North Camden Chorus

Concert 12th December 2015

Our Christmas concert is on — Saturday 12th December, 7.30pm at St Mary Brookfield, at junction of Dartmouth Park Road and Laurier Road, London NW5.
We'll be singing Britten's St Nicolas, Handel's Let Thy Hand be Strengthened and Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine, with carols from the choir and carols to sing along with. Mince pies and wine available afterwards.
You can download and print an A4 poster (or two small posters on one A4 sheet) which you could put on a public noticeboard near you (library, post office, local cafe?).

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 started our Autum 2015 term on Tuesday 8th September. To get on the mailing list for the spring and 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 term 2015

We're rehearsing on Tuesdays from the 8th September to the 8th December, except for 27th October which is half-term. Our concert will be on Saturday 12th December at St Mary Brookfield church.

The choir is now full for this term: if you're a new member, sorry, please try again next term.

We're learning Britten's cantata St Nicolas and two shorter pieces: Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine and Handel's coronation anthem Let Thy Hand be Strengthened. And there will be carols.

Whilst retaining Britten's unmistakable musical language St Nicolas is a very approachable piece. More information here or wikipedia; but it is full of drama and good tunes. This is a real community piece involving children's chorus and a 'gallery choir' - Ian hopes to organise some (very) local school children to do this.

Spring 2016

Ian would like us to learn Mendelssohn's Elijah to start the new year. Our first rehearsal is scheduled for 5th January 2016, for a concert on Saturday 19th March 2016 at St Mary Brookfield.


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.

Sat 21st Nov 7.30pm Finchley Chamber Choir sing Victoria's Requiem, Byrd Mass in Five Parts with shorter pieces by Bach and Tallis. Tickets £15 (concessions £13, under-18s £6). Trinity Church N12 7NN
Sat 28th Nov 3.45pm The Crouch End Festival Chorus have a 12-hour singing marathon to raise money to finance a recording. In the afternoon Sing Messiah! is open to any singer to join the chorus for Handel's Messiah — £10 for singers payable on the day. Music provided (the Prout edition). If you would like to sing please register by email to Muswell Hill Baptist Church N10 2PT
Sat 28th Nov 2-5pm The Royal Free Music Society will run a sight-singing workshop -- develop your skills and confidence in sight-singing techniques. Led by Benjamin Wolf. Music provided.
It will cost £15 (some concessionary places are available). Go to the online booking form.
Royal Free Hospital NW3 2QG
Fri 4th Dec 7.30pm Classics at Christmas: Chamber Ensemble of London, dir Peter Fisher. Seasonal music for strings.
Tickets: £25, £20, £15 (student/ under-18 £10), online or from stall at church door.
St James Piccadilly W1J 9LL
Sat 5th Dec 7.30pm Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir and a septet. Tickets £12/£6, free for under-16s. St James Piccadilly W1J 9LL
Sat 5th Dec 7.30pm The Addison Oratorio Choir and Chamber choir sing Handel's Messiah; Tickets booked in advance £14.30 (£12.10 conc, under-16 £3.30), or £16/£13/£3 on the door. St Peter's Church W11 2PN
Sat 12th Dec 7.30pm Finchley Chamber Choir and Finchley Chamber Orchestra Christmas concert wirh works by Handel, Vivaldi, Berlioz, Waldteufel, Pachelbel and others. . Tickets £15 (concessions £13, under-18s £6). Trinity Church N12 7NN
Sun 13th Dec 1pm-4pm The Big Christmas Wind Orchestra and Choir (facebook). scratch choir (or wind orchestra) to sing carols in aid of Hope for Children. Please register in advance if you might go. Bishop's Square, Spitalfields Market
28th to 30th Jan 2016 Kings Place A Capella festival. A choir member went to it this year and says: truly wonderful... vibrant, fresh, terrific singing in a great setting. Kings Place N1 9AG


Useful references for singers.

Choirs and orchestras

London Metropolitan Brass is a relatively new brass band based in North London (meets in Muswell Hill), looking for players.
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? Charlotte Derry offers tuition in central London, handy for after-work.

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.