PENINSULA CANTARE continues to make an important contribution to the choral music scene in the Bay Area since it was founded in 1971 as the Peninsula Master Chorale at Cañada College. The enthusiastic, experienced choral singers come from the mid-peninsula and beyond. CANTARE is dedicated to keeping alive the great choral masterpieces and exploring new music for the education and enjoyment of our audiences. Program repertoire ranges from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century; from a cappella literature to major works with orchestra. In addition to Bay Area concerts, the choir has toured the globe, including to the Baltics in 2018 with members of the San José State University choral program and Resounding Achord.
The founding director, Carl Sitton, began teaching at Cañada College at its inception in 1968 and was head of the voice and choral departments. He was known widely in the United States as a choral conductor and composer. A student of the French composer, Darius Milhaud, he published over twenty five compositions and arrangements, as well as nine commissioned scores for theater and dance and two anthems commissioned by Woodside Village Church for their centennial celebration in 1993. He was president of the Bay Area Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and appeared as a conductor at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association.
Janice Gunderson became the second director of the Peninsula Master Chorale (renamed Peninsula Cantare) in January 1997 after serving as the accompanist since 1986 and then stepping in to finish the fall 1996 season with a memorial service for Carl Sitton, including the Fauré Requiem. In 2003 Cañada College discontinued its music departments, so under Janice’s leadership, Peninsula Cantare became an independent, nonprofit organization. After 15 very successful years, she retired as director in December 2011.
Several others led the organization between 2012 and 2014, and we thank them for their service and talents, and for leading us to Dr. Jeffrey Benson in 2014: Ilan Glasman, James Richard Frieman, and William O’Neill.