Acantus was founded in 1947 as a churchchoir originally under the name Sint-Martinus Choir. Since then the choir’s rich history shows it has become much more than that and it has taken on the most diverse musical challenges. The choir regularly performs the ‘serious stuff’ such as oratorios or cantatas with orchestra and soloists. In this respect we can mention the Coronation Mass, the Vespers and the Requiem by Mozart,the Coronation Anthems by Händel, Gloria and Magnificat by Vivaldi, A Ceremony of Carols by Britten, the RequiemsbyDuruflé and Fauré, the Christmas Oratorio by Bach, and cantatas by Buxtehude, Telemann, Zelenka, Bach and Purcell.
Acantus brings a broad spectrum of religious and secular choral music but also an appealing lighter programme with a selection from the rich European treasure of folksongs – and even an authentic jazzprogramme‘A cup of jazz’, in 2015!-
In 2017 the choir celebrated its 70th anniversary with two performances of the ‘Weihnachtsoratorium’ by Bach.
In 2018 it was granted the honour ofmusicallyaccompanying Mass in Brussels Cathedral in the presence of the Belgian Royal Family in order to commemorate the passing of King Baldwin, 25 years earlier.
In November 2018 the choir twice performed Duruflé’sRequiem in remembrance of the end of the First World War. The concert also included readings of diary fragments and letters from soldiers serving at the front.
Acantushas co-operated several times with folkgroup Ishtar with programmes such as ‘Europe celebrates Christmas’ (2016, 2019) and ‘Balkan Express’ (2019). It also raises its concerts to a higher level by working with professional orchestras and soloists.
Acantus has been successful in several choral contests in Tongerlo, Valmeer, and Raeren. At the provincial choral contest Acantus has repeatedly been classified in the ‘Excellence’ category. Participating in the choral contest ‘Choir of the Year’, organized by the Flemish television network (-VRT-) and broadcast by them as well,Acantus managed to reach the finals, alongside many of the best choirs in the country, once more a highlight in its rich history.
Acantus can rightly call itself a cultural ambassador of the town of Beveren because in 1989 the choir went international and has since travelled abroad 21 times.It has visited many European countries in all directions of the compass, where it has been allowed to perform in renowned places and prestigious cathedrals.