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STEMBAND 2018

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Quarterly magazine // V.U. Koenraad De Meulder, Zirkstraat 36, B–2000 Antwerpen // Amaranthe © Florian Keirse

English edition

World Choir Games

Rise Up and Waelrant take up the gauntlet

Tribute to Vic Nees

the great Flemish composer and conductor

Raymond Schroyens 85 composer in the spotlight

mar. apr. may


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• World Choir Games Show choir Rise Up and Youth choir Waelrant take up the gauntlet

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• Short news

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• Choir 

 world

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• Stepping beyond your own boundary introspective choirs

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• CD news

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• Tribute to Vic Nees

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• Repertoire news

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• New scores!

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• Raymond Schroyens 85

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• Why not derange an arranger Chris Carlier

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• Calendar

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• Choir wltm conductor

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• Column: Wailing Guitars Vic Nees

VIC NEES INSPIRES We live in a world where everything takes place in an international landscape of almost endless possibilities. The room for innovation seems almost boundless. Globalisation is pushing us ever further away from the seclusion of our own community and region. But we should not see that as a threat. On the contrary, it also creates opportunities, numerous challenges and adds a creative dimension to our society. How, can the Flemish choir community present itself on this large international forum? Fortunately, we have beautiful examples which we can use to mirror ourselves. Consider the life and work of composer and conductor Vic Nees. On 8 March, he would have celebrated his 82th birthday. On 14 March, however, it will be five years since this great composer passed away. For Vic Nees, respect for identity and critical attention to quality were preconditions to play an active role in the globalised world. With his open and sharp mind, he refused to go along with those who too quickly felt unappreciated

at home. He believed that artistic quality always needed international scrutiny, preferably without compromises. He applied the same principles to his own composition work, in his work as conductor of the Flemish Radio Choir and in his personal commitment to the Flemish choir world. Vic Nees, together with his fellow composers and conductors, ensured that the Flemish choir music acquired its own identity and gradually gained recognition and appreciation in the international choir community. Vic Nees was one of those pioneers for the Flemish choir world and that is precisely why he continues to inspire the young composers and conductors to this day. We are therefore happy to put the value of his work in the spotlight. You can even enjoy one of Vic’s sharp and witty columns of yesteryear at the back of the magazine. Koenraad De Meulder Directeur Koor&Stem

KURT THOMAS COURSE The ultimate summer course for every (choir) conductor Between 6 and 14 July 2018, the 52nd edition of the Kurt Thomas Course will take place at the Utrecht Conservatory. The Kurt Thomas Course (KTC) offers (choir) conductors of all levels and within different genres a varied and intensive programme. As a participant, you will be immersed in the beautiful world of choral music for nine days. Everyone will be ranked according to level and is, therefore, given the chance to develop optimally within a small group. The KTC is run by a group of highly experienced teachers, many of whom have been involved in the course for many years, but also makes room for new perspectives every year. This year, the KTC adds no fewer than three new faces to the team: Vocal Coach Bauwien van der meer, Jazz, Pop and Vocal Leadership expert Merel Martens and as a special guest: top conductor Daniel Reuss. Daniel Reuss gained fame as, among other things, artistic director of Capella Amsterdam and has been appointed

Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion for his exceptional merits. During KTC’18, he will be working with the top groups and coach them through Arvo Pärt’s impressive Adam’s Lament for choir and string orchestra. New during the KTC’18 is a three-day course for children’s choir management. This specialisation takes place on 6, 7 and 8 July. In addition to the daily lessons in children’s choir management, as a participant, you will also attend the shared moments of the regular course: the reveille, workshops and evening choir. The lessons will be given by Peggy Hegeman. More information will be published on the website soon! After nine days of singing, studying, learning and inspiring each other, the KTC traditionally concludes with a grand and festive closing concert in the Nicolaï Church in Utrecht on Saturday 14 July. 6 – 14 July 2018 (6-8 July for children’s choir conductors), Utrecht | www.hku.nl/ktc


66TH EUROPEAN YOUTH MUSIC VOCAL JAZZ FESTIVAL CHORAL WEEKAt the end of April this year, Neerpelt will be awash with choir singers. For five days, 96 youth choirs from 24 countries will be descending on this north-eastern corner of Belgium to celebrate the pleasure of singing together. The festival will be opened with a large kick-off show in the sports hall of the Provincial Domain Dommelhof - the festival hall of EMJ - followed by a parade to the market square of Neerpelt where a large folk festival will be held with food, drink, dance and fireworks. The backbone of the festival is the choir performances that are judged by an international jury, spread over five days. For these judged concerts, compulsory works were written by Flemish composers, such as Luc Anthonis, Martin Slootmaekers, Ludo Claesen, Maarten van Ingelgem, Sebastiaan van Steenberge and Rudi Tas.

END IN EUPEN

score best at the festival. On Saturday a big happening takes place, with both individual and collective performances of selected choirs and on Sunday morning you can enjoy an aperitif concert. On Monday evening 30 April, there is also something special this year for the participating choirs, as they are invited to form a large choir in Ypres during the commemorative service for World War I, known as The Last Post. This is a beautiful programme, to be enjoyed by the choirs and public alike!

Koor&Stem and its sister organisations A Coeur Joie and Födekam will invite the German vocal jazz specialist Matthias Becker in April. Matthias Becker, who is a CD producer, vocal coach, arranger and conductor, gives workshops on choral music in the jazz genre in Germany and internationally. If you want to set your voice free in vocal jazz arrangements, or want to get acquainted with a diverse range of choral repertoire, ranging from pop, jazz, right through to swing, then this is an excellent opportunity.

27 April – 2 May 2018, Neerpelt | www.emj.be

© EMJ festivalpictures

In addition, the choirs will also be giving numerous concerts in the area, and then there is, of course, the daily parade, a festive tour through Neerpelt with the participating choirs, ending in the daily proclamation in the large festival hall. Every evening, there is also a laureate concert involving the choirs that

SINGING BRUSSELS CELEBRATION WEEKEND

During this weekend, organized by the choral federation of the German-speaking community, Matthias Becker will be giving you the opportunity to try out vocal grooving and swinging. What can you expect? An introduction to repertoire with different degrees of difficulty, fun warm-up exercises suitable for choirs and singers practising various light genres, fascinating exercises and circle songs in which both hearing and singing are practised. On Saturday evening, there is also a master class for conductors.

Henry Le Bœuf of BOZAR. This impressive performance also brings the international project Cantania to a close in a splendid way! 5 & 6 May | free access, but don’t forget to sign up! | www.bozar.be/singingbrussels2018

21 & 22 April 2018, Eupen | foedekam@skynet.be, 080 22 65 55

© Karel de Puysseleir

With Singing Brussels, BOZAR invites you to turn our capital into a giant city of song. Adult or child, professional singer, amateur, or novice, it doesn’t matter; everybody can join and add their voice to the huge choir which forms the focal point of the Singing Brussels Celebration Weekend on May 6 2018. To make this choir happen, BOZAR organizes workshops. Paul Smith, member of the outstanding ensemble Voces8, prepares you with his unique and accessible approach. During the Celebration Weekend thirty amateur and professional choirs join in. They bring protest songs, an echo of BOZAR’s theme: The Sound of Change and BOZAR Occupied. Discover also the brand new Belgian National Youth Choir BEvocaL and many interesting workshops. To close the celebrations, there is the annual concert of 700 students of Brussels schools in the Big Hall

There is a lot of interest nowadays in vocal music from the non-classical genres. A genre like jazz has its own unique character and requires talents and sensitivities that are different from classical choir music. Matthias Becker tells us, “An essential element in pop and jazz in relation to classical choral music, is an embodied ‘groove’. Rhythm and groove distinguish pop and jazz most from classical music, which attaches more importance to form. Without a well-developed sense of beat and rhythm and its translation into movements, it is very difficult to make a choir groove and swing. The harmonic language is also clearly different, as is the pronunciation of the generally English language.”

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WORLD CHOIR GAMES

SHOW CHOIR RISE UP AND YOUTH CHOIR WAELRANT TAKE UP THE GAUNTLET Between 4 and 14 July, the tenth World Choir Games will be held in South Africa. For 11 days, choirs from all over the world will take part 4

in the competitions, the Friendship Concerts and workshops. Two Flemish choirs, show choir Rise Up from Neerpelt and youth choir Waelrant from Borgerhout, are very excited in the run-up to this musical adventure.

RISE UP Rise Up is a show choir, that’s an unknown quantity in Flanders? Karin Lauwers, conductor: “That’s true, the singing quality is important to us, of course, but we also dance and attach great importance to what we wear and decor. Everyone sings and dances. This is quite unique in Flanders. Our repertoire ranges from pop, musicals, right through to real classics.” It’s the first time the choir is taking part. How did you come to that decision? “I think it’s important that our choir members, girls aged 15 to 25, are able to develop their full musical potential and also stand on stage. Such a festival is an extra stimulus. In the past, we’ve taken part in the European Youth Music Festival in Neerpelt and the BALK

TOP Festival in the Netherlands, with success.” Elina, soprano: “These good results are a real confidence booster and the competitions represent a true rollercoaster of emotions: tension, sometimes disappointment but also tears of joy.” Karin Lauwers: “We take the judges’ comments on board to reach a higher level. But at least as important is the experience, the fraternisation with other choirs from different cultures. Last year in Neerpelt, for example, we met the South Cape Children’s Choir. They proposed a joint tour of South Africa. We were up for it straight away. The fact that we can combine that tour with the World Choir Games is, of course, an added bonus.” What does the schedule look like? “After five days of World Choir Games, we start trekking: Pretoria, George and Cape Town.

There will be a concert in a vineyard and a workshop in a township, with some sightseeing in between. Fifteen days is quite a commitment, but all our members are coming along.’ There are different categories and activities at the WCG. What will you sign up for? “We picked two categories: the show choirs, in which we will also be judged on dance and experience, and the ladies’ series, for an assessment purely based on singing quality. For the category of show choirs, we will be bringing an Adele medley and a ballad, Jar of Hearts. For the women’s choir category, we chose Marieke by Jacques Brel and Children of the Sun, a beautiful five-part song. Elina: “I’m particularly fond of Stand my ground by Within Temptation, a very varied four-part arrangement with beautiful harmonies and a powerful chorus. Hopefully we will blow the jury away with this one.” Karin Lauwers: “We will also be giving a Friendship Concert with other show choirs. If possible, we’ll grab the opportunity to take part in a workshop while we’re there.” How do you prepare for this? “First we still have a lot to do, like the festival in Neerpelt and our own concert, so we have to divide our attention. We will do a try-out of the competition programme in April.” Are you hoping for a medal? Lene, mezzo-soprano: “I am mainly looking forward to the experience and all the beautiful moments along the way. But good results would


Rise Up

YOUTH CHOIR WAELRANT Youth Choir Waelrant also takes part in the World Choir Games. Is this a deliberate choice? Marleen De Boo, conductor: “Certainly. The youth choir is only one of the seven Waelrant choirs, but it is the choir that most often participates in festivals. The choir members have an enormous drive and the atmosphere is good, so we achieve good results. It was the members themselves who insisted on a choral journey through South Africa. Back in 2009, they were so impressed by the expressiveness of the South African choirs at an Italian choral festival. In 2016, we attended a workshop with a South African conductor at the Choralies festival in Vaisonla-Romaine. It was she who encouraged us to sign up for the World Choir Games.” What repertoire will you be bringing? “As we consider ourselves a training centre, we cover all possible genres: contemporary choir music, classical, folk songs and sometimes pop.” Do you think it’s important to participate in competitions and festivals?

