News - April 4, 2019

WSKOV 1919-2019: A century of student music

Luuk Zegers

A competition for Dutch student orchestras, a tour in Limburg and Germany, and a centennial concert. That is how Wageningen Student Choir and Orchestra Association (WSKOV) plans to celebrate 100 years of making music.

The WSKOV in 2018. © WSKOV

A special anniversary committee has been set up, with current and former members, to plan the centennial celebrations. They will organize public events, such as the centennial concert in the Junushoff Theatre on 7 June, as well as special activities for current and former members, such as a ball and a reunion, explains WSKOV board member Froukje Lots. ‘We are also organizing an ensemble competition, in which student orchestras from all over the Netherlands will compete.’

Started in the pub

In 1919, professor of Mathematics and Physics Marie Johan van Uven was chatting in the pub with a few students, about the lack of a Wageningen Music Society. Van Uven had been actively involved in the Utrecht Student Concert. Now he took the initiative to hold a music rehearsal in the Wageningen cafe Van Brummelen on 16 October. And on that day, the Wageningen Student Orchestra was founded, first as a sub-society under Ceres, and then from 1925 as an independent society. In 1945, Van Uven founded a student choir too, and in 1947, the choir and the orchestra joined forces in WSKOV.

The WSKOV in 1945. © WSKOV

A hundred years after it was founded, WSKOV is a lively society, says Lots. ‘The orchestra rehearses on Tuesdays and the choir on Thursdays. After those rehearsals, there are drinks.’ There are also barbecues and rehearsal weekends. ‘Then we might go to a house in the woods near Otterloo. During those weekends, the choir and orchestra rehearse together, but we also have activities in the forest and singing by the camp fire.’ During these rehearsals, the members work on summer and winter concerts.


‘WSKOV now is a lot more international than it was in the early days,’ says Lots. ‘In fact, we do everything in English, because a lot of international students join in, especially in the choir. That is very nice when we play international pieces, from countries like Estonia, Russia or China, because there is always someone who speaks the language and can explain what it’s about.’

WSKOV’s centennial concert will take place on Friday 7 June in the Junushoff. Student tickets cost five euros, regular tickets 10 euros.

WSKOV 1920 concert affiche.jpg

The Flyer for one of the first WSKOV-concerts, in 1920. © WSKOV.

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