North Camden Chorus

Christmas Concert Saturday 17th December, 7.30pm

At: St Mary Brookfield, Laurier Road, London NW5 1SL. Here are posters to download and print: A4 size, 2 × A5 size.

The choir and orchestra, conducted by Ian Gibson, will perform:
Vivaldi's Gloria with soloists Felicity Hayward (soprano) and Aino Konkka (mezzo-soprano).
Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols with soloist Tom McKenna (baritone).
There will also be some Christmas carols with some audience participation.
And there will be wine, mince pies and cheer after the concert.

All this by programme available at the door for £12 / £10 concessions (under-18s free).

Singers — Your choir needs you!

The North Camden Chorus needs some people to step up and help run the choir. This currently falls to a small committee who are aware we are now (on average) a lot older than the choir, a problem which, if unchecked, we suspect will get worse every year... Members (particularly younger members) please have a look at the list of jobs to be done (a link has been emailed to you) and think whether you have a few more hours you could contribute.

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 are in the middle of our autumn term. We're learning pieces by Vivaldi and Vaughan Williams for our concert on 17th December. 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're 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!)

Spring 2017

We'll be learning Dvorak's Mass in D (new to the choir, I think) and Mascagni's Easter Hymn chorus from the operetta Cavalleria Rusticana.

New singers will be welcome at our first rehearsal, probably be on Tuesday 10th January 2017 (it's not quite booked yet), then on every Tuesday until the concert except for Tuesday 14th February, which will be half-term. Fees for the term will be £45, increased after several years to cover expenses.

How to join

More information about how to join for the Spring 2017 term will be posted later: for now pencil in the 10th January and get in touch, so we can email you about joining.

Carol Singing with NCC

For many years singers from North Camden Chorus have sung carols in Hampstead to raise money for the Royal Free Hospital children's ward party. But in the last couple of years we've also had singers join in other charitable sings. This year there seem to be enough of these to put up a list.

If you're interested in singing at the Royal Free Hospital, ask Dave Collins at a choir practice, or fill in one of his forms. For all the others please email

WhenSinging forLocation
Sun 4th Dec 1-2pm Carol singing for St John's Hospice. St John's Wood
Sun 11th Dec 12.30pm- Carol singing for All Dogs Matter. Hampstead
Fri 16th Dec at 7-8pm Carol singing for Marie Curie cancer care. kings cross
Tue 20th Dec 4.45pm-, 6.45pm- Annual NCC Carol Singing for Royal Free Hospital children's ward Christmas, now in its 25th year. Royal Free Hospital (main entrance)
Fri 23rd Dec 7-8 pm Carol singing for Health Poverty Action. Charing Cross station


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.

Thu/Fri 24/25th Nov 7.15pm Our Carnal Hearts: a theatre show with a new choral score, drawing from classical, new romantic and sacred harp for 4 female singers. It's a horribly entertaining rummage through envy and competition written by Rachel Mars with compositions by Louise Mothersole. Camden People's Theatre NW1 2PY
Sat 3rd Dec 7.30pm Mozart evening: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Nelson Mass and Ave Verum Corpus sung by the Collegium Musicum choir. Tickets £16, £12 (concessions) on the door, phone 07812 599340 or online. St James' Piccadilly W1J 9LL
Sat 3rd/Sun 4th Dec 10.30am-4.30pm May Contain Food is a show which is part of the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival. The company offer a weekend workshop for singers and dancers, for over-18s interested in collaboration and working across different art forms. No professional training or music reading required.
£30 (£25 for East London dwellers/workers/students). That includes a ticket to the performance on Tuesday 6 December. Email or call 020-7377 0287.
St Hilda's East E2 7EY
Fri Dec 16th 7.30pm The Bach Choir Carols at Cadogan: favourite carols with organ, harp and brass. £s;13.50-32. Group discounts available. Cadogan Hall SW1X 9DQ
18th Dec 1-4pm Big Christmas Wind Orchestra and Choir: calling on singers and wind/brass players. Any ability welcome, no reheasal required for well-known songs. Dress warm.
Sign up here.
Spitalfields Market E1 6EW
Thu-Sat 26-28th Jan 2017 London A Cappella Festival: celebrating unaccompanied singing. Multiple events. Kings Place


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.