Juriaan, bass: “Yes, but it really is all about the experience as a whole. If you win, it is of course fun and we also strive for the best, but at least as important is seeing the other choirs and getting to know new music and cultures.” Laura, alto: “Moreover, the group atmosphere is very special on a trip like this and we always come back more close-knit as a group.” You signed up for the categories ‘Youth’ and ‘Sacred Music’. What will you bring? Marleen De Boo: “In the Youth series, we chose, among other things, In de lente is mijn liefje gekomen by Lode Dieltiens and a Bollywood song Balleilaka. For the category of Sacred Music, we will bring Sing joyfully by William Byrd and Conversion of Saul by Randall Stroope. Jorien, alto: “The latter is really my favourite. It is such a bombastic song. With our big choir, it sounds very impressive.” Laura: “Halfway through, it turns into something very delicate. I think it’s great that our choir can also bring those quiet pieces well.”

flying from start to finish. If the jury doesn’t look up immediately, then we haven’t done our job. We’ve also signed up for a Friendship Concert, but we won’t be taking part in any of the workshops. Although they are appealing, they have placed an extra burden on an already well-filled schedule in the past.” Is the preparation for a festival or competition different from a concert? “We take more time for a competition. At a concert, you often have a more extensive programme, so there’s less time to focus on the finish. The choir members must give the impression that that they completely get the choral work musically and emotionally. In that way, they can also draw the audience into the music.” Jorien: “There is also practical preparation. We have already organised a lot of fund-raising initiatives, small concerts, spaghetti evenings… to keep it affordable for everyone.’ And the competition is followed by a tour through South Africa? Marleen De Boo: “Yes, we intend to visit all the choirs we have met in the past. For example, concerts with the University of Pretoria Youth Choir and the Drakenbergs Boys Choir are planned. We also meet a Canadian choir, Kokopelli, and hope for a concert with the Kwazulu Natal choir from Durban. We will be away for 20 days for – I’m sure - an unforgettable experience.”

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Charlotte Fouquet

Marleen De Boo: “Because of our place in the World Ranking List, we are registered in the Champions Rounds, so we expect fierce opposition. Above all, we want to show that we feel at home in all genres. We want sparks

Jeugdkoor Waelrant

certainly be the cherry on the cake! I certainly want to see the other choirs at work, too.” Karin Lauwers: “Of course we want to do well, but rather for our own benefits. We want to represent our choir and Flanders with pride.”


GREGORIAN CHANT IS MUSIC OF ALL TIMES ‘Gregorian chant is music of all times, for some as a bearer and echo of a deep religious or mystical experience, while for others, simply because it’s beautiful,’ says Bernard Deheegher, coordinator of the 150 or so volunteers who organise the International Gregorian Chant Festival of Watou. There are hundreds of music festivals in Europe, but the three-yearly festival in the border town of Watou is unique. It is the world’s largest meeting of Gregorian chant music performers of its kind. This year, 450 singers of almost 30 scholas and ensembles from all over the world will be present. The Gregorian chant revival is also noticeable in the business world. A good 20 years ago, the EMI label started selling CDs from the

choir of Benedictine monks from the Spanish town of Silos and that proved a big hit. Until now, sociologists and musicologists have not found a perfect answer to this spiritual and business phenomenon, because several millions of discs were sold worldwide. According to Bernard Deheegher, ‘this is primarily thanks to the topic of Gregorian chant itself. The unexpected success is partly attributable to a social phenomenon, in which young people show an increasing desire for a deepening of the mind. This is how Gregorian chant is rediscovered. Gregorian chant is not purely musical, there is something fascinating about it, something of a mystery and also something mystical.’ Festivals of Gregorian chant music are thin on the ground, there is another biennial festival

in the Netherlands and after the collaboration with Watou, a triennial festival in Vacz started after the revolutions in Hungary. In 1981, Watou started modestly with seven scholas; today there are many more. This year, many professional, semi-professional and amateur groups from all over Europe are descending on Watou. The traditional guests come from former Eastern Europe, Hungary, Poland, Estonia and Latvia. There are also groups from Vatican City, Norway, France, Spain, the Netherlands and even an internationally composed ensemble (Graces & Voices). This time round, only Schola Gregorian chanta Cantabo from Belgium will be performing. Psallentes, our best group, will be giving an evening performance alongside the Estonian top Vox Clamantis. Les Filles du Sacré Coeur from Japan have a much longer journey ahead of them, and so have Pueri Cantores from Daegu and Sowon Kim from South Korea, Schola Gregorian chanta de Bogotá from Colombia and The Choristers of St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir from Australian Sydney. Before the festival itself, with its numerous auditions, concerts and other activities in the Church of St Bavo, several groups will be performing in various Flemish towns. ‘Our audience is a mixture of believers, for whom Gregorian chant is a spiritual source, but also non-religious people who just like to listen to this kind of music,’ concludes Bernard Deheegher.

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9 – 13 May, Watou | preceding concerts from 4 May in Grimbergen, Poperinge, Koksijde, Antwerp, Brussels and Wervik | www.festivalwatou.be

Mirek Cerny

TENSO CHOIR COMPETITION 2018

there can be only one that will be awarded first prize: a new composition written especially for the choir! This competition is open to the public. 5 May 2018, 2.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m. | Arts Centre Nona, Mechelen | Register before 30 March on

Festival of Flanders Mechelen and TENSO Network Europe will present the second edition of the TENSO choir competition during Lunalia. On 5 May, five amateur choirs will be given the opportunity to amaze an international jury of conductors, composers and

musicologists with 20th- and 21st-century music in Mechelen. They will be singing a contemporary piece of work of their choice and a work by a composer from Flanders, both a capella with a total duration of 10 minutes. Each choir is given feedback, but

mechelen@festival.be


In this Stemband edition, Koor&Stem offers a number of scores as a IS WITH TH D tribute to one of AN S TE M B our great choral composers. It concerns four accessible choral works by Vic Nees of medium difficulty. There’s something for everyone: religious and profane work for both mixed and single-sex choir. From now on, each of these works will be available from www.koorklank.be free of charge. Visit the website, listen to the works and download the score for the entire choir. If you are looking for more work from Vic Nees, you will find a lot of recordings of his work at

gift

the listening post on Koorklank! The scores of those works are awaiting you in the library of Koor&Stem.

Bij Stemb and #15

, maart-a pril-me

VIC NEE

(1936-201 3)

i 2018

S

Nachtlie d – gelijk e stemm De zome en r is voorb ij gegaan Repleatu – gemeng r os me d koor um – ge Jezus, Uw lijke stemm naam is en honig – gemeng d koor In dankba re her inn

ering aan

Vic Nees

‘MECHELEN HEARS VOICES’ BECAME ‘LUNALIA’ With a new director and a new name, the former city festival ‘Mechelen hears voices’ is still a festival of vocal music, but now under the name Lunalia. The name Lunalia refers first of all to the moon, which the locals reportedly tried to extinguish at one point. It also refers to the song and the human voice (lia). The name Lunalia has a more international ring to it and that way, the Festival of Flanders has placed this city festival even more on the international map. Lunalia’s emphasis is on authenticity. In times of fake news, it is deliberately seeking out voices that have something ‘real’ to say. Not just beautiful tunes, but voices that speak, sing, hesitate, calm down, voices that touch. The well-known Graindelavoix, literally named after the grain of the voice, the unique character of each voice, brings the entire Tenebrae Responsoria cycle of Carlo Gesualdo in a marathon concert. Dandarvaanchig Enkhjargal (Epi) whisks you away to the unique atmosphere of Mongolian chants, which he accompanies on the Morin Khuur. Performance icon David Moss releases his creativity on Bach in his Goldberg Incantations and the award-winning German Amarcord pays tribute to composer Pierre de la Rue. As if all those vocal fireworks

weren’t enough, you can enjoy the ensemble Constantinople and master singer Marco Beasley under a genuine, full moon. As always, this festival is not only about the voice, but also about the musician and about strong ladies. Voice-in-residence is Sigrid Hausen. With her ensemble VocaMe, she highlights both the Mechelen cathedral and the special music of two other strong women: the visionary Hildegard Von Bingen and composer Kassia from 9th-century Byzantium. In addition, Sigrid Hausen presents in the city on the Dijle the eighth CD of her famous

RE-READ THE COLUMNS OF VIC NEES For years Vic Nees wrote a column for Stemband: every comma in place, not one word dispensable, just like in his music. Critical, poignant, witty, like glue for his thoughts on choirs. Koor&Stem has selected ten columns from 2003-2013 and put them into a nice pocket book. Do you want one or do you want to use them as a gift for your audience at a concert with Nees’ music? Contact us at info@koorenstem.be.

celebrated band Qntal: a true gothic moon party. For the choir lovers among you, we can make the following recommendations. The Croat Radio & Television choir led by Tomislav Facini, brings a concert with music from Dubrovnik. During this concert, the choir will be accompanied by Musa Horti led by Peter Dejans, who won the first edition of the TENSO choral competition last year. During another concert, you can see the flagship of Irish choral music at work, the Chamber Choir Ireland led by Paul Hillier. The second edition of the TENSO choral competition will take place on 5 May (see box)

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21 April – 6 May 2018, Mechelen | www.lunalia.be

VocaMe with voice in residence Sigrid Hausen © Severin Schweiger

SCORES OF VIC NEES


KOOR  WERELD

Your choir or project in the spotlights? Send us a recent and original picture and a text of maximum 100 words. Mail to stemband@koorenstem.be before May 3rd 2018.

EVERYONE IS SINGING! Everyone is singing! is a participation project by the non-profit-making organisation Zuidgeluid, in the context of Baroque year 2018, organised by the City of Antwerp. The project wants as many children as possible to take part musically and to teach them in a very accessible way the love for music and playing music together. This is possible through singing. After the Christmas holidays, the project started in six cultural centres of the Antwerp District where groups of children sing under the guidance of coaches. The barriers to part-time art education and spare-time participation, in general, are still too high for a large proportion of Antwerp children. The Meeting Centres are the ideal local partners for an accessible musical experience for them.

The project will culminate in a big closing event in the Blauwe Zaal of deSingel on Wednesday 28 March at 6.00 p.m., accompanied by the young Strijkers XS string orchestra, organised by Amaj vzw. This festive musical moment is a great opportunity for the participating children to explore a large cultural establishment.

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CANTATA AARSCHOT IS LOOKING FOR REINFORCEMENT FOR THE ARMED MEN After a successful 2017, with involvement in the Aarschot Choir Festival and two delightful Christmas concerts, we kick off 2018 with a new project. In the autumn, we are planning the performance of The Armed Men, A Mass

for Peace by Karl Jenkins, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WOI. The piece is an indictment of war and a plea for peace. It was composed in 1999 and performed for the first time in 2000 by Karl Jenkins himself.

The construction of The Armed Men leads us through all stages of war. In the music, this is expressed in threat, aggression, horror and sorrow, which ultimately manifests itself in hope and peace. This work for choir and orchestra allows for more than the 30 choir singers we have now. So to everyone who feels spoken to: welcome! www.cantate-aarschot.be


LUSTRUM CONCERT 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF GREGORIUS CHOIR 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF CUM GAUDIO CHAMBER CHOIR What does a person who has been graced with talents do? Multiply those talents! Inspire people, get people on board, share your knowledge, give people the joy of listening. This is exactly what Rafael De Troyer has been doing for the past 40 years in

Sint-Martens-Latem. As a passionate piano and organ player, he wanted to expand the Gregorius Choir. Singing brings joy. Mastering a melody step by step brings even more joy. Five years later, even more ambitiously, he founded the Cum Gaudio Chamber

Choir, all of whom were soloist voices, studying five-part Renaissance music. On Friday 2 March 2 at 8.00 p.m. in St Martinus Church in St Martens-Latem, we celebrate both anniversaries, led by Raf De Troyer, still at the helm, and the choirs will be bringing an overview of the choral challenges they have faced over the years. Come and celebrate the Lustrum with choir songs that sound like music to our ears and restore our faith in human beings doing good.

