North Camden Chorus

The NORTH CAMDEN CHORUS is an amateur choir in the true sense: we sing for pleasure. We have rehearsals on Tuesday at 7.30pm 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've now finished our spring term with a performance of the Mozart Requiem.

We will have a short summer term, but will not be recruiting new singers until the autumn. To get on the mailing list for the autumn and future terms, 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 wonderful Transport for London Journey Planner. You can get a route from your starting postcode to the school, right here; just type your postcode and hit RETURN:

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 meet at the Dartmouth Arms pub along the road, and all singers are welcome to join them.

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

Summer 2014

Our summer term will start on Tuesday 29th April 2014 (come for 7pm to register), then at 7.30pm every Tuesday until 10th June, except for 27th May which is half-term.

This term is for existing singers only: we will not be recruiting new members for this summer term. Potential new members should contact us to get on a reminder list for the autumn term.

We'll be learning a selection of shorter pieces (which we don't usually find out about until the start of term) for a choir social/performance on Friday 13th June.


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 have had up to 160 members registered this year. 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 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 020 7226 0032. 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.

Wed 16th April 7.30pm Bach Mass in B Minor: the Old Royal Naval College Chapel choir and Southern Sinfonia under Ralph Allwood. Old Naval College Chapel, Greenwich SE10 9NN
Thu 17th April 7.30pm Messiah with the London Chamber Orchestra and singers with really good soloists. If you can get ten friends together, you can get a 20% discount (email otherwise see the box office Cadogan Hall SW1X 9DQ
Sat 10th May 7.30pm When Music Sounds: English choral favourites sung by the Finchley Chamber Choir, cond: David Lardi.
Works by Britten, Elgar, Vaughan Williams and premiers of works by Patterson and Bullen.
Tickets: £12, concessions £10, Under-16s £6 Contact or 020-8446 6151.
Trinity Church North Finchley, N12 7NN
Sun 11th May 4pm- The Scratch Mozart Requiem: rehearse and sing the Requiem later the same evening with a choir of thousands, organised by the Really Big Chorus. Royal Albert Hall
Tue 10th June 7.30 pm Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Apollo Chamber Orchestra in Ravel's Mother Goose Suite. This is a special gala fundraising concert to celebrate Apollo's 10th anniversary.
Apollo Music Projects founder David Chernaik will demonstrate their teaching methods with a short film of how Chernaik and his team have brought classical music to life for more than 5,000 children.
Tickets £18 to £40 (it's for a good cause). Splash out on a Gala ticket and you're meet Sir Simon at a post-concert reception.
Cadogan Hall SW1X 9DQ


Other organisations

Fortismere Community Brass is a new brass band based in North London (meets in Muswell Hill), looking for players.
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.
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.
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.
Small Choirs Website claims 200+ free pieces of music for church choirs, and occasional festivals.
Philip Norman Music Services do a lot of internet/email promotion of amateur music events — several of the above are from them.
The IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library is an excellent place to find free downloadable music scores.

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