Figure 1.--Choristers from the Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino are seen here after a concert in a museum.
We have only limited information about the Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino. We know that the Choir was founded in 1959 by its current conductor, Father Michaël Ghijs. Its members are all pupils or former pupils of the St. Martin's Institute, a regular secondary school in Aalst, a town approximately 25 km from Brussels, the center of Europe. The aim of the choir, as its name expresses, is to sing to the Lord. The choir consists of 90 persons, boys and men, aged between 10 and 40. The choir is divided into the four traditional voicegroups; Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Hopefully our Belgian readers will be able to tell us more about the Choir.
The Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino is a Flemish choir. Flanders is the Flenish (similar to Dutch) speaking region of Belgium. Dlemish is a Dutch dialect. Some Flemish would like to separate from the French speaking Belgium. Interestingly, the Choir websuite offers an English and Dutch translation, but not a French translation.
The Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino was founded in 1959 by its current conductor, Father Michaël Ghijs.
The Choristers are all pupils or former pupils of the St. Martin's Institute, a regular secondary school in Aalst.
The choir is located in Aalst, a town approximately 25 km from Brussels, the center of Europe. Ot is midway between Brussels anf Ghent along the river Dender,
There is a historical record of Aalst dating to 840 AD. It was a village desctibed as a dependancy of the Abbey of Lobbes. Ths was just at the time the Vikings appeared in Western Christendom and no long afterwards, the village was sacked by the Vilings. A town hall was built in the 12th century. A fire devestated the town in 1360. The town was rebuil A beautiful gothic belfry was build in the 15th century. Aalst is located in eastern Flanders, right on the on the boundary between Flanders and Brabant. This was an area claimed by both German princes and French kings. Thus various monarchs ruled the area. The modern town flag includes both the German eagle and the French Crown. Aalst was seized by the Louis XIV in the War of Devolution during 1667 and was retained by the French until held by the French until 1706. Aalst today is noted for its festive carnaval celebrated in February.
The aim of the choir, as its name expresses, is to sing to the Lord. Thus religious music is an important part of the choral repertoire.
The choir consists of 90 persons, boys and men, aged between 10 and 40. Didvided into the four traditional voicegroups; Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass.
There are three different types of rehearsals:
Pupils: Rehearsals are held daily before and after schooltime i.e. from 7.30am till 8.30 am; from 12.30pm till 1.15pm; from 4.00pm till 5.00pm (once a week)
Men: Weekly rehearsals on Friday and Saturday
from 7.00pm till 9.00pm
Choir: Rehearsals for pupils and men every Saturday from 9.30am till 12.00am
NOTE: This is the normal scheme; if necessary, additional rehearsals are scheduled.
e.g. together with orchestra and/or soloists in preparation of important performances.
The choir's repertoire embraces all genres of western choral musical, from Gregorian chants, renaissance polyphony and baroque compositions to various contemporary scores. The choir has successfully performed Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli, Bach's Mass in B Minor, Händel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem Britten's Ceremony of Carols, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Lloyd Webber's Requiem etcetera.
Cantate Domino's cooperation with various international orchestras and conductors was much appreciated. The choir was conducted by Philippe Herreweghe,Seij Ozawa, Rafaël Frühbeck de Burgos, Sir Colin Davis, Claudio Abbado, Laszlo Heltay, Michaël Tilson Thomas, Pierre Cao and Steve Sloane among others.
From 1961 onwards, Cantate Domino has acquired far-reaching international recognition and has been praised world-wide for its outstanding performances. The group was received by Pope John Paul II in 1993 and by the King of Belgium in 1994. In 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997, the choir was appointed "Cultural Ambassador of Flanders" by the Flemish Government.
During it's 1997 concerttour to the Philippines, Cantate Domino was received by the first Lady, Amelita Ramos at the Presidential Residence. Last December, Father Michaël was received for a private audience by H.R.H. King Albert II of Belgium.
The Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino has carried out a very active travel and concert tout program. The young choristers have performed in all major European cities, as well as in the United States, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Argentina, Egypt, Israel, Singapore and India. Cantate Domino has performed in:
1998 Washington, New York, Montréal, London, Basel, Italy
1997 Manila, Cebu, Linz , Lecco-Bergamo, Lugano
1996 Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Jerusalem, Bethlehem
1995 Taiwan, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Milan
1994 South-Africa, Italy, Granada
1993 Argentina, Bollington (Manchester)
1992 Israel, Italy, Lourdes, Prague
1991 Mexico, Italy
1990 Australia, Singapore, India
1989 Egypt, Czechoslovakia
1988 Lourdes, Transvaal
1987 Lourdes, Leningrad,Vilnius, Moskow, Bangkok en Taipeh
1986 Caracas, Madrid, Barcelona
1985 Köln, Altenberg, Straatsburg
1984 Lourdes, Taiwan, Singapore
1983 Poland, France, BRD, Israel
1982 Italy, BRD
1981 Japan, Taiwan
1980 New York, Washington, Wuppertal
1979 Popayan, Cali, Bogota, Neuss, Rome
1977 Lourdes, Helsinki, Turku, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tel-Aviv, Straatsburg
1976 Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Regensburg
1975 Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pietersburg, Klerksdorp, Rome
1974 Soest, Düsseldorf, Wuppertal
1973 Szczecin, Warschau, Krakó, Wolfsburg, Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Bethlehem, Nazareth
1972 Paris, Barcelona, Lourdes, Jerusalem, Haï, Nazareth, Bethlehem
1971 Prague, Liberec, Brno, Wüppertal
1970 New York, Washington, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Mineapolis
1969 Pragueg, Liberec, London
1968 Paris, Lourdes, San Sebastian, London
1967 Salzburg, Wien, London
1966 Rome, Loreto, Milan, Ancona
1965 Innsbruck, Reute
1964 Paris, Lourdes,Lisieux
1963 Luxembourg, Köln, Trier
1962 Maria-Laach, Echternach, Trier
1961 Tilburg, Düsseldorf, Köln
Figure 3.--Note that in informal moments after a concert that the boys like to roll down their white kneesocks.
The Choristers wear a uniform of dark blue jackets (both single and double-breasted). white shirts, blue ties, blue short pants, and white kneesocks. This is similar to many French choirs and some private Catholic schools in Belgium and France. Some of the older boys in 2000 are allowed to wear long pants.
Auftritte zu Gunsten kranker Kinder und der Organisation »Menschen für Menschen«
Knabenchor Cantate Domino zu zwei Konzerten in Ostbelgien Eupen/St. Vith. – Im kommenden Monat wird der weltbekannte Aalster Knabenchor Cantate Domino zwei Mal in Ostbelgien auftreten. Der Erlös des Konzertes wird zum einen an die Organisation »Menschen für Menschen« gehen, die für die Verbesserung der Lebenssituation in Äthiopien eintritt. Der andere Teil wird schwer erkrankten Kindern aus der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft zugute kommen.
Der seit mehr als 40 Jahren bestehende Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino aus dem Aalster Sint-Maartensinstitut ist längst nicht mehr »nur« ein Schulchor. Im Laufe
der Jahre erlangte der Chor unter der Leitung von Michaël Ghijs Weltruhm. Mehrmals schon wurden die jugendlichen Sänger im Vatikan empfangen und die von
ihnen präsentierten Meisterwerke aus der religiösen Chormusik erfreuten asiatische, amerikanische, australische, afrikanische und nicht zuletzt europäische
Musikliebhaber. In kaum einem Land ist Cantate Domino nicht aufgetreten. Ihr Auftritt vor zwei Jahren in der Eupener St. Nikolauskirche beim »Tag der Musik« ließ
ein beeindrucktes und zutiefst berührtes Publikum zurück. Am 4. Juni werden sie wieder nach Ostbelgien kommen. Um 15 Uhr treten sie in St. Vith in der
Pfarrkirche auf und um 19Uhr sind sie in der Eupener St. Nikolauskirche zu hören. Vorgetragen wird eine Messe in GMoll von Ralph Vaughan Williams und der
Opus 37 aus »All Night Vigil« von Sergei Rachmaninov. Bemerkenswerterweise wird der Chor ohne Gage auftreten. So ist der Eintritt zu den Konzerten, zu deren
Veranstaltung der Eupener Stadtverordnete Gert Völl die Initiative ergriff, kostenlos, jedoch wird jeder Besucher des Konzertes aufgefordert, einen Spendenbeitrag
zu leisten, dessen Höhe in eigenem Ermessen liegt. Ein Teil des so gesammelten Betrages wird Kindern aus der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft übermittelt, die an
schweren körperlichen und psychischen Erkrankungen leiden. Zwei Kinderärzte werden mit der Auswahl der kranken Kinder betraut, da sie wissen, welche
Familien die Unterstützung am dringendsten benötigen.