SINT-NIKLAAS CHOIR OOSTDUINKERKE IS GRANTED ROYAL STATUS On 2 December 2017, the honorary plaque and recognition as Royal Society was handed over to the Sint-Niklaas Choir at the Provinciaal Hof of Bruges. This was granted after Jan Douchy, the Treasurer, had drawn up a thorough history of the choir and following approval by the Governor and the Royal Palace. Starting in the playground of the primary school of Oostduinkerke in the mid-60s, the Sint-Niklaas Choir was officially established in 1967. The first conductor was the Reverend Tack. The choir has sung at many celebrations of the Eucharist in the churches of Oostduinkerke, Wulpen, Booitshoeke

and many other churches in the area, and the choir recorded an album with Christmas sounds back in 1968. This was followed in 1970 by the first performance of the Passion, which is still a highlight in the choral year. Performances in collaboration with other associations did not stop there. After the death of Reverend Tack in 2003, Chris Annys took over the conductor’s baton and in 2008, the baton was passed on to Paul Depondt, who has, so far, tried to propel the choir into the right direction by turning it into a fully-fledged four-voice and multilingual choir.

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STEPPING BEYOND YOUR OWN BOUNDARY If a choir has been in existence for some time and has been running well for years, you have to admit, we all tend to rest on our laurels a little. However, there will always be a time when it is useful to look at ourselves with fresh pair of eyes and ask ourselves: are we still doing what we really want to do and are we doing it well enough? At times like these, it is necessary, as a choir, to put the day-to-day activities to one side, to take stock and talk about the whys and the wherefores of the choir. Not an easy thing to do! We spoke with choirs who recently dared to search their own consciences.

“Having an audit is still quite unique in the world of choirs, I think! 10

Sebastiaan van Steenberge AUDIT IN THE CATHEDRAL CHOIR

Antwerps Kathedraalkoor

When Bart Paepen became the priest of the cathedral a few years ago, he expressed the

ambition of turning the cathedral of Antwerp and all of its operations into the world’s best and most vibrant. It was an ambitious goal, which also included the cathedral choir. At that time, Sebastian van Steenberge had

been the cathedral’s conductor for 17 years and it seemed like a good time to take stock. “Not that things weren’t going well for the choir, on the contrary!”, according to Luc Cooremans of the non-profit association Choraelhuys, who manages the choir. “The choir is doing well and we are proud of it, but it was a good time to take a close look at ourselves and think about a long-term vision.” Choraelhuys contacted Koor&Stem, who proposed an external specialist to carry out an audit of the choir: John Damsma. Cooremans: “John Damsma arrived here on a Friday and held an initial interview with our own conductor Sebastian of Steenberge about the functioning of the choir. That same evening, he attended a rehearsal. Throughout the weekend, he spoke with choir singers, choir parents, board members, the priest, the organist and so on. We also reviewed reports of voice coaches who had worked with the choir beforehand.” On the basis of this extensive visit, Damsma prepared a lengthy report on the choir. This was about vocal aspects, as well as about the choir as a group event, the positioning of the choir in the cathedral, the musical framework, but also the administrative side of things and the choir’s social conscience. “He recently came to discuss the report at great length”, Cooremans continues, “to check whether everything was clear, but also to help us come up with ways of taking the choir forward, based on that evaluation. We immediately drew up a long-term plan with objectives, points of improvement, etc.’’. “Having an audit is still quite unique in the world of choirs, I think!”, responds Sebastiaan van Steenberge. “I even get surprising reactions from other professional sectors, companies, academics. It’s not universally conceivable that resources could be made available to promote quality. That shows that it is a very courageous thing to do.” “In order to make an audit like this meaningful”, Cooremans continues, “it is very


important that everyone is clear about its usefulness”. Van Steenberge, too, agrees that an audit only works if you want to, and can, be open to it as a musician. “In addition, it is important to start developing a step-by-step plan based on the results immediately after the evaluation,” concludes Cooremans, “otherwise, the conclusions will remain unused and the evaluation has actually been in vain. Because we have set ourselves a clear plan of action, we must now have the courage to think further and put our money where our mouth is.”

YOU CAN’T MAKE A STRONG BRAND ON YOUR OWN While the cathedral choir is, of course, a choir with professional backing, this does not mean that as an ordinary choir association based on volunteers, you can’t carry out a similar exercise. At Senza Misura, a thorough self-evaluation came out of a difficult period. “A year ago, when I had managed our choir for just one year, I had to conclude that our choir lost many of its members”, testifies former manager Kristien Govers. The problem that then arose was that the choir and conductor were on two different wavelengths. The ambitions of the conductor were different from those of the singers, and that’s why many choir members no longer felt at home in the choir. The board sounded the alarm bell and decided to call the whole choir together to discuss the future of the choir. At that General Meeting, it was jointly decided that it was better to find a new conductor. That is how all of a sudden, a choir of 55 people found itself without a conductor.

broke the ice for us, as it were. He created a framework with which we could further search our own identity and our most important values as a choir. And we really did!”

continued to follow up the possible collaboration between the choirs. When we decided to become one choir, he even helped us choose a name.”

“Such a tipping point in the history of a choir, whether or not due to conflict,” says Erik Demarbaix, “is a crucial moment to reflect on your values and goals as a choir. Do you want to continue working as you are or do you want to take a new course? How do you anticipate possible challenges? Such questions are all the more important if you want to recruit a new conductor. As a choir, you want to be able to communicate clearly what you want, what you expect and what you have to offer, so that you attract the right person to make that happen together.”

Demarbaix: “In my dialogue with the choir, I wanted to say that open communication was all the more important now and unity indeed makes strength. Just go for something new together! was my advice. I felt that Kristien was completely sympathetic to that story and the board teams of the two choirs managed to create something new together.”

Govers: “What worked so well for us is that we as a board immediately communicated very transparently to our choir members. For the choir members, it was important that they knew we were surrounding ourselves with

Govers: “We felt supported by Erik as an external choir consultant throughout the process, which was really nice. The two choirs have amalgamated into the new choir Mjoezik based on mutual respect and with 100% loyalty, 100% honesty, 100% openness and 100% passion from both choirs. Meanwhile, we have 70 members and our first joint concert was really good. For us, this has become an incredible success story. It’s as if we have planted a seed on that first meeting with Erik and our former board, which has grown into a beautiful flower field in less than a year!”

The two choirs have amalgamated into the new choir based on mutual respect and with 100% loyalty, 100% honesty, 100% openness and 100% passion from both choirs.

“I called Erik Demarbaix, choir consultant of Koor&Stem immediately”, says Kristien Govers. “He suggested to come over and talk to our board. The Saturday after our phone call, he already sat at the table with us. Drawing on his experience as a choir conductor and choir consultant, Erik mainly listened to us and asked the right questions, said the right things at the right time. In this way, he

Kristien Govers the right people and that we were putting our cards on the table.” Demarbaix: “The most important thing for me was to help the choir find its positivism, drive and dynamics as quickly as possible. I put forward a temporary conductor who, with the choir, gave a lively aperitif concert with a limited programme. That certainly helped. Then, we searched for a conductor who would fit the bill in the long term.” In this quest for a conductor, the choir met the conductor of another choir in Kontich, Amivoca. This also brought the two choir boards together and after a lot of consultation, the two choirs decided to join forces. Which brought a whole new twist to the story. Govers: “In that period, I often called Erik who

“A choir is like a brand”, Kristien continues, “If you feel part of it and you stand behind the ideas and you live through them, then what you do can’t fail. As a choir, you must have the courage to step beyond your own boundary. You can’t afford to get stuck in your ways. I can only say from experience that it is safe to take the plunge if you do it thoughtfully and in consultation. I am very lucky with my board, but I advise everyone to be open-minded about such situations. Whatever you do as a board, don’t turn away from your choir and don’t be afraid to hire an external advisor.” Lieselotte Goessens

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CD NEWS While ‘Something for Everyone’ is how you could sum up our brief overview of our new CDs, there are some that stand out, like the new choir symphony of Piet Swerts or the luxury CD book about Gounod. In the previous Stemband, we announced the live recording of A Symphony of Trees by Piet Swerts. Meanwhile, this album of the jubilant label Phaedra is in the shops everywhere. “A Symphony of Trees has become an emotional, musical reflection on Passchendaele 1917”, writes the composer about his 19-part oratorio based on lyrics by the poet soldier Ivor Gurney in the beautifully crafted booklet. This sentiment is also passed on to the CD listeners by some 400 interpreters. (Phaedra) Although Italian Giovanni Felice Sances (around 1600-1679), who worked in Vienna, was a copious writer, he is relatively little known today. Harpist, singer, harpsichordist and leader of the vocal instrumental ensemble Scherzi Musicali, Nicolas Achten chose 20 pieces by Sances. The title Dialoghi amorosi is self-explanatory: innocence, desire, seduction, jealousy and despair are the key words in this amorous cantade. (Ricercar)

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The three Baltic countries have a highly developed choir culture. The 71-year-old Peteris Vasks is a leading composer in his native country Latvia. His music may not have much in common with the wellknown Pärt, but it appeals to many listeners because of its own atmosphere and simplicity. It is no different in the CD with recent religious works by Vasks. The Latvian radio choir and the Sinfonietta Riga led by Sigvards Klava bring a wonderful interpretation. (Ondine) The limited edition with cantatas and religious works by Charles Gounod caters for the demanding listener. To mark his 200th birthday, the book was published with two CDs, in which cantatas for soloists and orchestra, composed for the Prix de Rome (and prized three times between the 1837 and 1839) were recorded. There are also other works that Gounod wrote in the Villa Medicis. Hervé Niquet, at the helm of the Flemish Radio Choir, leads his ensemble with the Brussels Philharmonic. (Palazzetto Bru Zane) Another new recording of Mozart’s Requiem has been published. Arthur Schoonderwoerd depicts this well-known work as a Missa da Requiem, in its liturgical context with Gregorian chanting and enclosed Amen and Libera me. The Requiem would have sounded like this in Vienna. The Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam with singers such as Marijke van der Harst, Jelle Draijer and Harry van der Kamp and the instrumental ensemble Cristofori guarantee a good performance. (Accent) The further north we go, the more chance we have of finding a good choir. This applies just as much to the Baltic Sea as it does to Scandinavia. Crossing Borders is too heterogeneous a collection of works by older composers (Nielsen, Gade, Stenhammar) and 20th-century composers (Holmboe, Tjornhoj). Bo Holten founded Ars Nova Copenhagen in 1979 and since 2003, Paul Hillier has been the chief conductor of this vocal ensemble. The female voices, in particular, sound exceptionally clear. (Dacapo) MIrek Cerny

MEMORIAL CONCERTS Musa Horti sang a flawless performance of the Trumpet Te Deum at Vic Nees’ 75th birthday concert. Now, Peter Dejans has selected the Concerto per la beata Vergine, a beautiful concerto for oboe and choir. In addition, the choir sings the brilliant and compelling Singet den Herren ein neues Lied. As a framework, we hear work by Daan Manneke for choir and saxophone, by Rudi Tas and a creation by Kurt Bikkembergs: Tombeau à 5, Déploration sur la mort de Vic Nees. Sunday 11 March, 11.00 a.m. / Our Lady Chapel Antwerp (Koorlink concert) Sunday 11 March, 4.00 p.m. / St Margarita Church Tielen (Concert of Koorlink) Wednesday 28 March, 8.30 p. m. / Abbey Church Grimbergen (concert of CC Strombeek)

O SONG For Vic Nees’ 75th anniversary, Koor&Stem and Uitgeverij Davidsfond jointly published the book O Song - Vic Nees, portret van een koorcomponist in 2011. In this book, you will read all about Nees’ life and work as a composer, his activities as a conductor and musicologist, his love of words, as well as his national and international appeal. The monograph was supplemented by a complete catalogue of his works. It also includes a beautiful compilation CD with delightful studio recordings of very high quality from the VRT archives in which Vic Nees conducts his own Broadcasting choir. With texts and contributions from Kamiel Cooremans, Jan Dewilde, Katelijne Theuwissen and Roger Leens. An absolute must for every choral and music lover.

