Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's Easy Bein' Green!

As we prepare to bring our Elemental program to the Twin Cities, we wanted to let everyone know the ways that Cantus strives to stay green as we tour, rehearse, and even create our CDs!

Biking or bussing to rehearsal is my usual M.O., along with refilling water bottles I acquire many times. My wife and I decided to remain a one-car family, choosing to live near a transit station when we relocated here from San Francisco (a very green town). Reusing is better than recycling, so if I can repurpose anything, I will: medicine bottles can become a flight-friendly hair gel container, and I haven't taken notes on a new sheet of paper in 5 years! -Gary

Here are testimonials from some of the other artists:


I ride my bicycle to the rehearsal and to the office as much as possible. We often use public transit to get downtown and always use public transit (Shahzore and I) to get the the airport for tour. I also volunteer for Transit for Livable Communities.

Shahzore and I also have a "Nature Mill" composting machine on the balcony of our condo. This machine can take up to 5 pounds of food and paper waste a day to make compost. Up to 25 pounds a week! It turns it into compost that we use in our herb garden in the spring and give to friends to fertilize their gardens.

We switched to GPS to avoid printing huge packets of paper directions.

On tour I carry my own water bottle and we've discussed getting "Cantus" bottles with our logo to use on stage.

You could also talk about gas mileage per person. We have 4 or 5 people in a minivan (usually) that gets about 21 MPG. So that's a pretty good per person mileage. It's taking 1 gallon of gas to transport 4 or 5 of us 21 miles-. Most commuters are getting that kind of mileage for one person.


Sometimes I ride my bike when the weather is nice. And I use a stainless steel water bottle instead of plastic ones.


Whenever I print off scores of my own pieces for the singers, I print them on the reverse side of used printing paper. When we get our scores, none of the pages looks the same! Some of them have holes punched in the wrong side, some will have one sheet of random resume paper, and some have copied magazine articles on the back. Furthermore, if we ever are done with a one-sided copied score (public domain, of course), meeting agenda, or board report, a
couple of us will collect the pages and just stick them on our personal printer trays at home.

Whenever we travel somewhere in the metro area, we carpool to the fullest extent. If you see two four-door sedans caravanning around with nine guys in them, you can bet it's Cantus!

"While You Are Alive," our latest studio album, used recycled packaging. The cardboard sleeve was post consumer content, we used soy-based inks, and the plastic tray for the disc was made out of 100% recycled pop bottles.

Last tour (Allied) Aaron insisted that we use the stow-n-go part of the minivans (under the floor) for recycling. We would throw cans, bottles, and other recyclables down there until we found an official collection bin at a performance site. Then we'd empty the van and start all over again.


I do ride my bike to rehearsal when I can, but I guess the greenest thing I did when I moved here was start to live in a place near downtown so I could just walk to work. I've lived for over a year near Loring Park, which has allowed me to basically walk everywhere, and use public transportation for whenever I needed to get outside of my immediate vicinity.

We invite our audiences to join us in conserving, reusing, and recycling, both at the office and at home. Please also join us next Friday night at St. Olaf Catholic Church, downtown Minneapolis, or Sunday afternoon at St. Bartholomew's in Wayzata. Visit for times and tickets.

See you there!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


So all of you folks probably wonder if we actually made it to Alaska. Of course you know the answer if you've been on our Facebook page--but we haven't said much on the blog!

Alaska has been absolutely incredible. We started the tour with educational outreach in Anchorage followed by a sold out show. Here's a shot of the view from our hotel in downtown Anchorage.

Then, we headed over to Fairbanks for a concert in the lovely Davis Concert Hall. Great acoustics and a terrific crowd. It really felt like the audience was right with us for the entire show. After the show--they wiped us out of CDs!!

We also had the incredible opportunity to take the show "on the road" to Delta Junction and Healy, small towns on opposite sides of Fairbanks. The 2 hour drive in either direction was just stunning. Here's a shot from our drive to Healy, AK.

Now, we're in the city Kodiak on Kodiak Island. Kodiak is sometimes called the "Emerald Isle" because of it's lush vegetation and beautiful vistas. We have our final show tonight in Kodiak--we're looking forward to meeting some of the folks here. I'm sure they will be as receptive as the everybody else we've met in Alaska.

Just in case you're wondering what it looks like in Kodiak. Here's one last shot. Enjoy!