When seeing the group’s name for the first time, many would be likely to wonder how “Cantus” is pronounced.

When seeing the group’s name for the first time, many would be likely to wonder how “Cantus” is pronounced.
“It’s pronounced CON-toos,” Cantus tour manager and tenor Aaron Humble said, “and it’s a Latin word meaning ‘song’ or ‘melody.’”
The name may seem intimidating, but, considering the male vocal ensemble’s history, something grandiose seems appropriate.
Known worldwide for its engaging performances, the nine-member group has performed in venues such as The Kennedy Center and the Cincinnati Opera. They’ve also performed on campuses such as Pennsylvania State and Wake Forest Universities.
Acclaimed as “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States” by Fanfare magazine, Cantus will be performing at McPherson Opera House at 7 p.m. Saturday  on their “A Place for Us” tour.
Humble said the Minnesota-based ensemble had been going since the year 2000.
“I came along in 2005,” Humble said, “so I’ve been singing with them for eight years.”
When asked what styles of music Cantus prefers to perform, Humble said the majority of it was from the broad genre of classical music arranged for chorus.
“We function as a chamber ensemble,” Humble said, “and we choose music together. We like to have music from a variety of different sources. We’ll perform music anywhere from the Renaissance to the 21st century.”
“A Place for Us” centers around the theme of the concept of home, and features music from composers, such as Leonard Bernstein and Jean Sebelius. Humble said programming for a theme like this allows Cantus a greater variety of music to perform.
“It allows us to provide a diverse program experience,” Humble said. “You might get Renaissance music back to back with something by the Dave Matthews Band.”
Cantus also commissions music, Humble said, and will perform two new pieces on this tour.
Humble said the group enjoys intimate venues, such as the Opera House.
“I’ve seen some photos of the Opera House,” Humble said, “and it’s lovely. It’s great to see that the community has put so much support behind it. It’s great to be in an intimate setting like that. I think that’s the key to chamber music — to be able to almost reach out and touch the audience.”
While the notion of the group as a classical choir ensemble may intimidate or seem unappealing to some, Humble said the group selects music that ensures they and their performances are approachable to all.
“No matter what it is,” Humble said, “we present it as acceptable to everyone. We want to ensure that, no matter what a person’s background, they can come and enjoy the music.”
Tickets can be purchased in the lobby of the McPherson Opera House, by calling the Opera House at 620-241-1952 or by ordering online at mcphersonoperahouse.ticketforce.com.
Contact Jeremy Webster by email at jwebster@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @WebsterSentinel.