€ 29,95

€ 20,00


TRIBUTE TO VIC NEES FIVE YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH

ENDURING EMOTION AND SOBRIETY OF SOUND I experienced the meeting with Vic - now more than 25 years ago - as a great source of inspiration. Much earlier, I performed his music with Helicon and later also with the conservatory choir of Antwerp. In 1995, I made my final paper on Vic’s religious music and focused on the very well thought-out word/tone ratio and, thus, his erudite approach to language and meaning. In the context of my dissertation, I had a long, in-depth interview with Vic. Of course, he talked about his sources of inspiration Hugo Distler, Ernst Pepping and Albert Roussel. Striking in this respect was his obvious desire to move away from the Flemish romantic choir style, which he had known very well, thanks to his father, Staf. “I definitely wanted to do something different from my father”, he said openly. “The vocal-musical language of those days seldom used the lyrics as its starting point. Quite often, music would be written on Dutch lyrics that bore absolutely no relation to the Dutch culture.” Moreover, “There was a shocking lack of good Dutch-language text material. So it’s not surprising that our composers barely developed a feeling for this. In addition, the Flemish romantics had completely lost their link with the polyphonists and the Baroque, and the Flemish choral culture was mass-scale, fascinated by grandeur and bombastic harmonic effects, rather than by fine nuance and sonic austerity.” Especially the more mature Hugo Distler can be seen as a special source of inspiration for Nees. The linearity with the rediscovery of the Schütz language, the greater independence from the regular metre and above all the ‘richness of austerity’ were Distler’s tools to arrive at a new authenticity. Also striking is his great sense of responsibility in the liturgical

sphere and a deep faithfulness to the biblical writings. According to Nees, the Germanic influence of Distler makes Nees as a Catholic more Protestant in his religiously-inspired music. The typical Neesian expression may well be characterized by this viewpoint. As a Catholic, with a sense of more sensual Romanesque styles, he became fascinated by the strict tradition of German Evangelical church music. The up-front emotions of the Catholic Nees merged, as it were, with the cooler tone of the German movement.

NEUSSER MESSE In 1998, Vic called me to make an appointment. The German city of Neuss had commissioned the Belgian renowned composer Vic Nees to compose a mass in the context of the great Quirinus celebrations, the city’s patron saint. Vic did not want to follow the routine ordinarium (Kyrie, Gloria, etc...). He did not find that interesting enough. Because of my theological training, he invited me to Grimbergen to talk about a concept in which the litany, Gregorian, the motet and folk song would come together. The Kyrie had a basic recitation formula but interwoven with a text by Hildegard Von Bingen (12th century) in motet style. In the Gloria, he combined the Gregorian missa lux and origo with new rhythmic and imitative choral sections, accompanied by organ. It is striking that it is not until the end of the Gloria that a trumpet section appears to add a jubilant finish to the serene Gregorian. Well-chosen biblical excerpts from Jacob’s letter and psalms alternate with folk singing. The premiere of the Neusser Messe (in Neuss, obviously) was a run-away success. The choir was able to shine in the newly composed passages, but everyone could participate in community singing.

REGINA COELI BLUE BE IT In the years that followed, Vic and I joined forces to give workshops on his compositions

in Germany twice. In Ingolstadt near Munich, a number of choirs were studying his Magnificat. We spent a long weekend, during which I rehearsed and Vic offered clarifications. The Magnificat is considered to be his most comprehensive a-capella work and is a veritable choral Olympiad. The participants of various Southern German choirs were delighted with this ultimate challenge of mastering the 20-minute a-capella work. In the evening in the Stube, I asked Vic if he considered his Magnificat as his main work. Surprisingly enough, he replied that his Regina Coeli - Blue be it was more representative of his own style. This is the work in which the Gregorian Mary antiphon Regina Coeli is interwoven with the poem The Blessed Virgin Compared To The Air We Breathe by the Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins. A richly expansive soprano solo comes to the fore, along with a repetitive, down-to-earth choral section. In addition, the ethereal skies mentioned in the poem are reinforced by a celesta. ‘Reinforced’ is not the right word, because the silky soft celesta is hardly audible. Funny anecdote: When I performed the work in Antwerp in 2010, I had spared no effort to present a real celesta. Afterwards, Vic remarked dryly that he thought it was much better with a synthesizer “because the celesta never rose above the choir”.

Nees’ work It was with great pleasure that I performed so much of Nees’ work. This beautiful, moderate modernism with constantly surprising novelties (spoken choirs, repetitive passages, minimal music, expansive melismas, surprising instrumentations) and refined nuances (shifts in accentuation, building up from one interval or motif to a polyphonic range, seemingly cyclical symmetry, ostinatos) make studying the music a journey of discovery for the choir. And once known, it turns out to be enduring. This applies not only to the larger works

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described above, but also to the shorter choir sections that Vic Nees left us, which are of the same depth. Every choir finds a work that fits in. A legacy that will be cherished forever. Geert Hendrix | teaches large choir and choir direction KVC Antwerp, Director of SAMWD Lier, conductor of Helicon and La Passione, Lier

INVOLVED My earliest memory of Vic Nees dates back to the 80s, when he was conductor of the Radio choir and my father regularly worked with him as an organist. The Christmas concert that was shown on TV once in which they were dressed up as priests, we found hilarious as kids. Only years later, when I worked as a composer myself, did I meet Vic regularly. I appreciated his commitment to the younger generation, who he inspired by sharing his vision and experience.

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With Aquarius (as a singer) and with De 2de Adem (as conductor) I performed a number of his works. With a music festival of which I was chairman, we organised a performance of his Requiem in Aalst. And for the Camerata Aetas Nova, besides Raymond Schroyens and Michaël Vancraeynest, we each wrote part of the composition Nachtlied.

EIGHT JAPANESE FOLKSONGS I may feel the strongest connection with his Eight Japanese folk songs for mixed choir. We regularly sang it with De 2de Adem at concerts, often even in the open air: from a boat during the Ghent Festival and in the Japanese gardens of Ostend and Hasselt. This cycle offers great variety, from very melodic pentatonic passages, the tranquil intimacy of a lullaby right through to the powerful description of nature. The songs can also be performed separately. And two sections include a baritone solo.

Getting started? The open vowels in the Japanese language make it an easy language to sing. The biggest challenge lies in the search for the pronunciation of the letter ‘u’, which is somewhere between the Dutch ‘u’, ‘oe’ and ‘eu’. With the oe as in the French ‘fou’, you get closer to

it than with that in ‘boer’. And then there is the ‘r’, which is somewhere between the ‘r’, ‘l’ and ‘d’. You produce them with just one single tongue stroke. Ideal for the singers to further discover and refine their own voice techniques. Vic Nees’s arrangement offers beautiful lines for all voices. It is important to agree on the breathing breaks and to give the singers sufficient time during those breaks so that their voices can cope with the piece and the entire song continues to sound expressive. This creates a balance between the folk character of the original melodies and their contrapuntal effect. Maarten Van Ingelgem | composer, conductor of De 2de Adem, lecturer of composition at LUCA school of arts

INSPIRING As an 8-year-old child, I experienced a memorable musical highlight when I was allowed to perform with the children’s choir at the International Music Festival for Youth (EMJ) in Neerpelt. This was the first time I heard a composition by Vic Nees, namely the compulsory work Mietje. The personal way of expressing oneself as a composer made quite an impression on a young choir member. Later on when I was working as a young composer, Vic Nees undoubtedly left his personal mark on my creative work. When I was a young student, Vic Nees provided me with a scholarship in Germany, so that I was able to attend master classes in Darmstadt with Karl Heinz Stockhausen and Wolfgang Rihm, among others. The regular collaboration with Vic as a jury member in Neerpelt also remains an unforgettable personal experience. I remember Vic Nees as an affable, very intelligent man with a quirky sense of humour that typified him so much. Working as a choir conductor in Berlin and Brittany, among others, countless compositions of Vic Nees passed through my hands. What struck me again and again was not only the quality craftsmanship of his overall oeuvre, but above all: the joy among young and old during performances. The young composers who write for voices are also indebted to him without exception.

LIEDJES VOOR DE SLAPELOZEN Liedjes voor de slapelozen (songs for the sleepless) is one of my favourite compositions by Vic Nees. In the past, I have both sung and conducted this charming choral work on an international master class in France. The music is set to well-written poems with timeless content. It describes in a recognizable way the hunted pace of modern life, as a result of which the hard-working Flemish people hardly find any peace, at the expense of their precious sleep. It is a very gratifying work, both for the performers and the audience: enjoyable to sing, challenging piano accompaniment with the odd dash of humour that frames the work in a colourful way.

Getting started? Preferably start with both outer movements 1 and 7, in 8-part division, initially without piano accompaniment. Let the choir singers get used to the jazzy chords from the beginning. In part 1, Plena luna, a boy sings a brief solo part. You can conjure up a playful scene: the child appears in pyjamas with a teddy bear tucked under his arm. It is advisable to keep the metre tight at the beginning of part 1, but from bar 21 onwards a freer and more swinging version of the jazzy rhythm in triplets is desirable. However, make sure that the harmony remains the same, and not too much individual improvisation takes place. In part 2, Slaap nu, mijn kleine jongen (sleep now, my little boy), the mother goes upstairs with the child and tries to rock it asleep singing. In a quiet andante tranquillo tempo, the melody circulates regularly around clean quarter and quintet distances, alternating with a rising melodic line. A good alt soloist from the choir is capable of taking on this role. In the particularly demanding part 3, Waar is het programmablad (where is the program), the mother (alt solo) and the father (baritone solo) dialog in a smooth allegro energetic tempo and that should be performed with some irony. So both soloists have to deftly interact with each other with a rhythmic, punctual agility, so that the dialogue remains understandable and the humour is certainly not lost. In the 8-part a capella part 4, En wat later op de radio (later on the radio), the choir comments on the latest news items on the radio. This movement is quite short and slow, the harmonies are accessible and are once again immersed in a jazzy atmosphere that has been heard before. This short transitional section immediately turns into part 5, De wereld zucht van zorgen (the world groans with sorrow), in a dashing waltz tempo, mostly executed in unison. Language


Erika Budai | Composer, teacher of harmonics and music composition at the Leuven City Conservatory, conductor

BENIGNLY CRITICAL For me as a child, Vic Nees was that mythical figure who wrote the compulsory works for EMJ in Neerpelt and who was a member of the jury of numerous festivals where I took part as a choir. Only much later did I get to know him personally, as a result of the children’s choir days in Wetteren, of which he was very fond. He was always there when the choirs presented their work and gave his review of the delivery in a nice, yet very accurate way; with few words that he pronounced deliberately and interspersed with humour that wrapped his criticism in a mindful manner. I was already performing various works by Vic Nees with singers of all ages, which I enjoyed. His compositions are often said to be rather difficult to access. In my experience, however, the hard work in Vic Nees’ oeuvre is mainly for the conductor. His compositions are characterized by a strong word-tone relationship in which the lyrics are the starting point for melody, rhythm and harmony. As a result, the metric may appear somewhat complex and insurmountable at first. But when you discover how melody and rhythm are grafted onto the lyrics, it usually becomes clear how you can teach the work to your choir. The actual conducting often remains difficult because of the many bar changes, but here, too, I would advise conductors to keep the text as the anchor point.

Vic Nees with the radio choir, Flagey Brussels, 1992 © VRT, Phile Deprez.

expression is of crucial importance here. This part ends with a short baritone solo. The introductory bars of part 6, En voor al die niet kan slapen (for all those who can't sleep), are again 8-part a capella, immediately followed by the alto soloist, who still plays the role of the mother and enters into dialogue with the choir, accompanied on the piano. The intense colour of the harmonies is crucially important. Part 7 is a quasi reprise of part 1, except for some surprising final bars in the piano accompaniment, namely the standing clock with the recognizable motif of the London Big Ben, followed immediately by the call of the cuckoo clock, which tells everyone that it is time to finally fall asleep…

BERCEUSE Berceuse is a work on text by Paul Van Ostaijen and is very feasible for a single-sex choir or a somewhat older children’s choir. In this work, you can always involve the entire choir in the rehearsal process because the polyphony consists of three independent melodies that are stacked afterwards. Practise the polyphony with all children, change the parties regularly. This can then easily be spread across different rehearsals.

