About Us

The Cantando Choir was formed in 1987 and is one of the major choirs in the Waikato Region with a regular membership of over 100 voices. Cantando aims to achieve musical excellence in all aspects of choral performance, offering its members the joy and pleasure of singing in a large choral group.

The Choir, led by its Musical Director Rupert D’Cruze, recognises the importance of building on the skills and talents of its members, and provides a supportive environment offering the opportunity for development and growth.

Cantando performs at least three major concerts per season, which include a wide range of repertoire including major works such as Verdi’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah, as well as its regular ANZAC Reflections presentation and performances of lighter music.

The Choir has an on-going partnership with the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra, and the two groups have given many successful concerts together.

We are always interested to know of new singers, particularly tenors and basses, who may be interested in joining us. If you already have some choral singing experience and are keen to develop your skills then please do get in touch with us.


Rupert D’Cruze gained his earliest musical training through the great British choral tradition in the Temple Church Choir in London and was later Principal Trombone with the European Community Orchestra.

Amongst his early influences were such eminent figures as Sir George Thalben-Ball, Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle. He studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where Sir Colin Davis and George Hurst were powerful mentors. He was awarded the Philharmonia Prize conducting prize in London, second prize in the Hungarian International Conducting Competition, Budapest, and finalist’s prize in the Tokyo International Conducting Competition. He went on to direct the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, the South German Radio Orchestra, the North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy as well as many others. For many years he was Artistic Director of the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra.

Since moving to New Zealand, as well as his work with Cantando, D’Cruze is also Music Director of the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra and the Hamilton Festival Chorus. He has a busy guest conducting schedule and has worked with the Hamilton Civic Choir, the Opus Orchestra, the Manukau City Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Choral Society, the St. Matthews Chamber Orchestra, Auckland, the Graduate Choir of New Zealand and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. He is also in demand as a teacher of conducting, regularly directing courses in Hamilton and Wellington.

ACCOMPANIST - David Woodcock

Originally from Wales, David studied music at University in Bangor, then trombone at the Welsh College of Music and the Royal College of Music.

In 1983 David moved to New Zealand, to play trombone, and occasionally piano and celeste, with the Auckland Philharmonia. He also played with the NZSO, and many touring orchestras for visiting artists such as Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth. He is also a composer and arranger, having worked with all the New Zealand orchestras, and many overseas, including the London Philharmonic.

Since moving to Hamilton a few years ago David now has more opportunity to use his piano skills once again, being called on to accompany many local singers and instrumentalists. He regularly plays piano and other keyboards for the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra, and is the pianist for Opera Brava.

David has also over the last few years had the pleasure of making even more noise than his time as a trombone player when he assisted with the fireworks display and firing the cannon in the 1812 Overture at the Hamilton Gardens Festival.

Recent news: We also want to congratulate our Accompanist David Woodcock.  David was awarded first place in the 2016 SOUNZ Brass composition prize. The winning entry, Elegy was given its first performance by Belgian cornet soloist Harmen Vanhoorne, accompanied by the composer, at the national brass band competitions held in Napier in July.

David was also awarded first place in the 2016 Experianza Music Composition Prize, for a piece written for brass band. "David's excellent piece Conflict was referred to as being elegantly crafted, dynamic and full of interest for the listener".  He tells us that the piece will be published by Experianza Music.