Who we are...
The choir started in 1976 when a group of British expatriates in The Hague got together to enjoy singing. Shortly afterwards Malcolm Davies was recruited as conductor of 'The British Choir' and he continued to lead us until his untimely death in 2010. Since then we have been conducted in turn by Manoj Kamps, Marine Fribourg and Drew Santini before Angeliki Ploka joined us in 2017. To reflect its increasing size and international diversity, the choir adopted its present name in 2004. We now number about 80 members of all ages from many different European countries, North America and even further afield.
Members inevitably come and go as the international community of The Hague changes but our numbers still include some 'regulars' who have taken part for 20-30 years. The language of rehearsal remains English but the language and camaraderie of making music is universal. We try hard to welcome new members who may attend several rehearsals before making a commitment. As with many choirs, we are usually short of male voices particularly.
If you live near The Hague (or will soon be moving nearby) and can be free most Thursday evenings to attend rehearsals, we could be the choir you are looking for. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us at the email address at the foot of this page. And, even if you don't want to sing, please join the audience whenever you can!
What we Offer...
Atmosphere. We are a friendly and diverse group. Our eighty or so members come from many different countries, including the Netherlands. Although we take pride in performing at our very best, we always remember that the main purpose of the choir is to share some fun together. Many friendships have been formed over the years; during the 15 minute break in the rehearsals there is plenty of chance to chat over a cup of coffee and a biscuit.
No pressure. Come along for a few weeks to see how you find us. During that time no-one will ask for any money and we will try to make you welcome and give you any information you need. We don't run auditions, so you won't have that to worry about. We are also careful not to expose individual singers - you'll always be singing together with other people.
Summer Concerts. Leading up to our main event at mid-summer, we practice hard to perform one or more major choral works, accompanied by professional orchestral musicians and soloists. Recent summer music has included The Coronation Mass by Mozart (2016), Le roi David by Arthur Honegger (2015), King Arthur by Henry Purcell (2014), Vivaldi's Gloria and two works by Durante (2013), Schubert's Mass No.1 and Mendelssohn's Psalm 42 (2012), Faure's Requiem (2011) and Haydn's The Creation (2010). You may listen to some examples here.
Christmas Music. In December we perform our popular, traditional carol concerts in The Hague and Amsterdam. The repertoire of Christmas music reflects our national diversity and always includes familiar carols with the congregation invited to join in the singing. Centuries-old churches, candlelight, mulled wine and mince pies add to the seasonal atmosphere created by the music.
'Fun' Supper Concert. A special event of long standing is a 'fun' evening in March when we entertain ourselves and invited guests to a supper evening with a themed musical programme. This is a chance for choir members who are keen to perform in smaller groups or even on their own. It is also a fund-raiser to supplement other choir income. Informal drinks parties or meals are held occasionally at other times of the year to add an extra social dimension.
What we expect...
Subscriptions. We are a non-profit making society, but we do have expenses to recoup through members' subscriptions, currently around 160 euro per year. This covers the employment of professional musicians for reharsals, hire of premises, membership of national organisations and other running costs. In addition, you will be expected to purchase sheet music for your own use as and when required.
Rehearsals. We expect members to attend Thursday evening rehearsals as regularly as possible. These take place at the British Primary School, Diamanthorst 16, Mariahoeve [click here to see map] from 19:45 to 22:00. Spread through the year, we also organize a number of 'choir days', usually on Saturdays, for detailed work 10:00 to 15:00, usually at the International School near Kijkduin.
We maintain an attendance register; if you have missed too many rehearsals to be fully prepared, you may be asked not to take part in a concert. Please be punctual at 19:45 to avoid disruption once rehearsal has started. We have a summer recess for July and August but otherwise miss only a small number of Thursday rehearsals that happen to clash with public holidays through the year. Latest details can always be found on the sidebar of this website.
Concert Dress. Peecise details of formal dress requirments vary somewhat from concert to concert but will be provided in good time.
Committee. The work of the choir is undertaken by a committee of volunteers and there are always many jobs to share out. Most of us take a lot out of the choir and are happy to offer our help in return whenever poissible. New blood on the committee is always welcome - please let the chairman or your section representative know if you are interested to help out or can assist in other ways.
Ticket Sales. As with many groups, we ourselves have to provide much of the audience as well as the performance. Everyone is asked to persuade relatives and friends to come and support us; few ever regret turning up! Performances are advertised through posters, internet and local magazines and newspapers.
Chairman: Tony Osborne
Vice-chairman: Colin Reeves
Treasurer: Stephanie Boyde
Secretary: Maggie Sanderson
Concert Manager: Miek Pels Rijcken
Librarian: Lisette van Pelt
Publicity: Marieke Hopley
Social Events: Francien Hoogenboom
Website design: Emiel den Exter, 2012.
Updating: Colin Reeves, January 2017.