Figure 4.--Here the choir is pictured in front of the U.S. capitol during a concert tour of the United States.
Unterstützt wird außerdem die 1981 von Karlheinz Böhm gegründete Organisation »Menschen für Menschen«, die sich für die äthiopische Bevölkerung einsetzt. Das
Hauptanliegen dieser Organisation ist vor allem, durch langfristig angelegte Projekte den Menschen zu ermöglichen, unabhängig von externer Hilfe zu leben. Dazu
gehört zum Beispiel der Bau von Krankenhäusern, das Anlegen von Brunnen und Bewässerungssystemen, die Schulung der Bauern in effizienten Anbaumethoden
und die Wiederaufforstung des Landes, um der Erosion entgegenzuwirken. 90 Prozent der über 500 Mitarbeiter, die die Organisation in Äthiopien zählt, sind
Einheimische. Neben der Unterstützung zur Selbsthilfe leistet »Menschen für Menschen« aber auch immer wieder Soforthilfe, um in Dürrezeiten wenigstens einen Teil
der geschätzten 16 Millionen vom Hungertod bedrohten Menschen zu retten.
A German reader has provided a translation of the above German article describing the charitable activities of the choir: ENTRANCES FOR THE BENEFIT OF SICK CHILDREN AND THE ORGANIZATION "MENSCHEN FÜR MENSCHEN"- BOYS CHOIR Cantate Domino AT TWO CONCERTS IN EAST BELGIUM
Eupen-St. Vith: At the following month the world famous Boys Choir Cantate Domino of Aalster will concert two times in East Belgium. The earned money at the concert will be
given to one part the Organization "Menschen für Menschen" that help to make
better the situation of the people in Ethiopia. To the other part to very sick
children of the German speaking community.
Cantate Domino that exists at the Sint Marteen institute for more than 40 years
now, isn't just a school choir today. As the years passed by the choir has,
under the conduction of Michaël Ghijs become world famous.
Many times, the young singers have been invited to the Vatican and the master
works of religous choir music sung by them enjoyed Asian, American, Australian,
African and last but not least European music lovers.
There's nearly no country where Cantate Domino hasn't concerted. The Entrance of
them two years before at the church St Nicholas at the "Tag der Musik" left a
impressed and deeply moved audience.
At the 4th of April they will again visit East Belgium. At 15 p.m. they concert
at the church at St. Vith and at 19 p.m. they can be heard at the church St
Nicholas at Eupen. They sing a mass in G minor a by Ralph Vaughan Williams and
the opus 37 from "All Night Vigil" by Sergei Rachmaninov. Remarkably, the choir
will concert without wanting money. That's why the Entrance to the concerts, to
whose realisation the town councelor of Eupen, Gert Völl worked on, are for free
but the visitors of the concert are demanded to pay as much money as they like.
One part of the sum will be given to sick children of the German speaking
community. These children are ailled by difficult physical or psychical
sickness. Two pediatrics are going to give the money to the families of the
children, that need them most.
Besides, the organization "Menschen für Menschen" that was founded in 1981 by
the actor Karl-Heinz Böhm, is supported as well. It tries to make the situation
of Ethiopian people better. Their main aim is it, most of all, to make the
people independent of external help through long term projects. For example,
they built hospitals, bore wells and watering systems, educate the farmers in
efficient rearing methods and replant trees to fight erosion.
90 per cent of the 500 members of the organization in Ethiopia are people that
live in the country. Besides these "help for selfhelp" the organization does
again and again provide help that helps at once, to save a small part of the
estimated 16 Million people from starving, when there is a drought.
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