthems nos. 2 and 4 and Chandos Anthems; Britten's Te Deum, Jubilate Deo, and A Ceremony of Carols; opera choruses by Verdi; and additional works by Brahms, Bruckner, Rutter, and Mendelssohn.
In 1994, I Cantori undertook its first European tour. Since then, it has completed several more tours in Europe. In Spring 2017, after leading the group for 36 years, Sal Ferrantelli retired from MPC. Beginning with the Fall 2017 season, I Cantori welcomes Tom Lehmkuhl as our new conductor.
Our Board of Directors
~ President: Susan Mehra
~ Vice President: Gisela Nobinger
~ Treasurer: Gayle Smith
~ Secretary: Rachel Knowles
~ Operations: Byron Chong
~ Publicity: Jody Lee
~ Ways and Means: Elizabeth Behrens-Nagle
I Cantori di Carmel is a concert choir with the mission of seeking excellence in choral performance. To schedule an audition, call 831-644-8012