Getting Started? When learning the principal melody, it is best to try to integrate the resting moments immediately into the breaths. From the first rehearsal onwards, give the singers enough time to breathe after the first two brief motifs. Leave the melody flowing over the rhythm structure. The biggest challenge is to get the end consonant -s- pronounced together beautifully and make sure it is not over-articulated. As a conductor, you can coach that with a very quiet and small stroke without much pulse. Teach the lower voice to the entire group. With this melody, there is a danger that the singers will not rise enough in the short motifs, as a result of which the end notes will always be too low. When you bring the two melodies together, the unison in bar 6 is a good aid. Make sure your singers experience the unisono and focus on it for the ascending lines. Let them also experience the unisono on the final note very consciously. For the difficult start at mi in bar 7, you let the singers direct the melody to the la on ‘reus’. That way, they are less focused on the difficult start (seventh with the first voice).

Teach second, top voice last, also to the whole group. This melody is in itself quite simple, but difficult to combine with the other voices because it is conceived in a 3/4 time. For the first three motifs, it is certainly very useful to put them in that metre. A difficult note is the si in bar 5, characteristic of the doric mode in which this song was conceived. By not waiting too long before confronting the upper voice and main melody, you can work again from the different unisonos. The dissonance between the main melody and the upper voice in bar 7 is not a problem if the singers consciously stick to their own lines. Another point of attention is the breathing in bar 8. Never let it pass just like that. Bringing together the three melodies remains a challenge for the conductor. Know when a certain voice needs you so that you can guide them to the right place. I find it useful to let all children experience all parties in the polyphony, so they learn to hear better how the different melodies come together. Marleen de Boo | conductor Waelrant, teacher of postgraduate children’s and youth choir, teacher in the Singing with children programme

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DÉPLORATION SUR LA MORT DE VIC NEES In June 2016, Kurt Bikkembergs wrote the first of a series of works for an a capella choir, which he dedicates to his teachers, his friends, people who left a deep impression and who meant a lot to the composer. He calls his tributes Tombeaux, referring to the name that French baroque composers gave to the - often monumental - compositions in which they paid tribute to their fellow musicians. The first in the series, Tombeau à 5, is dedicated to Vic Nees. The second one will be in honour of Frans Mariman.

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Tombeau à 5 is written for five-part a capella choir (SSATB). It was given the subtitle Déploration sur la mort de Vic Nees and is written on the text of Klage (Complaint), a dark, gripping poem by Austrian poet Georg Trakl (1887-1914). Trakl’s poem is dark and mysterious in its imagery but at the same time very clear in its lamentation about loss. In Trakl’s case, loss is primarily the demise of humanity on the eve of the First World War. Bikkembergs translates this to the loss of a person with whom he felt close, a composer and conductor who was not afraid to write or perform new things, in short, a human being who was very dear to him: Vic Nees. Trakl’s complaint expresses - in a sense - how Bikkembergs felt about the passing of Vic Nees. As a text for his Tombeaux, Bikkembergs always chose a language that played an important role in the life of the composer for whom the work was written. For Tombeau à 5, this was German. In the early 1960s, Vic Nees studied choir management with Kurt Thomas at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg. But even before that, during his studies at the Antwerp Conservatory, he had already come into contact with Germany and the German youth music movement, which focused heavily on youth, music and choir singing. In his style, he was greatly influenced by the music of composers, such as Hugo Distler and Paul Hindemith. The choice of a German text was, therefore, obvious for Bikkembergs. It could also have been Möricke or Goethe, but it became Georg Trakl.

Tombeau à 5 is a slow, intimate and contemplative work. Bikkembergs proves once again that he is a master in giving a voice to text and setting a mood. This almost organic coming together of music and the feelings it evokes affords the work something self-evident. But this ostensible self-evidence is deceptive: the work is anything but easy to perform and requires from the singers high levels of concentration and a solid portion of technical skills. The work is easy to sing diatonically (horizontally); the challenge lies in verticality and forces the singers to continuously listen to themselves as well as to the other voices. Anyone listening to Tombeau à 5 will surely notice similarities with Bikkembergs’ Für viele (2013) both in terms of structure and tonality. For the composer, both works fit within a quest for new sounds, sensory and sensual stimuli that will make your hair stand on end. He composes on the edge of atonality. He himself calls his notation ‘extended tonality’: some tinkering at the root of tonality means that a major and minor third, for example, become two major thirds. The result is a 9-tone key, which forms the core of Bikkembergs’ musical system. For singers and listeners, this may, in the first instance, depending on their personal feelings or associations, perhaps sound uncomfortable, strange, oriental or even mystical. However, when you perform, or listen to, these works several times, you will soon get a sense of recognition that has a calming effect and allows your soul to be deeply touched by the lyrics, meaning, sound and atmosphere of the work. Peter Dejans and Ines Van Houtte

Vic Nees


REPERTOIRE NEWS The library of Koor&Stem regularly buys new scores. Make an appointment to visit the library in Antwerp or Ghent and discover more than 190 000 new and old scores! bib@koorenstem.be

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Gelukkig zijn, waarmee ze door het

We are happy to introduce a wonderful collection of fine choral arrangements. In 2015, the theatre group Fast Forward made the theatre production Gelukkig zijn (Happiness), with which they toured the country. Twelve other-language singers sang well-known Dutch songs and told about their lives and backgrounds. It was a resounding success. In the meantime, Fast Forward has become part of Theater van A tot Z, and from Gelukkig zijn the diversity choir Koruso was born. At the end of March, Koor&Stem will publish a collection of songs with choral arrangements for this production. Ik wil je, Porselein, De eerste sneeuw, Ik mis je zo and the title track Gelukkig zijn are just some of the heart-warming arrangements of Chris Carlier for mixed choir with piano. The pieces represent a renewal of the repertoire of both Dutch speakers and non-native speakers. Soon available in our webshop!

FOLKSONGS FROM NORWAY Henning Sommerro (DOB 1952) is an important composer and performer in Norway. He has written simple songs, chamber music, choral music, orchestral music, film and theatre music and three operas. As a professor of composition, organ improvisation and counterpoint, he works for the Music Department of the University of Trondheim. In the collection Folksongs from Norway, you

will find 12 rather simple arrangements of folk songs for (sometimes de-duplicated) mixed choir with a soprano or tenor solo or a cappella solo quartet. The texts are in plain Norwegian and cover both religious and profane subjects. We already discovered a few gems. Published by Norsk Musikforlag.

AFRICAN MOOD Cantem Africa is a multicultural solidarity choir project from Catalonia. In the publication, you will find ten African folk songs arranged by well-known Catalan composers for mixed choir. Cantem Africa invites you to travel through Africa, through welcoming songs, songs of gratitude, songs about life, birth and death. At the back of the bundle, you will find a short explanation of each song, including pronunciation tips. There is also a children’s choir version with piano accompaniment. The proceeds from the sale of this bundle go to a project for street children in Mozambique and orphans in Senegal. Published by Fundacio Main, Barcelona.

ALORS ON CHANTE... STROMAE! Who is left unmoved by a song by Stromae? The Brussels rapper quickly distinguished himself from many others by his flair, style and strong social-critical texts in French. The French publisher A coeur Joie and arranger Brice Legée arranged choral arrangements for a series of well-known and lesser known songs. Formidable will appeal to a lot of choirs. But don’t forget Papaoutai.

A sizable flood of words that requires solid rhythmic skills. You can listen to most of the arrangements on youtube on the arranger’s channel. For mixed choir and piano. Published by A coeur Joie.

FROM THE BALKAN Music from Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia and Albania: In Polyphonies des Balkans, women’s and children’s choirs discover choir music from the Balkan. The arrangements are usually simple: from one to four parts, with or without accompaniment by accordion, violin or hand-clapping. Published by A coeur Joie.

SOLO: EVERLASTING VOICES More and more people are starting to sing at a more advanced age. Because it is good for your health or because it’s just such a fun thing to do. Everlasting voices, issued by Peters, contains 24 solo songs with limited tessitura in all kinds of styles. The songs include information about the pieces and composers as well as pronunciation rules for singing in Italian, German, Spanish and French. There are also tips on how to keep your voice healthy and you’ll receive performance advice. There are two editions: one lower and one higher one.

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FOR CHOIR AND AUDIENCE

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CREATIONS

LITTLE HEROES OF STEF MINNEBO

CANTATE BY LUC VAN HOVE

On 4, 5 and 6 May, you can sample the creation of Stef Minnebo’s cantata Little heroes in Heist-op-den-Berg on the lyrics of Hilde Keteleer. The work covers several themes: multiculturalism, one world and small initiatives that make a big difference. The line-up is impressive: four horns, accordion, piano, two guitars, bass, percussion, SATB and choir soloists, but a more smallscale instrumentation is also possible. Available soon from Euprint.

A pas de deux in ballet is a dance duet. This Pas de deux is one for choir and audience. Paul Smith wrote it for SATB and piano, with the option of audience participation. This results in a duet between the performer and the audience. Throughout five movements (entree, adagio, variation one, variation two and coda, titles referring to the dance movements), the audience discovers the composition in which contemporary music is mixed with well-known themes from, among others, ballets by Tchaikovsky, texts by Shakespeare, Thomas More, Japanese poetry and world music rhythms and melodies. For its execution, you need a grand piano, djembe or other drum, triangle and wood blocks. Also fun additions are an electric piano, PA system, five microphones (for soloists) and a loop station. This work was performed in Bozar in May 2017 during the participatory project of Singing Brussels. Published by Peters.

On 22 February, Cantate opus 54 was created by Luc Van Hove (DOB 1957) in Leuven. The work is somewhat in keeping with the original religious and spiritual character of a cantata. The piece reflects on the concept of humanity, whether or not supported by faith, on the basis of various texts from three different traditions: an excerpt from psalm 22 in Latin (Old Testament), two texts in Sino-Japanese, an extinct language, a short reflective text that is read out at the end of a meditation day, translated into English (ZenBuddhist tradition) and a few verses from the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew, in English (New Testament). In the excerpt of psalm 22, man experiences himself as being abandoned by God, thrown on a cruel and merciless earth. This is contrasted by the other texts, which include traces of humanity and awe for human existence. The work is fundamentally one piece, although there are four distinct sections to be heard: intro, psalm 22, Sermon on the Mount and outro. The predominantly slow and introspective music is only interrupted by a more intense and expressive, also faster music of the Latin psalm. Published by Donemus.

MUSICAL

CHORAL SONGS BY JOHAN SLUYS

The romantic musical LalaLand is the winner of six Oscars, seven Golden Globes and five BAFTAs. Meanwhile, there are a number of songs (Someone in the crowd, City of stars, Another day of sun and Audition) arrangements for SSA or SAM with piano. Published by Faber.

On 18 November 2017 in Sint-PietersLeeuw, chamber choir Aquarius, led by Marc Michael De Smet, created five choral songs based on the lyrics of Peter Theunynck, as well as 17 by Johan Sluys for SATB, piano and two percussionists. In this work, a number of poems from Peter Theunynck’s collection of poems are set to music. In The Motor Cycle, the first drivers of the newly invented tanks are recruited. Yperite or mustard gas (used for the first time by the Germans in 1917) had devastating consequences for eyes, skin, lungs, etc. Canon meat is an allegorical poem in which the recruits are boiled in a cauldron. In Haig (the commanding officer of the Allies) the downward spiral of war is depicted by the fall of the trees. The homecoming of mutilated soldiers after the war is described in Coming Home. Not published, can be consulted in the library of Koor&Stem.

WOSHkoor ,

zang- en muziekgroep

Schouwburg cc Zwaneberg Cultuurplein 1 2220 Heist-op-den-Berg

Kaarten in voorverkoop: €15

Aan de kassa: €18 Reserveren vanaf 1 maart 2018 Tel. 015 24 11 21 of via de koorleden

vrijdag 4 mei 2018 – 20.00 u.

