About Us


Why female voices?

Throughout history, composers have written music for women to sing together to exploit the unique harmonics and resonances of the female voice. The most widely known early music for female voice is probably that of Hildegard von Bingen from the 12th century. Since then most composers have written for female choirs; there are well known works by Palestrina, Victoria, Purcell, Brahms, Holst, Schubert, Mozart and Poulenc amongst the more than 14,000 pieces of music widely available today. And the rich blend of sonority achieved by three, six or nine part harmonies continues to be exploited by modern composers such as Gjeilo, Todd, Rutter and Jenkins, all writing specifically for female voice. Serenata are proud to have championed new works by local composers including Sarah Cattley (see sarahcattley.co.uk) and Andrew Bruce. 

Our repertoire includes a wide variety of pieces and genres drawn from the 12th century up to the present day; as a chamber choir of 20 voices Serenata are available to perform concerts in larger venues as well as more intimate gatherings. Engagements have included several Cambridge Colleges, Oundle, Holt Festival Fringe, Burnham Thorpe, Downham Market and Swaffham Prior. Do come and hear us!

Serenata is dedicated to presenting the rich heritage of women’s vocal music in an uncompromising but approachable fashion. With musical direction by Dr Kate Wishart and sensitive accompaniment by Bethany Kirby, the choir perform each piece with authenticity and tenderness, exploring the integrity of each composition through the delicate layering and blending of the individual parts.

Kate, a former GP and accomplished GP educator, trained as a timpanist at the Royal Academy after growing up surrounded by music. She has worked with a variety of orchestras, opera companies and soloists throughout a varied musical career. Bethany has an MA in Music Therapy; she teaches the piano, directs two community choirs and undertakes composition in her spare time. Serenata’s members between them are highly experienced, incorporating professional and amateur musicians who have been singing together for more than five years.

But Serenata is more than a choir – it is a collective based on longstanding and enduring friendships ensuring emotional depth and connection in everything the choir does…..