News - December 16, 2010

Student choir is booming

The Wageningen student choir has more than 50 members, which is about level with the membership during its peak period in the 1990s. But now they have a new problem: a surplus of women.
Choir committee member Lisette Feijen talks about the luxury problem of WSKOV (Wageningen student choir and orchestral society) on the eve of its Christmas concerts.

Are women still able to join?
'People are already making jokes that you are only allowed to become a member if you bring a man with you, but that's not seriously the case. We have three rows of women and one row of men behind them. We are considering auditions or a system with waiting lists.'

How about starting a women-only choir in January?
'Oh no. A few of our ladies will be leaving after these concerts. In any case, we can still fit in a few more women.'

Where have all these members suddenly sprung from?
'We have an awful lot of international students because we do everything in English. They often have prior experience in a school choir, especially the students from Germany and Asia.'

Isn't singing in a choir a bit uncool?
'Not at all, it's great fun and very sociable. I have no idea why people should think that. Everyone enjoys singing, they just prefer to do it under the shower. We sing in a group every week. I like the fact that everyone is true to themselves, real individuals. You don't get the kind of people who just want to be popular.'

Do you always sing Top 40 songs and Christmas carols?
'Our genre is always classical music and that is a lot more varied than people think. At the moment we are singing highlights from the Messiah. Everyone knows the Hallelujah Chorus, even if you think you don't.'
The WSKOV is giving two concerts: 17 December in the Main Auditorium and 18 December in the Grote Kerk (great church) in Wageningen. Both start at 8 p.m.  Students pay 3 euros admission.