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're in the last couple of rehearsals for this term and working up to our concert on Saturday 14th December. Our next term will start on 7th January 2014, and we'll be learning Mozart's wonderful Requiem. If you're interested in joining in January get in touch.
Our choir is friendly. Our musical director is
Ian Gibson. But we remain true to the philosophy of our
former director Neil Bowman, who instructed us:
If you can make your mistakes loud enough, you'll
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.
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).
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.
Will be at 7.30pm on Saturday 14th December: we're singing Rutter's Feel the Spirit and Finzi's In Terra Pax. We'll add some Christmas pieces and at least one carol with audience participation...
Please download and print an A4 poster (or two A5 posters), and put it on a local noticeboard.
To the choir: invite your friends and family for what's sure to be a good event. Admission at the door is only £10 (£6 for concessions). Bring some mince pies to share (with a glass of wine) after the concert. There will be a choir rehearsal in the afternoon: timing details later.
Our autumn term started on Tuesday 10th September 2013. We've still got three rehearsals left (26th November, 3rd December, 10th December). Tuesday rehearsals start at 7.30pm and we're finished by about 9.15pm.
Our concert will be on Saturday 14th December at St Mary Brookfield, with a rehearsal in the afternoon.
Every Christmas a party from the NCC, organised by Dave Collins, sings carols for charity. It's been a tradition for 25 years, and for the last few years we sing outside a main entrance to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. We raise money for "Christmas Comforts" for the children's ward young patients (presents, decorations, activities and entertainments, etc).
This year we'll meet at the hospital from 4.45 to "catch" staff and afternoon visitors going home.
At about 6.15pm the hospital kindly thaws us with hot chocolate, marshmallows and mince pies.
From about 6.45pm we'll move just round the corner to stand outside Marks & Spencer in South End Green to collect from shoppers and homeward bound commuters.
At about 8pm we'll close with a glass of whisky/brandy & mince pies to toast our efforts, and some of our number will go to the pub.
We need singers for both the 4.45-6.15 shift, and 6.45-8pm. Dave has leaflets of words if you don't have your own carol book. If you have a friend you would like to bring, they will be welcome.
If you'd like to bring a book and try some harmonies the ultimate resource is Willcocks & Rutter 100 Carols for Choirs — sometimes Ian brings some along. But even Faber's booklet-style and much cheaper The Essential Carol Singer will provide harmonies to most of the carols we sing.
Next term we'll be learning Mozart's Requiem for a concert before Easter. We'll be welcoming new members at our first rehearsal on Tuesday 7th January 2013 (with our first-of-term start time of 7pm, so we get a chance to sign members up and hand out scores). Then we'll have rehearsals every Tuesday until the 25th March (probably), except for 18th February which is half-term.
Turn up to the first or second rehearsal as above.
There is a per-term subscription: for 2014's spring term it will
be £40 (but we're free to full-time students).
Please bring cash or your cheque payable to
We accept members as they turn up in person to register, and reserve the right to stop when we're full. One exception: if you have sung with us since January 2013 and for any reason can't make the first rehearsal, please contact us and we'll arrange for a place to be kept for you until the second or third week.
A new singer can attend the first rehearsal on a trial basis: ask the people at the desk. You will have to join (and pay) at the second rehearsal to keep your place. I don't recommend that everyone does this: that's partly (selfishly) because it would give us administrative problems. But it's also because if you haven't sung in a choir before, the first rehearsal is likely to be pretty confusing and it's probably worth giving it a bit more time...
If you are keen to join and new (that is, you haven't sung with us in the last year), please provide contact details online (the contact details page is live now and with luck will stay that way until after the 14th January 2014.) If for some reason you can't do that, please download, print and fill in a paper form and bring it with you.
Bring a pencil and eraser so you can make notes on the score.
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.
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. He is also 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.
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!
Email 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.
|Tue 17th Dec, 4.45pm onward||NCC Carol singing||Royal Free Hospital|
|Wed 18th Dec, 7.45pm||
choir in concert with Massive Violins.
Little modesty in evidence (
Supersized grooves + megawatt harmonies), but perhaps it will be really exciting. Tickets £10 (£6 for some concessions).
|Greenwood Theater, SE1 3RA|
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.