North Camden Chorus

The NORTH CAMDEN CHORUS is an amateur choir in the true sense: we sing for pleasure. We have rehearsals on Tuesday from 7.30pm-9.30pm during two or three terms each year.

Membership of the choir is open to anyone with or without choral experience. We aim for high standards, and of course strong singers are always valued — but you don't have to be able to read music, and there are no auditions (if you're not sure whether you are a soprano or alto, just ask our director to make the call). Students are particularly welcome.

We enjoyed a good first rehearsal of our autumn term on last Tuesday, 13th September. We had a good turnout but are not at our maximum size yet, so we will welcome new singers on next Tuesday 20th September too. We're learning pieces by Vivaldi and Vaughan Williams. To get on the mailing list for Tuesday or for future terms, please contact us.

Our choir is friendly. Our musical director is Ian Gibson. One of our mottos is If you can make your mistakes loud enough, you'll get better...

We learn each piece of music thoroughly. Sectional rehearsals (you never have to sing on your own) help you to learn the music one part at a time; then we come together as a full choir to put it together.

We sing a rather eclectic mix of classical music — as you might see from a list of past Concerts. We do a short summer season of less-classical pieces.

Where do we meet and how to get there?

We're based in North London. We meet at William Ellis School, which is on Highgate Road, London NW5 1RN (click for map), between Kentish Town and Highgate (Tufnell Park is the nearest tube).

For public transport ask the efficient Transport for London Journey Planner.

Or get a map from google. On foot or by car, come in through the school entrance opposite Croftdown Road. Follow the drive up until the school main entrance is on your right. Go in, turn right and immediately up the stairs. On the first floor you'll find the school hall in front of you, and that's where we'll meet.

If you come by car there is parking in front of the school and by turning right from the entrance drive, just before the school buildings. There's also parking available on Croftdown Road (opposite) and other local roads.

After rehearsals a group of singers go off to a pub, and any singer is welcome to join them. But check at rehearsal; in September 2014 they were changing their choice of pub.

We're grateful that William Ellis are so helpful to a community (rather than a school) organisation.

Autumn 2016

Our Autumn term began on Tuesday 13th September 2016, and we'll rehearse on every Tuesday until 13th December except for 25th October, when the school is closed for half-term.

Our concert will be on the evening of Saturday 17th December at St Mary Brookfield, with a choir rehearsal in the afternoon from 2.30pm onwards.

We'll be learning two deservedly popular pieces: Vivaldi's Gloria and Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols. Seasoned choir members might remember performing both of these before, but that was in 2007 and 2008 respectively. It will be Christmas time so we'll undoubtedly add some carols.

If you want to get your own score(s), we'll be using a Ricordi/Casella score for the Vivaldi, and a Stainer & Bell score for the Vaughan Williams (no buying recommendation is implied in the links, just to let you look at it!)

How to join

New members can still join at our second rehearsal (7.15pm on Tuesday 20th September. If you intend to do that please provide contact details to us first: it saves time and queueing. The 20th is probably really your last chance!

Our fee for the term will be £40 (cash or cheque payable to North Camden Chorus); but free to full-time students. The fees pay for our rehearsal space and subsidise the concert.


We put on two public performances a year, at the end of our spring and autumn terms, usually accompanied by a small orchestra. The evenings are informal and great fun but it's real music done well. We often mix the choral pieces with performances from local students, and end the evening with food and drink.

In addition to our two major concerts we have a social evening in the summer where we eat, drink and do some singing. Many choir members take part in an annual evening of carol singing in Hampstead, raising money for the children's Christmas party at the Royal Free Hospital.

You can see and marvel at all we've sung in the last many years.

Our leaders

Ian Gibson has been our musical director since 2006, and was our accompanist and occasional conductor for the previous decade.

Ian's interest in singing began as a chorister at the Parish Church Choir in Enfield. He was educated at the Latymer School and was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music. Ian studied music at St Catharine's College, Cambridge where he was President of the College Music Society and a Choral Exhibitioner. Here, he conducted the College Orchestra and was soloist in Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto.

Ian is Assistant Director of Music and a Year Head at University College School, Hampstead where he conducts the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. For nine years he was Director of Camjam, a Saturday morning music centre run by Camden LEA.

Ian plays in the Enfield Chamber Orchestra and aside from his musical interests enjoys foreign travel, watching football and playing tennis.

