FLEMISH ORGANISATION FOR VOCAL MUSIC [BELGIUM]
ALL THOSE CHOIRS AND THOSE VOICES Isn’t singing fun? Singing together is even more fun. The more than 1 000 choirs who are members of Koor&Stem have proven this. Small and large, mixed and single voice choirs, children’s choirs, seniors’ choirs, pop choirs, church choirs, show choirs, Gregorian choirs, contact choirs, solidarity choirs. You will find them in all tones and colours. There are hundreds of choirs with literally thousands of singers rehearsing all across the country, every single day. This isn’t just on a volunteer basis either; these people add a healthy dose of passion and conviction as well. For many people, singing in a choir is a way to share their passion for singing with others; but singing together also offers opportunities for artistic growth. Koor&Stem focuses on offering choirs, singers and conductors every possible chance to grow, both personally and together: Koor&Stem supports and inspires, encourages innovation, creates learning opportunities, offers performance prospects, and is the first line of assistance for organisational or artistic challenges. This is all made possible thanks to the efforts and enthusiasm of countless incredibly passionate volunteers who assist the choirs and help to organise all these activities. Thomas De Baets Koor&Stem Chairman
Thomas De Baets
Sebastiaan van Steenberge
Sebastiaan van Steenberge Koor&Stem Music Committee Chairman
ÂŠ Karel De Puysseleir
Who are we
Koor&Stem for choirs and singers
Koor&Stem for conductors
Singing with children
Partners and projects
WHO ARE WE Koor&Stem is a non-profit organisation with a team of professionals and volunteers that work tirelessly to support choirs and singers across the region, bring people together through song, and promote fresh perspectives on the future of choral life. Its cultural mission has created a network of 1 000 choirs across Flanders, giving it direct access to more than 35 000 amateur singers, conductors and musicians. Koor&Stem can rely on a throw team of volunteers. All our board members and committee members are volunteers. Koor&Stem has an organisation in each of the five Flemish provinces that consists solely of volunteers. These provincial organisations are focused on organising choral activities, building networks and providing services to the choirs in their province. Furthermore, they collaborate closely with the professional staff and play an active role in executing Koor&Stem’s overall strategy. In total, there are approximately 200 volunteer workers in the five provinces. Besides that, Koor&Stem has a group of professional employees who are responsible for general management, artistic and organisation advice and services, communication, administration and finance. Managing director: Koenraad De Meulder BOARD OF DIRECTORS The members of the Board of Directors are selected from the Koor&Stem Annual General Assembly. The Board of Directors plays an important role in developement of the general strategy and policy of the organisation. It is also responsible for preparing the annual plans and important dossiers. Chairman: Thomas De Baets, Music Education Coordinator at LUCA School of Arts MUSIC COMMITTEE
The Koor&Stem Music Committee is an advisory board for the Koor&Stem Board of Directors and gives advice regarding the organisation’s artistic vision. It consists of experts in the fields of choral direction, music education, adult and youth choirs and many others. Chairman: Sebastiaan van Steenberge, bandmaster at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp 6
+1 000 CHOIRS
+35 000 SINGERS
LIMBURG WEST FLANDERS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
KOOR&STEM FOR CHOIRS AND SINGERS SINGING TOGETHER
During repertoire days and choral events, singers can come discover new pieces, sing through music, delve deeper into a certain genre, etc. But they sing as well; the singers often get a lot of tips about using their voices, their posture and so much more.
The Koor&Stem choral consultants are available every day to provide advice or offer assistance. Member choirs can always ask these consultants any questions they may have or they can visit our website to find the answers to many frequently asked questions.
Networking plays an important role for us. Singers can meet other unison singers to practice a song together, have a nice chat, get a bite to eat and something to drink during a choir café, a choral day, a children’s choir gathering or a youth choir gathering.
PRACTICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE SKILLS
Choir board members can attend sessions on all kinds of practical administrative subjects, such as legislation on association structures, volunteers, copyrights, communication, etc. Singers can also brush up on their practical skills, during a basic course on solmisation.
Stemband Magazine is the quarterly magazine published by Koor&Stem. It contains interviews with famous and less-famous conductors and singers, repertoire tips, articles about what’s going on in the world of choral music, news and a calendar.
Every choir is unique: the sound, the repertoire, the appearance, the composition, etc. Koor&Stem offers choirs the chance to develop even more artistically with the aid of a ‘choir coach’. The choir coach comes by upon request to actively work with a choir on vocal training, choir sound, repertoire or execution.
ÂŠ Lemmert Photography
KOOR&STEM FOR CONDUCTORS In Flanders, there is conductor training and education through the higher educational system, the part-time arts educational system and a number of for-profit and nonprofit organisations, such as Koor&Stem. In addition to this, Koor&Stem tries to support and assist conductors as much as possible.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION Koor&Stem offers courses and inspirational sessions for conductors covering themes like conducting techniques, repertoire, vocal training, etc.
