"Royal" Breda's Mannenkoor
Founded in 1865, Breda’s Mannenkoor is one of the oldest male choirs in the Netherlands and since 1905 entitled to bear the title “Royal” (by appointment of the Queen), given by Queen Wilhelmina and in 1986 reconfirmed by Queen Beatrix.
Besides the many concerts in Breda and other Dutch cities, many concert-tours are made to Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, Italy and Lithuania.
The appointment of chief conductor Marcel Verhoeff in 1992 results in an epoch of performances of an exceptional nature.
His first notable event is the directing of the impressive liberation concert at the celebration of “Breda 50 years in freedom” in October 1994, with many authorities from the Netherlands and Poland present. Guest of honour is Crown-prince Willem-Alexander.
The next culmination is the very successful concert tour to Poland in June 2000, when the choir – on request of the Breda municipality – adds lustre to the celebration of the 1000 years ago the town of Wroclaw received town rights. Wroclaw is a sister town of Breda. Guest of honour is the Polish President Kwasniewski.
In 2002 Breda itself celebrates its 750 years anniversary. Breda’s Mannenkoor has the honour to organize and carry out a very festive and impressive “Midsummernightconcert” at the parade of the Royal Military Academy.
Also in 2002 the choir is asked – by bishop Martinus Muskens of Breda – to participate in his pilgrimage to Rome. Our primary task is to perform the Coronation Mass by Mozart during Holy Mass in Saint Peters Cathedral. The choir makes a musical happening of the meeting with the pope at his weekly public audience.
The choir qualifies itself by carrying out a number of Prom concerts at the Breda Chassé Theater, in first instance called “Night of the Proms”, later changed in “Night of the Classics”.
These concerts have a high opera content.
The long lasting successful and close co-operation with the Royal Military Academy resulted in a magni-ficent concert to conclude the 175th anniversary celebration of the Royal Military Academy in the “Grote Kerk” in Breda in November 2003 attended by the guest of honour, H.M. Queen Beatrix and many officials. The impressive “Polni Mse” (Fieldmass) by Bohuslav Martinu becomes a remarkable and historical highlight in the history of the Royal Choir.
In June 2005 the choir makes a very successful concert tour to Lithuania, with several performances in the capital of Vilnius. At the performance of the impressive Fieldmass (Polni Mse) by Bohuslav Martinu and the Coronation Mass by Mozart, Breda’s Mannenkoor is assisted by the Vilnius Mixed Choir and accompanied by the Lituanian Philharmonic State Orchestra.
In June 2005 we celebrate the centenarian anniversary of obtaining the honourable title “Royal” in 1905. On October 26th the choir carries out a acclaimed Jubilee Concert, “100 Years Royal”, at the Breda Chassé Theatre.
At least fifteen thousand visitors attend our openings concert of the New Harbour in Breda Centre on June 30, 2007. The overwhelming opening song: “Conquest of Paradise” is joined in by many present.
In September 2007 the co-operation with conductor Marcel Verhoeff comes to an end. After 15 years of intensive leading and inspiring our choir, he decides to concentrate on his job at the Don Kosack Choir Russia in Moscow and a number of other, worldwide, conducting duties.
Since the first of June 2008 Breda’s Mannenkoor has a new chief-conductor. His name is Hans de Wit and he is well known in the choir scene, because he conducts already 4 other choirs, both male, female and mixed. Under his direction our choir participates in traditional “Advent singing” in November 2008 in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
In September 2010 the choir will make a concert tour to Barcelona. We will be accompanied by a number of partners and sponsors. In Barcelona we will perform in the Cathedral, the church Santa Maria del Pi and the 100 Pillar Hall in Parc Guëll.
Conductor - Hans de Wit
Hans de Wit was born on March 2, 1960 in Willemstad, Brabant. He began his musical career in the harmony / orchestra world, where he learned to play various wind instruments. From his 9th year he attended the music school at Roosendaal where he achieved A, B and C organ diplomas cum laude, still unique in the history of this musical education. Hans also had piano lessons from the renowned pianist / conductor Jan Vermeulen.
In various competitions he became the victor. He also won the National Youth Organ Competition in Breda. After high school he studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He studied a number of subjects: the organ with Jet Dubbeldam and Ensemble Conductor / arranging Jan Eelkema (choral), Jaap Koops and Arie van Beek (orchestral conducting), Jos vd Sijde (stroking) and Bernard van Beurden (composition / arranging). In that period he did internships at the renowned Metropole Orchestra, which was conducted by Rogier van Otterloo. Moreover, he obtained the note musical therapy. Hans became best student of his year.
Already during his studies, Hans got a lot of experience as conductor ofseveral choirs as well as co-organizer and founder of several music projects.
He is regularly invited as a guest conductor, even internationally. For instance he was invited as guest conductor in recent years by the ICMF (International Church Music Festival) in Coventry (England) and Bern (Switzerland). Here he worked with the world-renowned conductor Sir David Willcocks. He has worked as conductor on numerous CD, radio and TV recordings and there are more than 500 choral and orchestral arrangements to his credit.
With his broad musical experience and enthusiasm in the world of music, the Royal Male Choir Breda is assured of a professional conductor who gets the best out of its singers.
Hans is currently also the conductor of the Men Westlands Men Choir, Westlands Ladies Choir, the small choir Invasion and the Zoetermeer Ladies Choir. With these choirs and others he has, in addition to several national concerts performed in many countries and cities including: Vienna, Bern, Prague, London, Coventry, Paris, Verona, Milan, Lake Garda, Venice, Weimar, Erfurt, Heidelberg, Toronto and environs, Brussels, Antwerp, Cologne and Barcelona.
As of June 1, 2008 Hans de Wit was appointed conductor of the Royal Male Choir Breda, officially called: het Koninklijk Breda’s Mannenkoor.
Pianist – Joep Moonen
The Dutch pianist Joep Moonen was born and raised in Utrecht but lives presently in Oosterhout. Whilst training in Zeist to become a school teacher, he played cabaret in the famous Utrecht canal cellars.
As a nine year old, he accompanied his father, in those days a well known tenor, in his operette and classical repertoire. Since he turned 14, Joep plays the organ in many churches.
Job Wilderbeek and Theo Bles were his piano teachers. He successfully concluded his studies in 1981, receiving the Dutch State Diploma for piano.
Thereafter, he studied song and choir direction at the Brabant Academy of Music. At this Academy he is from 1983 onwards the musical guide at the dance academy.
He is first choise for many choirs and solists. For instance: The Oosterheide choir, Choir Oosterhout, Chordanova, the chamber choir of Oosterhout, Annette van Hout, Wilma Bierens, Wilma Driessens, Margret Roest, Leo Geers, Henk Poort, Ernst-Daniel Smit, Lauran van Gulik and René Dijkstra. Furthermore he made many international concert tours.
Joep is since May 1990 the permanent pianist for the Westlands Ladies Choir. Furthermore he plays for many years with the Westland Mens Choir and the Shell Choir in the Hague.
As per June 2008, Joep Moonen was appointed to play the piano and/or organ at all the concerts of the Royal Mens Choir of Breda (Koninklijk Breda’s Mannenkoor). In the absence of dirgent Hans de Wit, he acts as tutor for the choir.