19.15 u. inleiding op het programma-Vélodroom-cc zaterdag 5 mei 2018 – 20.00 u. 19.15 u. inleiding op het programma-Vélodroom-cc zondag 6 mei 2018 – 15.00 u. 14.15 u. inleiding op het programma-Vélodroom-cc

v.u.: May Dierckx, Dulft 15, 2222 Itegem

DOEWAP #6: NEW SONGS FOR THE CLASSROOM In Doewap #6 you will find new children’s songs and cheerful folk songs from Europe in Dutch, French and Spanish, and from outside Europe in Tsonga and Arabic. Swilo yini is a melodic song with lots of African schwung. With the song Eén wil ik zingen, the children can test their memories. Me gusta by Jan Coeck will allow you to participate spontaneously, each time in a different style and language. The catchy melody of Tiri brings us to Lebanon and Tumbalalaika conjures up a cosy campfire with friends. The list is completed with the atmospheric In je hoofd kun je alles by Sebastiaan van Steenberge. Once again a lot of wonderful songs for the classroom. Liesbeth Segers


KOORKLANK

NEW SCORES

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Deze koorpartituur wordt met toestemming van de tekstdichter en componist verspreid in het kader van de werking van de organisatie Koor&Stem vzw rond de promotie van 2. Deversieherfst - en voor le niet commerciëlevel - dengedeeldkaal tot schriftelijke ko toestemming mend Vlaamse koormuziek. De digitale ervan magwaait gedownloadalworden doeleinden worden zonder van de organisatie Koor&Stem vzw, de tekstdichter of de componist. De naam van de tekstdichter en van de componist wordt steeds vermeld. Voor bewerkingen, vertalingen, opnames en uitvoeringen (concerten) moet er altijd toelating gevraagd worden aan de tekstdichter, de componist en/of aan de beheersvennootschap SABAM.

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Anja Kowalski’s Bulli was commissioned by Shanti Shanti, a children’s choir from Brussels with children from all over the world. Bulli was one of the chorus’ favourite songs. Anja Kowalski, Brussels singer with German roots singing Bulli pop, jazz and world music, wrote a number of Text and Music: Anja Kowalski (º1972) C g other or g g W that you g can g g g sing cells one after the Q C : 3 C C ! 4 BO B C WC C C C C C WBO XC C CO C BO h h on top of each other. She does not shy away from polyphony andg speaking/rapping. Great g g g g g W O YBO Q : BO YBO ! : B BO BO BO C C C Yh C C C C C O C work with endless possibilities.

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19


RAYMOND SCHROYENS 85 Raymond Schroyens, one of the last doyens of Flemish choral music and one of the first Flemish pioneers of early music, will be 85 this year. That calls for an interview with Stemband. The only question is: how do you start an interview with a man who has done and seen almost everything in music? Schroyens has been harpsichordist, organist, pianist and composer, but also a teacher and producer of the BRT (Belgian radio and television). He spoke with Madame Landowska, Jules Van Nuffel and Francis Poulenc… And he has a big, knowing smile that is contagious, but of which you’d prefer not to be the target. I decide to make a virtue of need: let’s start with the many talents he has. The singing and choir activities will follow naturally. How does he prefer to be addressed: perhaps as a composer? Or as a keyboard player? 20 You can call me Raymond. And yes, it’s incredible how much you get up to in a lifetime. You already used the word that best describes me as a performing musician: keyboard player. Harpsichord, organ, pianoforte: all keyboards that can be played by one person. Or at least that was the case with the old music. Even though the Zeitgeist now prescribes that it’s suspect if someone wants to wear too many hats. As a composer and performer, you have always had one foot in the present and one in the past. How was that for you? It wasn’t easy, in any case. When I started composing, I ended up in a difficult position as a keyboard player. I had been playing music for years now - over 70 years now. But I was tired of always playing the same tunes. As a musician, you always get to hear ‘Could you play…. ‘Why don’t you improvise?’ And then I improvised. And it always led to the same closing formulas that I had already played countless times (sings a typical, accomplished cadence, with vibration and all, RT). I think that in the long run, I even started to walk like the Baroque men in their day! I lost touch with today’s music and that

bothered me quite a bit. I started to compose, and even then I created a kind of Baroque music. I said to myself: ‘Surely, that’s not necessary, Schroyens’. And then my style changed quite radically. It became contemporary, sometimes even slightly aggressive. Do you remember a time when that need arose? No, it was a personal awareness that grew. It was of no consequence as long as I played with others in my genre. We played Muffat this way, and in the case of Rameau, this or that applied... But apart from that, it still seemed to be a kind of Rameau, and that bothered me. I had the feeling of missing everything that was important. The combination of old music and very new music is quite common among musicians. They share a kind of ‘scientific rigour’. Romantic and even Classical music have been dropped occasionally. I was also one of them: ‘Pff, Dvorák, not again. And not Tchaikovsky, surely? We were above them, or so we thought (laughing heartily). Later, we realised we got it all wrong. We were… radical. But there was also another aspect. If you try to study a piece of Bach, you’ll be surprised

at the energy it takes to do it properly! If you then conclude that you can’t give enough concerts to cover the bills… So it was the imbalance between preparation and concerts - income – that led you to composing more? Definitely. If your work as an artist does not pay the bills, the fun soon goes and you seek compensation. What else can you do? You could start to copy and publish old music critically. But you need quite a network to do that. And a foot in the Bärenreiter’s door? Yes, then we had our feet under the table (smiles). I’m surprised that playing music did not earn you a good living; I imagine a kind of Walhalla in concert life at the time. Especially for those who were involved in old music early on… Yes, but the door was only just starting to open. We are talking about the 50s. These were the pioneering years, and the enormous successes were not achieved until later. I’ve always been one of the first… to turn something old into something new (laughs). You were proved right too early. In 1952, I was fond of Josquin Des Prez and Gilles Binchois. And playing on the Baroque keys. That was another thing I was doing when the others hadn’t started yet. Then they would come to me later and say: ‘That’s really good fun, you should give it a try’. (hilarity). ‘Yes, I know,’ I would say. But my passion was composing then, especially choir music. This is not an obvious step: it is a separate trade and a specific setting. Even the purest avant-gardists are often attacked by a kind of extreme devoutness and docility when they write for choir. What made it such an ideal instrument for you? First and foremost, my upbringing plays an important role. I lived in Mechelen and sang in the choir of St Rombouts College.


That’s a coincidence, so did I, some 40 years later. So that was well after your time. (Serious) Yes, but then the heyday was over. I’m talking about the years of Jules Van Nuffel, whom I knew personally. And Flor Peeters. The great organist, RT, who became my teacher. My father had also sung in that boys’ choir. Singing turned out to be my thing. I stayed there for about six years, until my voice broke. I had some great times there: the Te Deum of Van Nuffel, for example, with the ten brass players at the time of Liberation. My goodness, that was a mighty moment. That’s how I became involved, and because I always spent all my childhood years, including the war, among musicians. My mother was a landlady. Quite a few of the students who lived with us were from the Lemmens Institute (which was still based in Mechelen at the time, RT). They took their pianos and pédaliers to their rooms. I wasn’t allowed to touch. (hilarity) My friends included Pieter Verlinden, who was a violinist and later became a television sound engineer. And of course Vic Nees. He was a friend from birth to death. At the time, Vic was still too young to go from Begijnenstraat to school on his own. I was three years older, so I had to accompany him. That’s how we became friends. Vic, the eternal ‘taffelaar’. [The wonderful word ‘taffelen’ in the Mechelen dialect means as much as prevaricating, hesitating or even enviably dreaming about nothing in particular, RT.] The choir was your world, but what was it that made this genre suit you as a composer so much technically? A genre must appeal to your heart, but also your pen … In the boys’ and cathedral choir, I got the best education there is. Van Nuffel: I just worshipped that man. The choir was so close to my practice, it was simply what I experienced while learning. Those great harmonies in one of Van Nuffel’s Psalms. I was in awe of the ferocity of all these sounds. These vortices… (nearly apologetic) I am now putting it romantically, but that was how it was: I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry; whether to sing or keep quiet... and I ended up doing none of it. ‘Struck by the hand of God’, as the elderly put it so nicely. Ah yes, since we were in a church, we could make the most of it (laughs).

So your initial goal was to be part of that particular greatness. That surprises me in a sense: Van Nuffel writes fantastically, but often explicitly to impress. I think that the latter aspect is completely absent from your work. There was a word Van Nuffel regularly used: apologetic! And I thought:’ Well, yes, apologetic....’ (laughs). Look, he was a priest, he did in that role with notes what a painter would have done with paint. He radiated such power… We have never been able to get to the bottom of it. But about the fact that my music sounds much ‘smaller’: this is due to my love for the old composers. Including Dufay… It was always a treat to be able to follow all the lines in one piece. No Handel for me, give me Ockeghem any day. The transparent interplay of lines, the agility of it. You know, I love Gregorian music a lot. That says it all really. I’m allowing myself a question that may come across as disrespectful, but which interests me. Your style has changed drastically over a long career, but which of your own works are closest to you? There are some that fade into the distance while others remain, and sometimes for an obvious reason. Pentalpha - for 6-part mixed choir, RT - is one of them, written at the death of Lyudmila, an excellent Petersburg violinist in the Antwerp Philharmonic, and Michael Scheck’s wife, who died in a tragic accident. They had a daughter, Tatjana, for whom the Russian lullaby was written at the end of Pentalpha. It is a relatively romantic piece, but inspired. In any case, I have seen people crying during the concert. The second piece I am thinking of is Beobachtung 2000, the title of a piece that is, in itself, a play on the word ‘Bach’ for 6-part choir, soprano and baritone solo and piano, RT, written

for Johan Duyck in the Bach jubilee year. I included quotes from Bach’s music, and selected texts from what have been my ‘Bach poets’ since then: Bredero, Arendtz, Cats and Huyghens. What makes those pieces special for you? The mere fact that they’ve been performed quite often. For me this means that they have a certain quality. There are many of my pieces that I’ve heard only once, there are some that I’ve never heard before (laughing heartily). Pieces that are being played: that really does say something, even if they are by Dvorák or Tchaikovsky (belly laugh). You should hear the level of refinement in that music, and above all: what finds… And if you don’t like it, then shut up about it. The piece has been composed. It is what it is. Rudy Tambuyser

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ŠFien Carlier

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WHY NOT DERANGE AN ARRANGER

CHRIS CARLIER As a guitarist, arranger and composer, Chris

Carlier is always on the look-out for a refreshing, original approach and for fruitful artistic encounters with colleagues from the theatre world and visual arts. Plenty to talk about then!