LIBRARY AND WEBSHOP Koor&Stem has its own library with more than 180â€†000 scores. Conductors can always make an appointment to come by and get assistance and advice about their repertoires from the Koor&Stem choral consultants and the library volunteers. Koor&Stem also publishes scores for choirs, which are sold in the webshop.
KOORKLANK Koorklank is an online platform developed by Koor&Stem for conductors. Koorklank promotes Flemish choral music and the composers and offers free scores for download.
WHAT CAN YOU FIND ON KOORKLANK.BE? • Flemish choral compositions, available for free • biographical info on Flemish composers • practical tips, written by experienced conductors or composers • news, Q&A, and an audio stream just to enjoy or to get inspired
© Karel De Puysseleir
SINGING WITH CHILDREN A must! Children must be given the opportunity to actively participate in making music and singing from a very early age. Koor&Stem takes numerous initiatives to support children’s choir conductors and teachers. SPECIALISED TRAINING “It’s really cute to see kids singing, but that’s not an excuse to work unprofessionally with them” (Marleen De Boo, teacher). During the Koor&Stem specialised training courses, conductors learn how to get the very best out of singing children using adapted didactics.
“Plato said that education in music […] is most important. And he was right. A child’s entire education must start with music; this should be a requirement. (…) It’s not just fun; it’s incredibly enriching as well. It’s good for their cognitive skills, they learn synthesis and analysis, it stimulates their verbal memory, and they practise coordinating movements.” [Kurt Van Eeghem, Flemish television and radio maker]
DOEWAP Singing is fun, learning is fun, and learning to sing is fun! This is the idea behind the Doewap project developed by Koor&Stem. The project wants to immerse primary school children in music and songs. Doewap offers online songbooks with new, fun repertoires especially for children, including reading tips, recordings and karaoke versions. During a Doewap workshop, teachers work with the newly developed material and get lots of didactical and technical advice that helps them to sing better with children in their goup. This approach lays the foundation for a healthy singing culture at the schools, which is the most important thing of all. Doewap also goes to the schools with a tailor-made singing project for the school. All the students sing, make music, do arts & crafts, move and act for the entire day. Under the guidance of Koor&Stemâ€™s singing teachers and coaches, the children experience what great fun it is to sing together.
Â© Pieter Bouckhout
PARTNERS AND PROJECTS Koor&Stem has developed national and international partnerships with organisations within and outside the choral world.
ART AND MUSIC EDUCATION ORGANISATIONS
TEACHER EDUCATION COLLEGES
CONSERVATORIES & MUSIC SCHOOLS
CARE HOMES FOR THE ELDERLY
Koor&Stem recently started a fruitful collaboration with the choral and music organisations of the French-speaking and German-speaking communities in Belgium (À Cœur Joie and Musikverband Födekam).
Koor&Stem is also a member of several international music, music education and choir networks such as the European Music Council (EMC), the International Music Council (IMC), the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), the European Association for Music in Schools (EAS) and EVTA – European Voice Teachers Association.
Koor&Stem is represented on the Executive Board of the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat and of Musica International. Koor&Stem has collaborated on several European cooperation projects together with partners from the whole of Europe.
ÂŠ Karel De Puysseleir
THE VOICE OF OUR MEMORY We shouldn’t hide this illness; instead, we must learn how to deal with the symptoms and the consequences. And music is a powerful resource in this regard. [Professional Caretaker]
Dementia is expected to be one of the major public health challenges in the coming decades. One in five people will eventually develop some form of this illness. De Stem van ons geheugen (The Voice of Our Memory) believes music and singing provide unique instruments to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. Singing with people suffering from dementia recognises the need of these people to be included and involved in society. It allows them the opportunity to re-establish interaction with their own partners, as well as with friends or with fellow-sufferers, focusing on their remaining abilities as opposed to their disabilities. The Voice of Our Memory developed a practical guide, two CD’s, scores and songbooks. The guidebook provides inspiration and tips to anyone who would like to start singing with people with dementia. The Voice of our Memory is a project of Koor&Stem, the Flemish Dementia Expertise Centre, the Imelda Hospital - care home ‘Den Olm’ Bonheiden and VSPW Mol. The project is supported by the Flemish Government, VLAIO, Cera and Hard Rock Café Antwerp.
For more information, please visit www.destemvanonsgeheugen.be.
