Even though I travel extensively around the world, this is my first visit to Belgium and City of Brussels. First impression? Very proud city (heritage and of course being the de facto capital of European Union) but the people are very nice and friendly, excellent for a non-French (and Flemish) speaking tourist like me. Not surprisingly though, most people I met, thankfully, spoke good English, as Brussels is a centre of global politics.
Coming from the hot and humid Singapore, the fresh, cold crisp air when walking out the plane was a very welcoming change. Brussels has a lot of offer but let me talk about an amazing choir that was the reason I came to visit.
I had the pleasure of meeting the people of Les Petits Chanteurs du Collège Saint-Pierre and witnessed their behind the scene at their Christmas Concert on 15 December at the beautiful Abbaye de la Cambre. The cheerfulness of the men, teenagers, and the children are quite infections as their excitement to perform filled the air. Of course working with almost 50 children and teenagers are like herding cats but the teenagers do take good care of the young ones and the men provided the guidance. Well disciplined with a good measure of fun.
The very talented Chef de Choeur, Maestro Romain Verbeeren, also grew up in this choir and is leading their musicality to a new level, a very good level. He is supported by fellow singers and Choir Moms of which I had the honour of meeting Fabrice (tenor) and Choir Mom Monique, during our lunch meeting. By the way, Monique was Maestro Romain and Fabrice's teacher. That is nothing new as this choir is truly a big family and every one very close to each other. It was a great experience being included in their post-concert dinner and the closeness of the people was truly heartwarming.
Even though the choir was only established in 1950, quite young in the world of major traditional choirs, the singing was mature and well established. Most notable is the section dominated by the teenagers. They provide the men's voice but young enough not to sound like a group of adults. After all, young adults and children singers should sound like well trained young adults and children, not all like adults.
The programme was cheerful and had the full house audience on their feet at the end. Traditional to modern, well balanced and delightful. The two boy soloist, Jeremy and Florian, were great and I look forward to their maturing to an even higher level of confidence.
Thank you for having me and I look forward to meeting you again soon!
Now, a few photos of the festivities in Brussels and, of course, the food!