Chris Carlier, how did you get into music? My parents were keen amateur musicians. At home, we had a banjo. That was the first instrument I started playing. Later, I went to the music academy in Asse to study classical guitar. I continued studying the guitar at the Brussels conservatory under Albert Sundermann. At the conservatory, I sang in the choir led by Juliaan Wilmots and after an audition, I was also allowed to sing in the concert choir led by Erik Van Nevel. Erik’s lessons were an Aha Erlebnis: he taught us to think about music, he gave us insight. Much of what he taught is still with me after all those years. Which choral repertoire from that time is etched on your memory? I thought the music of Vic Nees that we once performed at a concert was fantastic. Nees himself was present. Also the old music that we sang under Erik Van Nevel’s direction has stayed with me. You could sense that the composers were pioneers of this music at that time: they were looking for the right colour. That appeals to me so much in that music, and in music in general. As a student, I was a member of a small vocal ensemble called’ Zangenzo’ in Asse. We sang everything from old music to close harmony and everything in between, under the direction of Johan Van der Beken. Very enjoyable. You graduated as a classical guitarist, but soon you switched to jazz & light music. Not an obvious move in the late 80s? That’s true, when people at the conservatory found out that you were involved in light music in those days, you got thrown out! Even in the music academies of the time, there were no light music departments as we know them today. When I started teaching at the music academy in Saint-Agatha-Berchem, the then director Dirk Baeten inspired me to set up a jazz and light music department. At one of the first student concerts - in a café - I suddenly spotted an art education inspector sitting in the back row and thought ‘Now we’re in for a hiding’, but afterwards, that man came to express his appreciation for the seriousness with which we were working in our very young department. This got the ball rolling in Flanders and the light-music departments shot up like mushrooms. Meanwhile, we know you as a composer. How did you get involved in that? I did not start composing until I finished the conservatory, actually. My first work, Elegie van het wezenkind (Elegy of an orphanchild), was written for three ladies’ voices accompanied on guitar, soprano saxophone and violin,

on lyrics by Herman De Coninck, among others. That was also my first collaboration with Randall Casaer, known for his comic strips and directing work with Wim Helsen. Is it coincidence that as a guitarist, you wrote your first composition for voices? I don’t think so! For me, singing is the most personal form of music. Singing is therapeutic, and you don’t need any instruments for it. I have also composed various theatre productions, including for the Brussels music theatre company Tirasila. One of the shows was called Het laatste verlangen (The Last Desire), and here too, as a composer, I opted for voices, with lyrics by Elvis Peeters. I called it an a capella opera for three untrained voices. When you write for untrained voices, do you consciously write differently than for professionals? Not exactly, but I keep in mind that you should not let amateur musicians - untrained voices - do anything that they are not good at. Find out what they are good at. If you take this into account, results are guaranteed. I applied the same method to a composition assignment for the Brussels Brecht Eisler choir in collaboration with the Hasselts Omroerkoor: an opera for large choir and percussion entitled Vergeten Straat (Forgotten Street) on texts by Louis Paul Boon. I had several voices from that choir sing solo. I gave them three notes with which they had to improvise. These are the two choirs that later asked me to arrange working songs for the Vive la sociale project. All these arrangements were collated in the book Strijdlawijt - 100 jaar werkmansliederen (100 years of workman’s songs) with a foreword by Geert Van Istendael, still available from publisher EPO vzw. For the ‘Happiness’ project, you worked on a number of Flemish hits from the collective memory. Your arrangements will soon be published by Koor&Stem. How did that project get off the ground? It started with a theatre project for non-native speakers. I got involved in this through Lennaert Maes and his performance Lennaert & de Bonski’s, in which learning Dutch was put in the spotlight in a playful manner. I met Peter Schoenaerts there, who asked me to become involved in Gelukkig Zijn (Happiness). From day one, the plan was to have a choir with non-native speakers sing in it. Peter chose the songs, I made the choir arrangements and provided them with an accompaniment track that they use during the performance.

Can you give us a glimpse behind the scenes? How do your arrangements come about? That is a very intuitive process for me. I follow my musical taste and try to hear how it sounds in my head. In each arrangement, I try to search for a twist, a little hic-up, which keeps the performers on their toes and makes for more fun. In the case of choirs, we are talking about choral pleasure. If an arrangement is fun to perform, it only sounds better. People are going to have fun, and that is, after all, what music is all about! Which projects are you still working on in the meantime? I try to get my own compositions heard by an audience, such as the CD Konkordiaplatz, my string quartets with bandoneon (Gwen Cresens) and soprano sax (Koen Van Roy), which are played regularly on Klara. Last year, I released a collection of my songs on the lyrics of Randall Casaer. They are now taking shape in a drawing book-with-LP, called Schip vol honden (Ship full of dogs). Randall has created a beautiful drawing for each track. The idea is then to watch the drawing while listening to the LP. Available from publisher Vrijdag. And then my last project with writer Elvis Peeters: Wilderman. The music I wrote for this will soon be released on LP and CD. Peter Maus

FLEMISH CHOIR ARRANGEMENTS In 2015, the theatre group Fast Forward created the theatre production Gelukkig zijn (being happy), in which twelve other-language singers sang well-known Flemish songs, arranged for choir by Chris Carlier. Because the demand for modern Flemish songs is high, Koor&Stem and Theater van A tot Z worked together to publish some of the arrangements from Gelukkig zijn. Do you have a taste for accessible mixed arrangements of Flemish songs like De eerste sneeuw, Twee meisjes or Ik wil je? Then hurry to the webshop of Koor&Stem!

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CALENDAR

MARCH

APRIL

16 MAA | TESTELT

2 – 6 APR | WETTEREN

Would you like to discover the lighter genre with your choir, but don’t know quite where to start? Are you looking for a new repertoire? Conductor Johan De Lombaert and the singers of choir Vocalicous (led by Evi Bex) will gladly take you on a journey of discovery. The programme includes Seasons of love (of the musical Rent) in a 3-part arrangement by MacHuff and Rolling in the deep (Adèle) in a 3-part arrangement by Jetse Bremer.

The most fun choir camp of the year! Every year, this choral week for children takes place during the first week of the Easter holiday. An unforgettable experience for young singers. Professional conductors, Marleen De Boo, Tom Johnson and Jeroen Beckers, guarantee a quality musical approach. In the workshops, divided by age group or with boys and girls separately, we work in detail and strive for a high degree of finish. In the tutti sessions, the children gain experience in making music together in large groups and get the chance to sing with instrumental accompaniment. The entertainment team provide fun relaxation activities.

CHOIR WORKSHOP FOR LIGHT MUSIC

7.30 p.m. – 10.30 p.m. | Zaal Concordia Testelt | info@koorenstemvlaamsbrabant.be | Sign up before 8 March! | coach: Johan De Lombaert

17 MAA & 22 APR | BRUSSELS

SINGING WORKSHOP BY PAUL SMITH OF VOCES8

The culmination of the Singing Brussels Celebration Weekend is an interactive concert sung by an immense choir on Sunday 6 May 2018. To organise this event, there are workshops both at BOZAR and abroad. Paul Smith, a member of the outstanding vocal ensemble Voces8, preps the choir members completely with his unique and accessible approach. Do you feel like singing or would you like to give it a try? Good, because that is the only requirement! The singing workshop is accessible to everyone. A moment of encounter between skilled professionals and shy shower virtuosos, young boisterous talent, combined with more mature abilities, with music from far and wide/further and wider, past and present. 13.30 u.| BOZAR | Wenke.Minne@bozar.be, 02 507 82 37 | Entry is free, but registration is required.

CHOIR DAYS FOR CHILDREN

Instituut Mariagaard | Marleen.moortgat@koorenstem.be, 09 220 24 84 | Staying over is no longer possible, but without an overnight stay, there are still a few places available!

3 & 6 APR | WETTEREN

OBSERVATION AND REPERTOIRE DAYS SINGING WITH CHILDREN

During the Choir Days for children, there are also two inspiring observation and repertoire days that cater for everyone who sings with children. The experienced children’s and youth choir-orientated Inge Sykora is your coach. On Tuesday, you watch the rehearsals of the children’s Choir Days, on Friday the focus is on repertoire. You can participate for one or both days. 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Instituut Mariagaard | Marleen.moortgat@koorenstem.be, 09 220 24 84

2 APR | GHENT

WORKSHOP IMPROVISATION AND SOUND BATH

Koorlink invites An Meeusen: an inspiring singer, vocal coach and conductor of chamber choir Pantarhei. During this workshop, she will introduce you to sound and improvisation. She works with the beautiful Earthsong by Tichelli, a song about all facets of life. In the afternoon, you can sing this work yourself during the concert of Pantarhei at 2.00 p.m. in the Church of Sint-Niklaas. 10.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. | Grote Sikkel Campus, Ghent | info@koorlink.be, 03 227 35 37 | Coach: An Meeusen

6 APR | MORTSEL

BASIS SOLFÈGE TRAINING

Do you, as a choir singer, want to be able to read your scores more easily? That would undoubtedly make rehearsing and singing easier and, thus, also more pleasant and productive! Dimitry Goethals teaches you the basics and gives you the opportunity to practise what you’ve learnt straight away. At the end of this day, you will find your own way around a score sheet a lot more easily! 9.00 – 17.00 u. | Mortsel parish centre | inschrijvingen@koorenstemantwerpen.be, 03 237 96 43 | Coach: Dimitry Goethals

17 & 24 APR | BRUGES

CHANTEZ LA MESSE!

A choir that wants to make a multi-voiced contribution to the liturgy usually approaches its musical scope from choral literature. In this way, during liturgy, music is often experienced as an intermezzo within liturgy, rather than a part of it. However, the possibilities for a choir to form a more active part of the whole event are much greater than that. Ignace Thevelein demonstrates the possibility of functional polyphony in liturgy, with the central idea not to sing in liturgy, but to sing liturgy itself. 8.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m. | Kerk Minderbroeders Kapucijnen, Bruges | kerkmuziek@koorenstem.be | Coach: Ignace Thevelein | The two sessions of inspiration cannot be followed separately


21 APR | KACHTEM

CHOIR BRUNCH WEST FLANDERS

Meet choir directors and conductors from your region over a cup of coffee or tea and after your croissant, why not attend a repertoire workshop with music from the theatre performance Gelukkig zijn (Gelukkig zijn, Ik mis je zo, De eerste sneeuw, Ik hou van u etc.). This is an ideal networking opportunity in a relaxed atmosphere. The Canto Rosso choir from Kachtem hosts the event. 9.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. |’t SOK Meeting Centre, Kachtem | west-vlaanderen@koorenstem.be, 0470 94 22 15

21 & 26 APR, 9 JUN | RELST

VOICE TECHNIQUE COURSE

During this three-day course, there’s no need to engage complicated motor skills. The main focus is on the natural process of the body. By approaching singing organically, it is given a simplicity that increases the joy of singing. By becoming aware, by feeling, by zooming in and taking time, we can move towards automatisms that make singing fun. Then, there will be room to really enjoy the music itself. And isn’t that what we all want after all? A challenge, an exciting quest and 100% chance of success and fun. 1.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m. | Sint-Jozefkerk Relst | inschrijvingen@koorenstemantwerpen.be | Coach: Kristien Vercammen

21 & 22 APR | EUPEN

WEEKEND JAZZ, POP AND IMPROVISATION WITH MATTHIAS BECKER

For a whole weekend, you can get acquainted with the uniqueness and techniques of vocal jazz, pop and improvisation. We welcome both conductors and singers for this groovy choral weekend in Eupen! The working language is English (and German). Subscribe before 31 March! | foedekam@skynet.be, 080 22 65 55

MAY 5 & 6 MAY | BRUSSELS

SINGING BRUSSELS CELEBRATION WEEKEND

For a whole weekend BOZAR is one big choir palace. People who took part in the workshops with Paul Smith during the whole year, will add their voice to a huge choir which forms the focal point of the Singing Brussels Celebration Weekend. You can join many interesting workshops, see the national youthchoir BEvocaL, listen to hundreds of students of Brussels schools and much much more. 5 & 6 May / BOZAR, Brussel

JUNE 7 & 14 JUN | HASSELT

INSPIRATION SESSION TAIZÉ SONGS

Everyone knows a taizé classic. Would you like to organise a prayer celebration in the style of Taizé? Or would you like to use taizé songs meaningfully in the Sunday Eucharist? Pieter Stevens gives you as much inspiration and music as possible. The two evenings cannot be taken separately. 7.30 p.m. – 9.30 p.m. | Pastoral Centre Seminary Hasselt |Coach: Pieter Stevens

THIS SUMMER FOR CHILDREN 2 – 6 JUL | GHENT

ZINGE-ZANGE-ZON

Zinge-zange-zon is a five-day summer camp or choir camp for children between the ages of 8 and 12. Prior music or choir experience is not necessary, as long as you have a passion for singing! Singing practise is interspersed with play and relaxation. On Friday 6 July at 4.00 p.m., the children close the week with a demonstration for family and friends. Sint-Bavo Humaniora Reep Ghent | 09 220 24 84, marleen.moortgat@koorenstem.be

SING IT! IDEE KIDS ZANGKAMP During the Easter and summer holidays, Idee Kids organises singing camps in cooperation with Koor&Stem. Our enthusiastic coaches Hans Helsen, Mirjam de Wit, Ruby De Bruyne and Sterre De Raedt are present in Bruges, Antwerp, Wemmel and Ghent. Every child is welcome, regardless of prior singing experience! Easter 1: 03/04 - 06/04 Sint-Lodewijks College Bruges Summer 1: 02/07 - 06/07 Koninklijk Lyceum Antwerp Summer 3: 16/07 - 20/07 Wemmel Campus Summer 9: 27/08 - 30/08 Atheneum Voskenslaan Ghent www.ideekids.be/kamp-thema/sing-it

