History from Geoff Coward - Director of Music 1977-1983

Following my appointment as Director of Music of the Upper School of British School of Brussels A.S.B.L. in September 1977 the BSB Chorale was formed in November 1977, first appearing in the school's carol concert in Sintjans Kerk, Tervuren in December of the same year. During our six years at BSB the Chorale operated both in conjunction with school music department performances as well also promoting a number of 'stand alone' concerts – facilitated only by, and considerably enhanced through the enthusiastic participation and contribution of many gifted musicians - both professional and amateur - from the musical world of Brussels and environs.

Throughout, my wife, Maggie, acted as rehearsal accompanist – in addition to the multifarious tasks that fell to her, as and when! Choir rehearsals were also some of the earliest musical experiences of our son, Mark, who – hopefully!- slumbered in his carrycot throughout, in the adjacent Music Dept Office!

Equally noteworthy is the support of Gweneth Middleton and Val Jacob - both teachers of music at B.S.B. , also Dave Seddon and Bob Quick for their artwork in the production of posters.

The aim – as per programme notes from 1978 concerts, was 'to provide an opportunity for rehearsing and performing a wide variety of music – secular and sacred, accompanied and 'a capella' and the choir, at present comprising approximately 40 members..... welcomes pupils, parents, teachers and friends of the British School meeting to rehearse on Thursday (and subsequently 'Monday!) evenings during term time......previous choral experience is desirable, but by no means essential- neither is it necessary to be a fluent sight reader'

Listed below are the principal events from the period 1977 – 1983 as culled from surviving programmes, posters.. and as memory permits!

Pergolesi-Magnificat Faure-Requiem

Saturday 11 March 1978 Holy Trinity Church, Brussels

Magnificat in Bb - G. B. Pergolesi
Requiem Op 48 - Gabriel Faure

Moira Speer(Soprano) Claire Senton (Soprano) Fiona Cobb (Alto) Derek Roberts (Tenor) Colin Brook ( Bass) Two Preludes and Fugues (BWV 555) J S Bach performed by Heather Charlton (Organ)

A Summer Serenade

Saturday 1 July 1978  'A Summer Serenade' The Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren

Madrigals & Folk Songs arrangements – African, English ( H. Roberton/Vaughan Williams),
Yugoslav (Matyas Seiber) & Five Nursery Rhymes (Ralph Hunter)

plus Instrumental Items.... including Heather Charlton (Spinet), Manuelle Prevost (Guitar) & Dirk Van Der Moortel(Violin) - then a student... (now member of Belgian National Orchestra)

Christmas Concert

Saturday 16 December 1978 Christmas Concert Sint Janskerk, Tervuren

Fantasia on Christmas Carols - Ralph Vaughan Williams
Navidad Nuestra - Ariel Ramirez
St Nicolas - Benjamin Britten

Soloists - Gweneth Middleton, Derek Roberts, T om Cunningham, Colin Brook, Michael Speer

Holy Trinity Church

Saturday 12 May 1979 Holy Trinity Church, Brussels

Alleluia - Randall Thompson
Quando Corpus - Rossini
Jesus and the Traders - Kodaly
Jesu, Priceless Treasure - J.S. Bach
Chichester Psalms - Leonard Bernstein

Heather Charlton (Organ) Gyde Kamer Knebusch (Harp) Brian Cheetham (Counter Tenor)

Music for Christmas

Tuesday 18 December - Music for Christmas

A programme of seasonal music and word

A Choral Concert

Saturday 15 March 1980 A Choral Concert Sint Janskerk, Tervuren

with The Seventy Choir from Thanet, Kent and Orchestra


Zadok the Priest - Handel
Cantate - Domino Pitoni
Brazilian Psalm-  Jean Berger
Ave Maria - Verdi
Gloria-  Vivaldi

Carole McBride (Soprano) Gillian Covel (Mezzo Soprano)

Music for Christmas

Tuesday 16 December 1980 Music for Christmas Sint Jans Kerk,Tervuren

in which BSB Chorale performed

A Ceremony of Carols-  Benjamin Britten
The Last Month of the Year - John Odom

BSB Chorale, Middle School Choir, Percussion, Recorders and Guitars

English Choral Music

Saturday 4 April 1981 English Choral Music Deutsche Schule, Brussel

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast - Samuel Coleridge Taylor
Serenade to Music - Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Rio Grande - Constant Lambert

Swana Hardy (Soprano) Steve Collins (Piano)

A Temporary Diversion

Thursday 10  Friday / 11 December 1981

For the opening of the School's new auditorium a new work 'Follow the Plough was commissioned from English composer Keith Cole (Text Ken Pickering) which was first performed at the opening ceremony in the presence of King Baudouin on 8th December

The piece was composed for the combined forces of the school & BSB chorale


Saturday 5  June 1982 Choral Concert BSB Arts Centre

Cantata BWV 150' Nach Dir, Herr, Verlanget Mich J. S. Bach
Veni Creator Spiritus Carl Orff
Mass in D Minor 'The Nelson' Josef Haydn

Wendy Fearn (Soprano) Gillian Covel (Mezzo Soprano) Tom Cunningham (Tenor) Malcolm Goldring (Bass)

African Sanctus

Thursday 10  Friday / 11 December 1981

A Concert of Vocal & Instrumental Music including

African Sanctus - David Fanshawe

Blanche Gerard (Soprano) Steve Collins (Piano)


Saturday 4 June 1983 Sint Janskerk, Tervuren

The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God Arthur Bliss

Requiem - W. A. Mozart

Alison Cunningham(Soprano) Dina Grossberger (Alto) Tom Cunningham (Tenor) Bill Parker (Bass)