Â© Wim Gelders
BEVOCAL We are clearly working from the same source of inspiration towards the same goal, despite the limits imposed by politics or language. And that is a statement in and of itself. Achieving projects together based on the same passion; isn’t that the true spirit of singing in a choir? It is a strong signal that we give to the rest of the world. [Loti Piris Niño, board member of À Cœur Joie]
BEvocaL is the Belgian national youth choir. The choir was established in 2017 at the initiative of Koor&Stem and the choral federations À Coeur Joie and Musikverband Födekam. This national youth choir is made up of 24 singers, coming from the three language communities, with the goal of giving young singers opportunities to develop their talents in an top choir, to promote Belgian choral music, and encourage the cultural exchange between the three language communities. A Belgian ambassador for choral music that performs nationally and internationally! BEvocaL is supported by the following valued partners: Cultuur-Culture: the Cultural Partnership Agreement between the Flemish Community and the French Community, the German-speaking Community, the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels (BOZAR), the Belgian National Lottery and its players, the Flemish Radio Choir, Musiq3 and CAV&MA.
ÂŠ Karel De Puysseleir
SINGING BRUSSELS I feel that it is important for BOZAR to be socially responsible, in addition to what we’re already doing. A city like Brussels is a microcosm in which we are trying to tackle all of the problems in our society: how to live together, how to integrate, how to ensure social cohesion, etc. [Paul Dujardin, CEO – BOZAR Artistic Director]
Singing Brussels is a joint project between BOZAR, Koor&Stem and À Cœur Joie, with the aim to turn our capital into a giant city of song. Some of the highlights are the Cantania school project and the Singing Brussels Celebration Weekend, which have workshops, singing sessions, festive and interactive concerts. 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. Singing Brussels is supported by the following valued partners: ENGIE Foundation, the Belgian National Lottery and its players, the Ministry of the Flemish Community – Brussels Coordination, Piano’s Maene, À Cœur Joie, Koor&Stem, Jeunesses Musicales de Bruxelles and Jeugd en Muziek Brussel.
SING ME IN COLLECTIVE SINGING IN THE INTEGRATION PROCESS OF YOUNG MIGRANTS
Learning a language should be fun. The theatre or music gets people motivated to learn. You learn to speak Dutch better if you’re learning it in an enjoyable environment. The bond between the person, the language, and the country grows stronger by allowing people to experience emotions through the new language. [Peter Schoenaerts, second language education expert]
We strongly believe that the world of collective singing can and should play a role in this integration process. That is why Koor&Stem participates in the Sing Me In project, which combines the strengths of eleven musical organisations involved in youth work in ten countries, including Turkey and Lebanon. Crossing lines, daring to try something new; this is an exciting challenge when it is only about music or work methods. And it’s easier if you can get a little help from your friends. But some people are forced by circumstances to cross more serious lines, to pass borders, leave their homeland and culture behind, in order to try to start a new life in a foreign country, in a new cultural environment, which includes different food, different music, and perhaps hardest of all, different social rules. They also certainly need a little help from friends. Many young people in different European countries are confronted with these challenges. The Sing Me In project aims to provide children’s and youth choir conductors and music teachers with pedagogical approaches and tools that allow collective singing activities to play a positive role in young people’s integration process. Sing Me In is an ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership with the support of the European Commission. Coodinated by the European Choral Association - Europa Cantat in partnerschip with: Estonian Choral Association (EE), Sulasol (FI), Ung i Kor (NO), ZIMIHC (NL), Koor&Stem (BE), À Cœur Joie (FR), Musica International (FR), Moviment Coral Català (ES), Koro Kulturu Dernegi (TR) and Fayha Choir (LB). This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
ÂŠ Carine Van Gerven
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION IN FLANDERS INTERNATIONAL CHOIR CONTEST OF FLANDERS - MAASMECHELEN
We’ve discovered that the participating choirs have gone on to perform the mandatory piece of Flemish music at other international competitions. This is one way in which we also contribute to the international distribution of Flemish music. [Marie-Rose Van Gerven, vice-president IKV]
The International Choir Contest of Flanders – Maasmechelen (IKV) is held every two years. A dozen top choirs from all around the world come here to prove their artistic quality in front of an international jury. The high level of the participating choirs makes this contest a truly enjoyable experience for the audience.
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EUROPEAN MUSIC FESTIVAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE - NEERPELT
youngsters from all around the world get together in Neerpelt to participate in the European Music Festival for Young People, where young choirs can participate in seven different categories and have their performance evaluated by an internationally renowned jury. www.emj.be
PARTNERS & SPONSORS Koor&Stem would like to thank its partners and sponsors:
FÉDÉRATION CHORALE WALLONIE-BRUXELLES
à cœur joie
FLANDERS INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
COLOFON Published by Koenraad De Meulder | Koor&Stem vzw, Zirkstraat 36, B-2000 Antwerpen, +32 3 237 96 43 Editors Marjolein Braspenningx, Lieselotte Goessens and Jan Stofferis Design Leen van Severen - eps & kaas | Print Vanderpoorten Cover Wim Gelders
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Koor&Stem vzw email@example.com | www.koorenstem.be/en Zirkstraat 36, 2000 Antwerpen (Belgium) +32 3 237 96 43
Brochure in English about Koor&Stem, the organisation for choirs and vocal music in Flanders