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 through our contact form. And, even if you don’t want to sing, please join the audience whenever you can!
The language of rehearsal is English but the language and camaraderie of making music is universal. We work hard to welcome new members who may attend several rehearsals before making a commitment.
What we Offer…
Atmosphere. We are a friendly and diverse group. Our seventy 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.
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 make you welcome and give you any information you need. We don’t run auditions, so you won’t have that to worry about. Although it is an advantage, we don’t insist on an ability to read music.
Summer Concert. Leading up to our main event at midsummer, we practice hard to perform one or more major choral works, accompanied by professional orchestral musicians and soloists. You may listen to some examples of previous summer concerts 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 make our own entertainment and invite guests to a supper evening with a themed musical programme. This is an opportunity for choir members to perform in smaller groups or even on their own if they wish. It is also a fund-raiser to supplement other choir income.
What we expect…
Subscriptions. We are a non-profit making society, but we do have expenses to recoup through members’ subscriptions, currently around 175 euro per year. This covers the employment of professional musicians for rehearsals, 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 punctually and regularly as possible. These take place at the British Junior School, Saffierhorst 117, Mariahoeve [click here to see map. Please note that the entrance is in the Saffierhorst] from 19:45 to 22:00.
When concerts are approaching, we also organize one or two ‘choir days’, usually on Saturdays.
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. During July and August we take a summer break but otherwise miss only a small number of Thursday rehearsals that happen to clash with public holidays.
Concert Dress. Details of formal dress requirements vary somewhat from concert to concert but will be provided in good time.
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, websites and local magazines and newspapers.
Support Work. The work of the choir is undertaken by a committee of volunteers and there are always jobs to share out. In return for enjoying the benefits of the choir, most people are happy to offer help whenever possible and new blood on the committee is always welcome. You can let the chairman or your section representative know if you are interested to help out or can assist in other ways.
Chairman: Tony Osborne
Treasurer: Stephanie Boyde
Secretary: Lisette van Pelt
Concert Manager: Bert van der Heijden
Librarian: Carol White
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, Drew Santini, Angeliki Ploka and now Sanda Audere. To reflect its increasing size and international diversity, the choir adopted its present name of Cecilia International Choir of the Hague in 2004. We now number about 70 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.