North Camden Chorus

Concert posters now available

If you have a place where other people would notice it, why not download and print one of these posters in either A4 or 2×A5 form?

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.

Our autumn term started on September 9th, and we're now too far in to recruit new singers. To get on the mailing list for the spring 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 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 2014

Our term started on Tuesday 9th September 2014 and continues at 7.30pm every Tuesday until 2nd December except for 28th October (half-term).

The fee for the whole term is £40 — it's free for full-time students.

Our major piece this term will be Puccini's Messe di Gloria. We'll add the Choral Dance from Borodin's Prince Igor, and some Christmas music. I've added some music learning links.

Ian writes: Puccini wrote some of the most dramatic and romantic music for his operas such as Tosca and La Boheme and these traits are much in evidence in the Messe di Gloria. Borodin's Polovtsian Dances (Choral Version) continues an operatic theme; you may recognise the main theme from Kismet. With the Christmas music there will be plenty of belting tunes to look forward to this term.

For those of you who buy your own scores, try to get the Ricordi edition of the Puccini (look for Ricordi in the copyright notices).


Will be at 7.30pm on Saturday 6th December at St Mary Brookfield, Laurier Road, London NW5 1SL.

How to join

We're now closed to all except those who tried out in the first week (who we'll welcome to join in the second week, 16th September) and old members who've arranged to start late. For them: the fee is £40 cash or cheque payable to North Camden Chorus, free to full-time students.


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 22nd Nov 3pm Introduce children to opera, by registering at the Royal Opera House. Their next family performance is of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore. Royal Opera House
Sat 22nd Nov 9.30am - 4pm Wimbledon Choral Society: Come and Sing Workshop with Will Todd (one of the UK's best-known choral composers). Work with Will on some of his recent choral works. Tenors/basses particularly wanted. £20 for the day.
Apply by email
St Matthew's Raynes Park SW20 0DE
Sat 22nd Nov 7.30pm Verdi's Requiem with the Addison Singers (a big choir), Brandenburg Sinfonia and soloists. Tickets £15 (concessions available, under-16s cheap).. St Paul's Hammersmith W6 9PJ
29th Nov 7.30pm Masters of Baroque with Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir and Orchestra. Tickets £15, concessions £10, under-16s free. St James Piccadilly W1J 9LL
Sat 13th Dec 7.30pm Finchley Chamber Choir and Orchestra: The Glory of Christmas. Famous music. Tickets by email or call 0208\-886 9978. Trinity Church N12 7NN


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.

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...

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.