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Mar 27, 2012

'The Staar' Renews Itself in Order to Survive

'The Mastreechter Staar' Renews Itself in Order to Survive
TRANSITION of subtle changes and new trends in Maastricht's Royal Men's Choir by Vikkie Bartholomew 
No looking back during their new direction, but subtle changes and new adjustments are in order. Out of sheer necessity to survive, the Mastreechter Staar is in transition. In order to secure the continuance of the male choral choir, a novation is required. We had mixed feelings about that. When André Rieu in his 2008 performance on the Vrijthof required more panache of the static stage presence of the 150 singers of a rather stiff Mastreechter Staar, it caused some grumbling here and there. Comments like: "I am not going to swing on stage, while singing "When I'm Sixty-Four?" When the singers had jump up and down like kangaroos during the Kangaroo Song, that for many was arguably really over the top. "You do not need to become a caricature of yourself. 
But, fair is fair; they learned something. André Rieu released something in the singers. The Staar can do other things in addition to just being "listened to" as a famous choir with that bronze sound. That was apparent during the presentation for the bid for Maastricht to become the Cultural Capital of 2018, when the Staar sang a whisper composition and a swinging song with drama student Merhnoush Rahmani.
"The Staar can also do other things", explains Jean Jacobs. Since 2010 he has been the President of the Royal Mastreechter Staar Choir and his mission is to secure the choir's future. It may sound harsh, but if the choir continues on it's current trend, "in a few years we will be singing only at each other's funerals." The office of "Flycatcher" has investigated the vitality of the choir. The number of singing members remains relatively stable at 150, but the average age is rising alarmingly fast and is now up to 65. It is not a secret that younger members are necessary for it's survival. But how do you make an institution such as the Staar appealing to newcomers? By regularly conducting beautiful concert tours is one example. Jacobs wants to go to Malta, which in 2018 could also become the cultural capital. 
It may sound strange, but Jacobs has more discipline for the Staar in mind. Not that we really should have formal 'drills', but take a look at the Maastricht Explorer Band, they are so popular that they even have a waiting list for new members. "A feeling of striving towards a common goal, together with a super performance, that builds cohesiveness." There also has to be comradery, a good club live, and the Staar must really feel like a warm nest. That is only possible if there are accommodations that are well suited. Rehearsing in between the monkey bars and slides of the indoor playground of the "Awwe Stiene" remains peculiar.
But the rehearsing schedule is flexible. To rehearse twice a week is for many young people with jobs, family and social life, often too much. A rehearsal may be missed, providing that there is practice at home. The scores and MP3's are Internet accessible to the members. But a more open culture is expected. The Mastreechter Staar should be more open to co operations. Contact has been made with Mignon from Geleen, the Maastricht University Choir, and there are talks with the Men's Choir "Borgharen." Jacobs: "Organizational rivalries which do exists, need to disappear. It's all about only one thing: men's Choir singing.
"In the mean time, the Staar wants to maintain it's current ambition: "Choir singing that borders on a professional level". On a contractual note, the Staar, for example, has to perform every concert with at least 120 singers on stage. Each year the choir performs twenty to thirty concerts throughout the country. Jacobs: "We would like to book a lot more concerts, but we are unable." Renewal and rejuvenation of the Staar is a hefty ambition. Soon the choir will start with mini concerts, small performances to make the new singers more excited. New members will later definitely perform more in the region, because this too should improve the vitality of the choir. "Let's be honest. The Mastreechter Staar is world famous. The Mastreechter Staar recently gave a presentation in the Theater on the Vrijthof in connection with the bid for Cultural Capital of 2018.

Thanks to John for Translating this and Ineke for sending it in

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lol, are you reading this, Andre??? :-P
I am only kidding of course. Good for them I suppose, I only know the Staar from the Andre things, and I am from the same city as them, hahaha.
Good luck to them, and once again good luck to Andre.
Kerry.

brigitte said...

je les ai découvert grace à Andre RIEU et cette"conquete du Paradis"fut un évenement mythique et je sais q"Andre Rieu les invite à nouveauMERCI
Chaque concert permet une découverte:Benny NEYMAN,hélas disparu prématurément,V LEANDROS,D agmar etc
UnCADEAU DE PLUS

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

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Maastricht 2012 ~ "André and Pierre on The Theater Steps" by Bee

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