We believe that anyone who wishes to sing with other people should be able to do so, regardless of experience, and without any financial barrier. Based on the belief that singing is good for you, and following over a decade of collaborative research, we act as an umbrella organisation to make opportunities for caring through singing.
The Trust’s work
Put simply, we sing – for pleasure, for health, for friendship, and for the enjoyment of others. To be more specific, the Trust runs, supports and funds local singing groups, enabling people to sing regularly and enjoy the benefits. Each group is concerned with caring through singing, caring for each other and demonstrating care for others in the community through a range of activities and performances.
Canterbury Cantata Trust achieved Registered Charity status in 2015. In 2010, together with colleague Roger Clayton, Grenville Hancox established the first Skylarks, a singing group for people with Parkinson’s, using methods based on his research into the health benefits of singing. Grenville then founded the Trust itself in 2012, to establish the importance of group singing in the community and to encourage younger people to be involved with their communities through practical music activities. We continue to follow the founding ethos of the Trust – that anyone who wishes to sing with other people should be able to do so, regardless of experience, and without any financial barrier.
The Trust is run by a Board of Trustees, all of whom are volunteers. We rely on the valued support of our trustees, patrons, sponsors, friends and donors to run our choirs, and put on events for our community. The Trust is grateful for the support of its patrons, Matthew Rose, one of the most celebrated English operatic bass-baritones, and Mark Padmore, world-renowned tenor.
Professor Grenville Hancox, BA, MEd, LTCL, DipEd, FRSA, MBE
The Trust’s Honorary President (and Founder) is Professor Grenville Hancox MBE, well known for his work as an educationalist, performer and conductor, together with his ground breaking research with Professor Stephen Clift on the benefits of singing for health. “Singing should be on prescription,” he says.
As a former Trustee of the Creative Foundation in Folkestone, Grenville has championed engagement in the arts as a means of social regeneration, with the firm belief that music should be at the heart of every community.
Until March 2012 he was Head of Department and Director of Music at Canterbury Christ Church University, having been made the first Professor of Music in Kent in 2000. Amongst many achievements whilst in post were the forging of a very special relationship between the University and the Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies; and the founding of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health in Folkestone. Grenville raised all the funds for the transformation of the iconic St Gregory’s Centre for Music.
Grenville has directed many performances including some of the most challenging works in the choral repertoire, (including Britten’s War Requiem with Ian Bostridge and Benjamin Luxon). As a clarinet player he has performed extensively throughout the UK, in Europe and the USA and appeared amongst others with the London Mozart Players, and the Sacconi and Maggini String Quartets.
He was awarded the MBE for services to Music in 2005 and presented with a Civic Award by Canterbury City Council for services to the community through music in 2006.
Artistic and Musical Director
Artistic and Musical Director
Originally from the Isle of Wight, Emily Renshaw-Kidd graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University as a Bachelor of Music in 2000 and gained an overall distinction as a Master of Music in 2003. She currently combines caring for her two children with working as Director of Music at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, in Canterbury. Alongside her career as a teacher and professional singer, Emily also conducts a wide range of choral and orchestral ensembles. In 2021, Emily became one of the first female lay-clerks in the Canterbury Cathedral Choir. She regularly sings for choral evensong at the Cathedral. Currently holding the post of Artistic Director of Canterbury Cantata Trust and Director of Canterbury Cantata, Emily has directed large-scale works such as Kodaly's Missa Brevis, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Rutter's Requiem, piano concerti by Mozart, Elgar and Rachmaninoff and has produced and conducted several musical theatre productions. Emily is proud to lead various community singing groups around Canterbury, focusing on music as a form of improving both physical and mental health, whilst caring for each other. Her involvement in the Skylarks Sing to Beat Parkinson's singing group began in 2015, with a collaboration between the Skylarks and Langton Boys. From here, the relationship has grown and flourished to the point where Emily and the Langton students lead the weekly sessions. In 2016, Emily staged and directed a 3-day festival highlighting the benefits of music on health and wellbeing. She was honoured to host such influential musicians as Trevor Pinnock CBE, Judith Weir CBE (Master of the Queen’s Music), Mark Padmore, the Sacconi String Quartet and James Rhodes.
She studied singing with Ernest Holbrook, Sheila Amit-Luxon and renowned baritone Benjamin Luxon. She continues to work closely with Professor Grenville Hancox MBE on a range of concerts and projects.
Emily regularly performs as a soloist for choral societies across the Southeast and has been involved in a series of salon concerts and the production of a CD, in the beautiful surroundings of Goodnestone Park, with the late Derek Hyde. She has sung solo roles in many of the major oratorios, including Jenkin’s Armed Man and Mozart’s Requiem in Canterbury Cathedral and Verdi’s Requiem in Brentwood Cathedral. Emily has performed as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah, directed by Sir David Willcocks CBE and Sir John Tavener’s Annunciation, in the presence of the composer. She makes regular appearances as a recitalist alongside her accompanists including Jamie Rogers and Aidan Shepherd.
Emily has given premiere performances of Paul Max Edlin’s Song of the Gypsy Siguiriya along with many of Christ Church’s budding composer’s works and has performed other modern works including Ernst Krenek’s Sestina and George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children. Emily has enjoyed working with wonderful instrumentalists to perform such chamber works as Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock and Six Songs by Spohr. She was highly commended in the Hampshire Singing Competition, by Dame Janet Baker who commented, “the role of Cherubino fit her like a glove”.
Emily holds Grade 8 (distinction) in voice, piano and cello.
Matthew is a former student at Canterbury Christ Church University and member of Cantata choir. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, BBC Proms and his 2015/2016 season includes performances with the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival.
“It is so wonderful to see the Canterbury Cantata Trust choirs going from strength to strength. I cut my teeth as a young student, rehearsing on Monday nights with Grenville Hancox and performing around Kent and the South-East. Grenville believes, as I do, that music – and especially singing – can do wonders for the human condition in many different ways.”
Mark Padmore was born in London and grew up in Canterbury. He has established a career in opera, concert and recital, was voted 2016 Vocalist of the Year by Musical America and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Kent University in 2014. Mark is Artistic Director of the St. Endellion Summer Music Festival in Cornwall.
|Chair||Roshna Ahmad||Wine expert for Shepherd Neame Brewery, music graduate and keen singer|
|Vice-Chair and Treasurer||Joanna Heath||Head Teacher at Bredgar CoE Primary School and keen singer|
|Trustee||Laurence Green||A Canterbury-based dentist and keen supporter of music|
|Trustee||Julia Jones||Author, Smart Wellness coach|
|Trustee||Tim Kidd||Chief Executive of the professional institute in legal finance and management and a lover of music.|
Director of Neuroscience business and supporter of caring through singing
View our policies and governance documents.