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're now on Easter break. The first rehearsal of our short summer term will be on Tuesday 26th April. We recruit only gently in this short term (not suitable for novices), but we will take on any willing singer in September. To get on the mailing list 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.

Summer 2016

Our shorter summer term will be spent, as usual, learning a number of short pieces which we'll perform for ourselves and friends at a Friday social event on 10th June.

Our rehearsals will be on Tuesdays from 26th April to June 7th, except for 31st May which is in half term. What will we be learning? Don't know yet, though you could always peek at our past terms for a hint.

Want to join? Well, the summer term is short and the rehearsal pace is quite fast: if you have choral experience or can read music a bit you'll be ok, but if not you might rather wait until one of our longer terms. But here's how to join...

How to join

Any new members should come to our first rehearsal (7pm on Tuesday 26th April, as above). If you intend to do that please provide contact details to us: it saves time and queueing.

Members: if you'd like to sing this term but can't make the first rehearsal on 26th April, please contact us now, and tell us when you can start.

Our fee for this shorter term will be £30 (cash or cheque payable to North Camden Chorus); but free to full-time students. The fees pay for our rehearsal space and partly subsidise the social evening.

Performances

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 dom@linux-mips.org, 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".

Events

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.

DateEventLocation
Tue 19th Apr 2016 7pm Close harmony and a capella with The Incognitos and Tiffianians in aid of The Choral Course Foundation. St Gabriel's Warwick Square SW1V 2AD
Sat 30th Apr 11am onwards John Rutter will lead a day of music making. That will include Rutter's own A Flower Remembered and The Gift of Life, and also Vaughan William's Five Mystical Songs. Music (and a sandwich lunch) will be provided on the day.
Tickets: £25 online or call 020-7427 5641.
Middle Temple Hall and Church EC4Y 9AT
Sat 75th May 7.30pm University College School Centeneray Choir perform Bach's St John Passion. Tickets here at £16 (concessions available). UCS Great Hall, NW3 6XH
Sat 14th May 10.30am onwards Come and Sing Opera Choruses with the Rudolfus Choir, dir Ralph Allwood. Informal performance at 4.30pm. St Gabriel's Church SW1V 1PJ
Fri 17th Jun 6.30pm Lights, Stories, Noise, Dreams, Love, and Noodles with Michael Rosen and the Bach Choir. Central Hall Westminster SW1H 9NH

Links

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.

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.