Mark Denza is our regular rehearsal pianist and section director (which seriously understates his remarkably wide range of musical skills).

Philip Godfrey is well-known to us as a stand-in pianist and section director, and the composer of one of our December 2011 pieces.

Choir History

The North Camden Chorus was formed around 1978 to allow parents and students of William Ellis and Parliament Hill Schools to perform major choral works. We're less connected with the schools these days and don't have many school-age members, but local school students still perform solos in our concerts.

The choir has benefitted from a sudden surge of interest in choral singing (TV programmes may have helped) and we typically have 150 members signed up for our autumn and spring terms. We have an age range from under twenty to over seventy (we're pleased to have many more younger singers than a couple of years ago).

Previous conductors have included Colin Durrant, John Madden and (for many years) Neil Bowman. Soloists have included Andrew Carwood, Mark Wilde and Michael Palin!

Getting in touch

Email (that's, if the email hotlink doesn't work for you); or call our secretary on 07960 337 130. Or you could join our facebook group, which is also called "North Camden Chorus".


This section is for events in the near future which may be of interest to members. I will post pretty much anything that anyone mails to me.

Sat 8th to Sun 16th Oct Much music in the East Finchley Arts Festival.
Sat 15th Oct 3pm- Come and sing Mozart's Requiem: join us with David Lardi and soloists. Afternoon rehearsal 3-6pm with 7.30pm performance. Bring your own copy if possible.
Part of the East Finchley Arts Festival.
All Saints N2 9DP
Sat 22nd Oct 2.30pm/7.30pm Make strange noises with the London Sinfonietta, who are premiering works relying on a noisy audience. Come at 2.30pm or the previous evening to join in. St John's Smith Square
Sat Oct 29th 9am- Come and sing Faure's Requiem with St Mary's Singers. Note early rehearsal start! Performance at 12 noon. Contact James Reed for details. Somewhere in Winchmore Hill N21
Sun 30th Oct 3pm The Bach Choir with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by David Hill: works including Walton's Belshazzar's Feast and Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.
Students and young people's tickets £5 by email or the web.
Royal Festival Hall
Sat 5th Nov 10am- Come and sing Faure's Requiem: concert at 3pm. Please book early: email or call 07799 991 330. £10 for the day, plus £2 for score hire (or bring your own Novello/Ratcliffe score). Heath St Baptist Church NW3 1DN
Sat 12th Nov 7.30pm The Finchley Chamber Choir Let There be Light with music from composers including Rutter, Lauridsen, Rathbone, Whitacre. Tickets £15, concessions £13, under-18 £6. Trinity Church N12 7NN


Useful references for singers.

Choirs and orchestras

Finchley Chamber Choir: regular concerts in Trinity Church, North Finchley, N12 7NN with this smaller and more expert choir. A good local place to hear choral repertoire.
Harmony on Heels is a women's choir based in Kentish Town meeting on Wednesdays. I think they're rather less classical than we are. Women singers with NCC who find just one choir is too few...

Finding music in London

bachtrack is by far the best concert listings site I know of. If you have a free Saturday or fancy a lunchtime concert, this is your spot. Or if you have a passion for Ravel...

Singing tuition

Have you an urge to sing better? Maria McCaul The Singing Studio offers singing lessons, based in Hornsey. Email Maria or call 07899 026 394.

Other Music Learning

The Guitar Social: courses (for beginners and more experienced guitarists) let you learn and improve with other players. Sounds delightful.

Charities and promoters

Nordoff Robbins is a charity which uses music in music therapy and community building. Their UK centre is at 2 Lissenden Gardens, NW5 1PQ — just round the corner from the school where we rehearse. They run concerts, usually pretty classy, benefitting the charity, a few times a year.
music&friends run choir festivals and international meetings.
RunBySingers set up musical holidays, which always sound very tempting.
The London Sangerstevner is a series of choral festivals.
Philip Norman Music Services do a lot of internet/email promotion of amateur music events — several of the above are from them.

Web indexes

Small Choirs Website claims 200+ free pieces of music for church choirs, and occasional festivals.

Free scores

The IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library is an excellent place to find free downloadable music scores.
ChoralWiki (formerly the Choral Public Domain Library) has a large collection of free downloadable material, mostly choral scores. Some scores are of very good quality, with excellent volunteer editors, some are rougher.

Website built and maintained by choir member Dominic Sweetman. Thanks to Ralf Bächle for hosting us for free.