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 upper 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 the 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 yet approachable fashion. Our founding Musical Director, Dr Kate Wishart, worked with us between 2018-2023 . Musical direction now comes from Andrew Foxley with 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.

Andrew attained his undergraduate degree in music at Nottingham University, majoring in vocal studies during which time he benefited from conducting tuition from the eminent British conductor Norman del Mar. As an undergraduate, Andrew was appointed as the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Nottingham Chamber Orchestra, a post which he still holds today and has seen him work with internationally renowned soloists including Allan Schiller and Ronan O’Hora.  Andrew has combined a career in medical research with his role for the NCO and other musical projects including musical theatre revivals at the Buxton Opera House with Derby-based theatre group Present Company.

Following a move to Cambridge in 2014, Andrew returned to singing and has performed with the Wolfson College Choir, Cambridge Philharmonic Choir, Accorde Chamber Choir and Cantus Singers in addition to giving a variety of other solo performances.  In recent years in addition to the NCO he has been Musical Director of the Accorde Choir with a focus on broadening the choir’s repertoire. His energy, life-long passion for voice, great musical sensitivity and extensive experience drives Serenata forwards – we have some exciting new projects planned in the next few years!

Bethany has an MA in Music Therapy in addition to her undergraduate degree; she teaches the piano, directs two community choirs and undertakes composition in her spare time. Her sensitive and communicative playing is a key ingredient of Serenata’s sound. Serenata’s members between them are highly experienced, incorporating professional and amateur musicians who have been singing together for more than five years.

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…..