In 2005 one of my colleagues gave me a copy of the movie ‘O Happy Day‘. I watched the movie and was touched to tears.
The movie tells the story of a Danish traditional church choir that is inspired by a visiting American gospel choir and its conductor. The conductor teaches the Danish singers to sing from the heart. This has big consequences for some of the singers whose lives are turned upside down by this new experience.
One of the songs that touched me is ‘Lord hold me now‘. I started looking for the author of the song and found Hans Christian Jochimsen in Denmark. I sent him an email asking for sheet music, which he immediately sent me. My choir director let me teach the song to the choir.
Sometime later I learnt from Hans Christian’s website that he was starting the International School of Gospel Music. One week in August, filled with inspiring workshops related to singing gospel music in a lovely location with excellent food. Since then I visited the school five times, each time getting inspired and making new friends.
If you have become curious by now, please visit the website and check out what the International School of Gospel Music can mean to you.
We rehearse in community center ‘De Kronkel’ every week with our gospel choir. Recently the community center was not accessible due to a major power failure following road works. Since I could not reach anyone who could give us access to the building I started thinking of alternative locations.
Two of our loyal supporters, an elderly couple that owns a big house in the city center, had once said: ‘You can come and sing at our place.’ I called the lady in question and she let us know we could come immediately. After a cup of tea and coffee we had our rehearsal. The couple enjoyed our singing for free and we enjoyed a free rehearsal location. Flip-thinking in action!
Do you have a spacious living room and a piano? And would you be interested in having a choir sing at your place? Please contact us for more information!
The above story – in Dutch – has been published on the Omdenken website.
Part of our singing together is in the form of circle songs: a creative and spontaneous way of creating and singing songs together as a group.
One person acts as a leader – that can be the choir conductor but also one of the singers. The leader decides how to start building a song. That can be by singing a couple of notes in a particular rhythm to each vocal group (altos, sopranos, tenors, basses). And then there is all kinds of ways to start improvising on top of these melodies, solo or in groups.
We created one circle song especially for a concert in the Peace Palace based on a Zulu song. We used the Zulu lyrics, wrote an English version, created different melodies and sang both in English and in Zulu.
We are inspired by (among others) Bobby McFerrin. Listen to one of his circle songs.