CHOIR WLTM CONDUCTOR SOLIDARITY CHOIR CAMINHANDO (LEUVEN) We are an enthusiastic, motivated group (50 singers) between 30 and 50 years old. For more than 20 years, we have been bringing 3- or 4-part songs of solidarity in all languages, demonstrating our solidarity with all peoples around the world, oppressed or otherwise. No background in musical theory is required from the members and practising at home is not expected. As a conductor, you can identify with the choir’s vision, you are responsible for the song choices and, above all, you are enthusiastic and have a warm personality! Rehearsals: WED Sint Jan Leuven primary school Contact: Zuzanna Osewska, 0485 56 83 06, voorzitter@caminhando.be | www.caminhando.be

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CHOIR WLTM CONDUCTOR MIXED CHOIR EGIDIUS (BEERSE) We are an energetic and enthusiastic mixed choir that is characterized by a healthy mix of quality and fun, because.... singing together... makes you happy! A solid amateur choir that is open to different genres and that has a broad musical repertoire. We are looking for a musically dynamic, creative and ambitious conductor with passion for music and a touch of humour. Rehearsals: THUR 8.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m., Tempelhof Beerse Contact: christine_allaerts@hotmail.com, 0494 92 32 68

PRO ARTE LUMMEN

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Pro Arte is a dynamic group of singers who like to work hard – and, fortunately, play hard as well - during the rehearsals and, thus, raise the musical bar where possible. Pro Arte are a warm group of people where project singers also feel welcome to work on musically challenging concerts. The choral life of Pro Arte’s choir singers is also brightened up with annual choral festivals. Rehearsals: WED Contact: Hilde Beks, Gh-Goddefroy@skynet.be

MIXED POP AND GOSPEL CHOIR CON BRAVURA (OLEN) Con bravura is a 3-part pop and gospel choir, which has been around for 30 years. We are looking for a motivated conductor who wants to take up the challenge with us, with especially pop songs, gospels, spirituals and love songs. Contact: Marleen 014 261104 of Chantal 0495 67 08 54 | Marleen.schelles1@telenet.be

CHILDREN’S AND YOUTH CHOIR TOUCHÉ (POPERINGE) Touché boasts a children’s choir and youth choir. The children’s choir rehearses one hour, the youngsters one and a half hours. Your role as a conductor is to coach the children and young people in a creative manner. A good balance between hard work and fun is self-evident for you. The rehearsals culminate in one to two concert performances a year, which you, together with the board of Touché, are invited to organise in an original way. Rehearsals: SUN mornings, CC Ghybe Poperinge Contact: jongerenkoortouche@hotmail.com

POP CHOIR SING OUT LOUD (ZOTTEGEM) The Zottegem pop choir Sing Out Loud currently consists of 17 enthusiastic and talented lady singers, selected after a vocal test. The choir brings a varied mix of polyphonic pop, film and musical music. In addition to the annual concerts under its own management, the choir also performs for private events and larger organisations. We are looking for a conductor from May or September 2018.

MIXED PARAFONEN CHOIR, DE MAS!FONEN YOUTH CHOIR AND DE PARAFOONTJES (BUGGENHOUTOPDORP) We are looking for a professionally trained conductor who can prepare and teach the scores at home. Preferably, you can also provide basic piano accompaniment and have an interest/experience in musical theatre. You want to help build the future of the choir and also love organizing activities outside rehearsals. We cater for the young, with our Microfoontjes (Toddlers) and not so young, with the Royal Mixed Parafonen Choir (35 singers). We also boast De Max! fons Youth Choir (24 singers, 5th grade to 12th grade) and De Parafoontjes children’s choir (30 singers, 1st grade to 5th grade). Rehearsals: TUE 4.00 p.m. – 8.00 p.m., the Orangerie in Opdorp Contact: Sam Wouters, sam@parafonenkooropdorp.be, 0479 85 11 64 | www.parafonenkooropdorp.be

MIXED ST GREGORIUS CHOIR KIELDRECHT

Rehearsals: SUN 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m., Leeuwergem Meeting Centre Contact: Bert De Cock, info@muzikids.org

MIXED CHOIR PAPILLON (EVERGEM) Singing together is what unites us. From ABBA or Ella Fitzgerald right through to ZZ Top. Give us a score and we’ll turn it into music. With a lot of dedication, passion and the necessary humour in between. We are looking for a new conductor to lead our enthusiastic friends further along musical adventures.

The choir sings all styles of music, including arrangements of jazz songs, cabaret and contemporary romantic music (Arnesen, Gjeilo, Powell, Jennings, etc.). The conductor maintains the liturgical repertoire and conducts at least three important religious events (Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day). The choir sings at the weekly mass. We are looking for a new conductor from 2 April 2018. Rehearsals: FRI evening Contact: Marnix Van Steenberge, 0475 77 22 00, marnix.van.steenberge@gmail.com | http://sintgregoriuskoorkieldrecht.be

Rehearsals: WED 7.45 p.m. - 9.45 p.m., MUDA in Evergem Contact: Koen Van Kerrebroeck, 0499 721033, koenvankerrebroeck@telenet.be | www.koorpapillon.be

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WAILING GUITARS Loeien [Dutch word for lowing - the deep, low sound characteristic of cattle] I discovered the word in my first book of words. I did not hear the sound of the cow drawn next to it until the end of the war. As a town boy, I had only heard sirens until 1944. When I was later introduced to Odysseus, the original Sirens turned out not to wail but to sing. Enchantingly so. So beautiful that Odysseus had himself tied to the mast of his ship in order to stop himself from jumping into the water from rapture. The cow’s natural sound was streets ahead of the artificial war sirens. However, the common denominator of danger during the war caused these seductive sirens to wail inauspiciously. I decided to stick to the steam whistle. I had heard this near the station and also in the port of Antwerp. The signal of steam trains and steamboats was generated by the prosaic steam whistle. I knew different kinds of flute, but none of them sounded anything like the steam whistle. On the contrary, a name along the lines of saxophone à vapeur would have been much more appropriate in my opinion. For the sound of the steam whistle, therefore, no recourse was made to the traditional bird sound but again to the inevitable cow. The steam whistle also ‘wailed’. Anyone who finds all this confusing will certainly have trouble with wailing guitars. The guitar is an acoustic, plucked instrument. Devoid of its original qualities, it can be transformed into an electric guitar. It produces a sound that pours out like the sound of the innocent cow for lack of anything more accurate. These are all sounds produced in the open

COLOFON Stemband magazine #15 march 2018 Editorial board: Koenraad De Meulder, Liesbeth Segers, Jan Stofferis, Erik Demarbaix, Lieselotte Goessens published 4 times a year / edition: 3.000 copies Edition: Koor&Stem vzw / Coordination: Lieselotte Goessens Collaborated on this edition: Marianne van Scherpenzeel, Charlotte Fouquet, Geert Hendrix, Maarten Van Ingelgem, Erika Budai, Marleen De Boo, Peter Dejans, Ines Van Houtte, Rudy Tambuyser, Peter Maus, Karin Lauwers, Liesbeth Segers, Koenraad De Meulder, Lieselotte Goessens, koorleden Eline, Lene, Juriaan, Laura en Jorien, † Vic Nees Cover picture: © Florian Keirse Design: apple–n.be / brand–ink.be / Print: Vanderpoorten Translation: taal ad-visie Contact the editor: stemband@koorenstem.be www.koorenstem.be/tijdschrift +32 (0)3 237 96 43 Zirkstraat 36 2000 Antwerpen

air. They are intended to travel. When the cow lows, the farmer has to hear it. When the siren sounds, all citizens should hear it. When the electric guitar wails, the neighbours have to hear it. That is why the meadow is a privileged area. In Werchter, cows and electric guitars can let rip in an ideal setting, next to each other. Cows can, of course, moo in a stable and electric guitars wail n a concert hall like Vorst Nationaal. But in a church hall, for example, neither of these would be done justice acoustically. Recently, the bold title “Lofprijzing met loeiende gitaren” (Tribute with wailing guitars) appeared in Kerk en Leven. The confusion surrounding the verb ‘loeien’ has troubled a number of people. It even triggered a modest controversy. However, it is evident that the chief editor had been guided by an irresistible alliteration. You can tell from the commercial publicity that immediately follows that wailing guitars hardly featured. As far as I can see, things were much more restrained. Anyway, the editor-in-chief is a man of taste and religious culture. He was annoyed by the rather anaemic church singing. He had let off some steam. He wailed for a bit, and some civilized growling came from the adjacent meadow. But imagine that the editor-in-chief did not have good taste or religious culture. Then the electric guitars would consistently let rip in the church hall. Why save them for invigorating meetings Billy-Graham-style, if you can integrate them into an alternative mass service or Sunday celebration. The hybrid mixture of so many different ingredients would be ineffective and styleless. To really

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work, a whiff of weed would have to replace incense and the priest(ess) would have to rap the preface instead of reciting it. In those circumstances, ‘Holy, holy’ could sound like an organic climax. Even a milder form, such as karaoke, would prevail over good taste. If there was an instrumental version of all the CDs which Kerk en Leven advertises, the local singing divas could do their thing during the celebration. This would attract a lot of new people. But can you organize something like that in a medium-sized church? Wouldn’t it be better to rename the building a church bar by analogy with a real karaoke bar? For example, Bar Jona? I am taking the urge to update to its absurd extremes. With this, I am immediately exculpating the editor-in-chief from any musical opportunism. With his wailing guitars, all he has done is use a kind of journalistic hyperbole. Actually, all he wants is just a bit more musical verve in the church, a bit more passion in expressing the lyrics, a bit more physical commitment in the sound, a bit more rhythmic enthusiasm, a bit more joy. Isn’t that what we all want? I hope that things will revert things back to how they should be. Then I can go on holiday in peace. Alle-low-ia † Vic Nees, juli 2003

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La noche sin estrellas Sebastiaan Van Steenberge

DO YOU LIKE MUSIC?

THE VOICE OF OUR MEMORY

Songbook for children €20

Guide €29

Do you like music is a bilingual songbook for primary school teachers with didactic tips songs from Attakatamoeva, a singing schoolproject from Koor&Stem. The compilation contains 16 songs for age groups 6-8, 8-10 and 10-12 that can be sung worldwide. Do you like music was published as part of the European project ‘A voice for vocal training’.

The guide The Voice of our Memory aims to inspire and help everyone on the way to setting up a contact choir for people with dementia. It provides musical and practical methods for people to start singing with people with dementia The Voice of our Memory is a initiative of Koor&Stem, Flanders Dementia Expertise Centre and House of Music. Available in Dutch and English

LA NOCHE SIN ESTRELLAS

ROMANTIC CHORAL MUSIC FROM FLANDERS

Songbook + cd for mixed choir and disabled persons €6,00

voor gemengd koor, inclusief koor en piano

0)3 248 16 05

13/03/14 13:36

This composition by Sebastiaan van Steenberge (°1974) was created for the international conference ‘Hearts in harmony’. It is an inclusive composition, for both regular mixed choirs and choirs for disabled persons. At the basis are four Latin-American dances: Rumba, merengue, tango and frevo, and a text form Jan Coeck. The original Dutch text was also translated to a mixture of English, German and French, maintaining some original Dutch texts and the entire Spanish texts. In this way, the composition is ready to be sung all over the world.

Songbook for mixed choir €15 This book offers 23 romantic choral compositions, a capella or with organ, from famous Flemish composers born between 1828 and 1907, like Peter Benoit, Edgar Tinel, August De Boeck, Lodewijk Mortelmans, Jules Van Nuffel,... To make it easier for choirs abroad to perform the works, the publisher selected works in translation or on Latin texts.

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Stemband magazine in English  

Stemband Magazine is the quarterly magazine published by Koor&Stem. It contains interviews with famous and less-famous conductors and singer...

Stemband magazine in English  

Stemband Magazine is the quarterly magazine published by Koor&Stem. It contains interviews with famous and less-famous conductors and singer...

Profile for stemband
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