Just about 10 days ago, the Lewes Singers travelled to the Netherlands to give a concert in Leiden and to sing Evensong in The Hague. We had 15 singers and me conducting.


The Lokhorstkerk is tucked away in the shadow of the impressive and very large Pieterskerk. Tucked away because the Mennonites and Remonstrants were only allowed to build a church if it was almost invisible from the street – the building looks like a large house from the outside. Inside it reminded me of a Quaker meeting house.

They are very proud of their 250 year old organ and were keen for me to play it, so I included a performance of Bach: Fantasia in G major BWV 572 in the programme.

A few years ago I made friends with Freek Elbers who conducts The New Choral Singers – a choir based in The Hague, but who come to England each year to sing Evensong in English Cathedrals. In fact, I’m playing for them later this year when they visit Salisbury and Wells Cathedrals. There’s a somewhat inexplicable fashion in the Netherlands for Anglican Evensong, and The New Choral Singers robe up and do the full works every quarter in this rather impressive Roman Catholic!! church. We joined them to sing Stanford in C; Wood: Hail gladdening light; psalms and my own setting of the responses.

And I got to play my Bach again on the huge organ at the back of the church, from where I took this photo.

After Evensong both choirs retired to a pub/restaurant to cement our new relationship.

My thanks go to all the singers, and to my wife Robin for all the hard work she put into the preparation of the trip. It was a triumph and we look forward to doing something similar again soon.

The Lewes Singers will be singing Evensong in Westminster Abbey on Saturday 3 August at 5pm. Do come and join us if you like.




  1. Thanks for this, Nick. I thought I’d already to your blog, but can’t see it, but you know me and technology, perhaps I deleted it.

    I’ve played some great Dutch/Belgian organs. I visited Leiden with an RSCM group and we heard Anglican Evensong, and I’ve also played various organs in Utrecht, Haarlem, and Lisse over the last 50+ years. I believe a Leiden church has acquired a C19th English organ for restoration. There are lovely organs in the Louvain Begijnhof, if you’re ever in Belgium. Rosie & family took me with them to Holland, and we visited Kampen, which was once a thriving port on the Zuider Zee, they’ve some early music printing in their archive.

    I’ve moved to 2 Toronto Terrace, Lewes, BN7 2DU, and a living in a building site at present… I’ll make a note of Aug.3rd Westminster Abbey and hope I can come.

    Best to you & Robin
    Susan B

  2. It sounds a really interesting and enjoyable trip. I’m sure the relationship you built in the pub will bear fruit! It must have been exhilarating to play that wonderful organ.
    Well done all round!

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