Arlington, MA’s Pride: Cantilena Womens Chorale

Cantilena-Womens-Chorale-300x163Cantilena is a women’s chorale based in Arlington, MA.  The group consists of approximately 30 singers who perform music written for the treble voice.  The group performs concerts throughout the year that showcase works that span from the 15thcentury to the present day and include many different languages and musical forms.  They put an emphasis on exposing the group and the audience to work that is unlikely to be produced in other forums.

About the Cantilena Women’s Chorale

The Chorale was founded in 1968 as the Cambridge Chorale for both men and women.  In 1980 the group focused solely on women’s voices and in 2000 changed their name to Cantilena.  The name means a song that is sung in treble voices.

The group is known for commissioning and premiering new works.  Some of the composers and artists whose works have been performed over the years include Brian Holmes, Kenneth Seitz, Amy Beach, Margaret Bonds, Mabel Daniels, Emma Lou Diemer, Arthur Foote, Horatios Parker and Edward MacDowell.  Cantilena has also performed the music of well-known composers such as Brahms, Faure, Britten, Holst and Schubert.

Performances and Ticket Information

Cantilena runs a fall season and a spring season, with each season commencing in a public concert.  The group also performed their first summer concerts this year in July to much success.  Tickets for concerts are $20 at the door, $18 in advance and $12 for students and seniors.  Advanced tickets can be purchased at The Book Rack at 13 Medford Street in Arlington.

Cantilena rehearses and performs at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church at 630 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington Center.  It is located on the corner of Pleasant St./Rt 60.

Audition Information

If you are interested in joining Cantilena, they hold open auditions the first three Mondays in September and January.  Members are encouraged to have some sight-reading ability or a good ear.  Those interested should plan to come to one of the first three rehearsals of the season and to stay afterwards for a brief audition with the music director and audition committee.  The audition consists of vocal exercises and tone matching.  You will then sing a familiar tune of their choosing.  No preparation is required.

Cantilena rehearses each Monday evening from 7:30pm to 10pm at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church.  The fall season runs from the first Monday after Labor Day to the concert date.  The spring season runs from the first Monday after New Year’s Day to the concert date.  Rehearsals are held on all Monday holidays including Columbus Day and Patriot’s Day.


From 128 North or South take Route 2 to the Route 60 Arlington exit.  Turn left and continue to Pleasant Street until it intersects with Massachusetts Ave.  First Parish is the white church on the left.

From Downtown Boston take Storrow Drive west until it intersects with Route 2 West.  Take Route 2 to the Pleasant Street/Arlington exit.  Turn right and continue on Pleasant until it intersects with Massachusetts Avenue.  The church is on the left.

From Cambridge follow Massachusetts Avenue until it crosses Pleasant Street.  The church is on the left.

A number of buses connect Arlington Center to the Red Line.  Weekdays the 79, 350, and 67 are available at Alewife station.  On Sunday the 77 bus from Porter Square or Harvard square is the best option.

Parking is available at the Arlington Library to the right of the church on Mass Ave.  On-street parking is also available on Pleasant Street.  For more information please visit

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