A Festival of Carols

Following the success of the ‘Hymnathon’ CD it was decided to record a CD of Christmas music.  This time the Choir was conducted by Martin van Bleek.

The recording encompassed well known and less well known carols, including a number of congregational carols.  Recording took place at the end of April at a church in Driehuis (which has a Walker organ from 1865) and it seemed strange to be singing this music at that time of year!

This CD was released in 1997 again on the “Jubal” label but is also no longer available.


This CD was recorded and released in 1994 and was the first collaboration between choirs in the Benelux region to record a CD together.  A ‘Hymnathon’ had been held at Holy Trinity Utrecht to raise money for the restoration of their organ and the entire ‘Hymns Ancient & Modern Revised’ was sung through in one weekend.  This generated great interest, and the church was invited to make a recording to commemorate the event.  The idea was to record lesser-known hymns which would be interesting for the public to hear.

The recording was made in a church in Tilburg and the choir was conducted by Chris Farr. The CD was released on the “Jubal” label but is unfortunately no longer available.

Let Saints on Earth

CD Cover - Let Saints on Earth

CD Cover - Let Saints on EarthThis is the latest recording from the combined choirs affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music in the Benelux region. The CD features anthems for the various seasons of the church year. The choir is conducted by Martin van Bleek and the organ accompaniments are shared between James Pollard and Patrick Hopper.



  1. Henry Ley – A Prayer of Henry VI
  2. Malcolm Archer – Creator of the Stars of Night
  3. Charles Wood – O Thou the central Orb
  4. Robin Nelson – Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
  5. Herbert Sumsion – Arise, shine
  6. W.S. Lloyd Webber – Barcarolle (organ solo)
  7. John Rutter – God be in my head
  8. Herbert Howells – O pray for the peace of Jerusalem
  9. Andrew Parnell – Oculi omnium
  10. Edward Bairstow – Lamentation
  11. Edward Bairstow – Save us, O Lord
  12. W.S. Lloyd Webber – Most glorious Lord of Lyfe
  13. Kenneth Leighton – Fanfare (organ solo)
  14. Herbert Brewer – Prevent us, O Lord
  15. Malcolm Archer – Who is this who comes
  16. Brian Kelly – Rejoice the Lord is King
  17. William Mathias – Lift up your heads, O ye gates
  18. Grayston Ives – Listen sweet dove
  19. Herbert Sumsion – Holy is the Lord God
  20. Arthur Wills – Procession (organ solo)
  21. Tertius Noble – Come, labour on
  22. William Harris – Holy is the true light
  23. Anthony Caesar – Let Saints on earth


Voice for Life

With the recent publication of the new syllabus for Bronze and Silver awards, all future N-W Europe exams will follow the same syllabus as the rest of the RSCM, available here.  We also provide some useful supporting notes for trainers and candidates,  which have kindly been provided by our colleagues from Guildford Area. Gold awards continue to be administered centrally.

On Saturday 21 May 2016 Voice for Life exams took place in St Andrew’s Church of Scotland. ‘Contact us’ for more information on future exam dates.

RSCM Awards Syllabus 

The following resources were produced to complement the previous syllabus, and may be useful when preparing for the exam:

The following links bring you to sections of the RSCM online shop which might be particularly useful during preparation:

European Cathedral Singers

ECS at Chester Cathedral - 2010

ECS is a choir comprising choristers from RSCM-affiliated churches [or individuals, who are full RSCM members] mainly from the area of Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands).   It currently has approximately 35 members.

The main focus of ECS activity is a week of Cathedral singing in the summer [usually the first week in August],  during which all choral services would be sung.  This would normally include choral Evensong daily, two or three services on Sunday and any other special services as planned and directed by the cathedral.   At these services we all wear our own choir robes, reflecting the mixed composition of the choir.  ECS also provides choral support for some special services in the Archdeaconry of NW Europe [eg ordinations], and occasionally gives concerts.

ECS at Chester Cathedral - 2010 

The choir has a core of regular participants, and other members, who join us from time to time, so new singers with the appropriate voices and skills are welcome. In line with other RSCM Cathedral singers groups in the UK, it is expected that our members will have attained [or be at a level of ability, equivalent to] the RSCM Silver Award.  Where an applicant does not yet have such a qualification, a voice and music test would normally be required.

We are a varied group in ages and nationalities and the language of the choir is English.  If you are interested in joining the ECS, please contact Martin van Bleek.

RSCM North West Europe

Welcome to the North-West Europe branch of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM).

For a list of current and upcoming events, click on the link “2017 Events” in Latest News, top right. 

The Royal School of Church Music is an ecumenical Christian charity, whose core purpose is education. It was started in 1927 and has members all over the world.
Through its educational mission the RSCM aims to encourage and inspire:

  • good use of music, above all in Christian worship;
  • the highest standards appropriate to each individual church and community, taking into account resources and circumstances;
  • a culture of learning through practice, experience and reflection, leading to the development of both skills and understanding;
  • individuals to engage in education and training in order to serve their church or community, and to fulfill the RSCM’s mission at a local level.

In North West Europe we provide support to affiliated church choirs within the Archdeaconry of North West Europe, which means Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and a part of Germany. A committee meets twice a year, and there are regular meetings with the RSCM in the UK.

We organise an annual Choral Festival, held in a different country and area in turn. The 2016 Choral Festival of the Archdeaconry of North-West Europe was held in Ghent on Saturday 4 June. This tied in with the 200th Anniversary of the Anglican Church in Ghent. Music will be from the 2015 RSCM festival book ‘Thy Kingdom Come, thy will be done’. The service was a Choral Evensong.

There is an annual workshop with a trainer from the UK, which is usually held on a day in spring or autumn. More information on dates in 2017 later.

ECS at Wells Aug 2016

The European Cathedral Singers (ECS) is a choir formed from singers of RSCM NW Europe choirs of the area. The ECS sing services for a week in an English cathedral in the summer, and occasionally for other services in our area or further afield. 

In 2016 we sang the services in Manchester Cathedral (1-3 April) and Wells Cathedral (8-14 August).

Some of the churches within our group are following the Voice for Life scheme. For all levels we now (as of Easter 2014) follow a central syllabus. For the Bronze and Silver medals we have our own examiners (up to Silver medal standard), and for Gold awards exams are organised centrally. These are available to both junior and adult singers.



Choral Festival 2009 Announced

This year’s Archdeaconry Choral Festival will be hosted by the East Netherlands Chaplaincy Church in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The Festival will take place at the Diaconessenkerk, I. Evertlaan 11 in Arnhem on Saturday 20th June at 4.30 p.m. and will be conducted by Gordon Appleton of the RSCM.

For more information, see the events page.