The Royal Children’s Choir De Orgelpijpjes has a long musical life. Founded by Guido Konings in 1960, the choir has been so far an irreplaceable part of at least two generations of young singers and their families. In 2002 Katrien Konings stepped in as a choir conductor and has been the managing musical director up to now.
Initially found as a church choir, with the years De Orgelpijpjes has broaden its repertoire far beyond the traditional liturgical chants. Its repertoire now covers all genres of religious and profane choral music for equal voices. Today the choir consists of 50 singers between the ages of 7 and 18 years old and continues to attract even more younger children. Since 1999 the youngest chorists (between 4 and 6 years old) can join the preparatory choir group De Orgelijntjes.
The choir is associated with the parish church ‘Onze Lieve Vrouw van Troost’ in Heverlee (Leuven). In addition to its liturgical role, it participates in a numerous regular musical events and concert performances. It also takes part in various national and international choral competitions in Belgium and abroad. De Orgelpijpjes have not missed a single edition of the biannual European Youth Music Festival in Neerpelt, Belgium since 1974. In 2016 they obtained first prise Cum Laude and for the first time in their existence they were invited to participate in the closing laureate concert.
De Orgelpijpjes organise numerous international choir trips with live performances on a regular basis. So far they have given live concerts at various venues and also during Mass at cathedrals in Wells, Bath, Prague, Budapest, Straatsburg, Salzburg and Vienna. Besides those international music trips De Orgelpijpjes have worked with several artist for recording purposes and have also been part of television programmes. Under the guidance of Guido Konings as a conductor they have issued a CD with religious music, based on the religious themes throughout the church year. In September 2008 the publishing company Het Davidsfonds issued the book and another CD called Alle eendjes.
In 2010 De Orgelpijpjes celebrated their 50 th anniversary with the release of their third CD Boemtaderatataa! and their biographical anniversary book. They closed their anniversary year of celebrations in November with a Jubilee concert in front of an audience of more than 900 spectators.
Motivated for even more musical achievements, in March 2011 De Orgelpijpjes, participated at the Provincial Tournament in Leuven with another successful performance and scored 90%. In May 2012 the choir received the title His Majesty’s Royal Children’s Choir De Orgelpijpjes and in July they got the golden band title at the 4th International Youth Music Festival in Bratislava.
In September 2013 they took part in an open air musical event Cantaluna. During this project the choir was conducted by Olivier Thomas, opening Leuven’s 30CC cultural year. 2014 was another successful year. De Orgelpijpjes participated in the Provincial Choir competition in Leuven and also in the Neerpelt European Music Festival once again and obtained in both events excellent results. To top it all up, a couple of months after Neerpelt the choir took part in the International Choral Festival in Bozar - one of the two most important cultural centres in Brussels.
2015’s highest point was a choir trip to Northern Italy with three successful concerts there. 2016 was another year to remember! The choir participated in the Kreis und Linie-project (based on Der Zauberberg by Thomas Mann) at the city theatre in Leuven. The same year they obtained another First Prize, Cum Laude, at the EMJ in Neerpelt. To top it all off De Orgelpijpjes hosted the South African youth choir SCCC and captivated everyone with an entertaining concert at the church Onze Lieve Vrouw in Heverlee, Leuven.
2017 was yet another busy year. The choir started it with obtaining an excellent score of 91% in the Provincial Choir Competition in Leuven and ended it with three successful open-air concerts in the Czech Republic. This was followed by many more concerts in 2018 including a choir workshop in Cadzand in the Netherlands, as a preparation for the last edition of the international choir competition in Neerpelt in 2018. Later that year De Orgelpijpjes took part in a choir exchange with the German youth choir from the Singschule from Halle (Saale). In 2019 De Orgelpijpjes returned the visit in Germany. Together with the German choir they participated in a workshop and gave a concert in Halle. The trip in Germany ended with bang. The choir travelled to Wernigerode, Germany, where the International Brahmsfestival was just about to take place. De Orgelpijpjes sang a diverse program in the opening concert.
Vivre, Aimer, Partager - Trad. Middle Eastern, Laura Hawley
De klacht van een treurwilg - Kurt Bikkembergs
Üszküdárá - Tamás Daróci Bárdos
Zigeunerlied, No. 5 - Hé Zigeuner - Erika Budai
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