News Articles

Organizer spent hours galore on five Ontario concerts

Concert tours do not just happen

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

HAMILTON, Ontario - Concerts tours by (large) Dutch choirs do not just happen. They can take several years of planning, during which time the singers not only practise a repertoire for the tour but also raise funds to pay for the journey. The ticket prices charged at the door often are heavily subsidized by the visiting choir. The Dutch immigrant public which for many of these choirs are the targetted audience, get a far greater bargain at $15 per ticket than most people realize, says concert tour organizer John VanderLaan.

Over the years, VanderLaan had arranged many concerts in the Hamilton vicinity for visiting Dutch groups as well as some with local Dutch Canadian talent. Then Westland’s Christelijk Mannenkoor asked if he would organize its entire Ontario 2000 tour. Since the choir would travel with over 100 members and bring almost as many people accompanying the singers, it also was a foregone conclusion that the number of appearances would have to be limited to larger halls and churches, the more costly locations to rent.

The 110-voice male choir visited Ontario during May for its combined holiday and concert tour. The choir filled nearly every concert location, attracting about 5,000 people in total. Using large concert halls has its own challenges, VanderLaan discovered. At one of them, compliciance with regulations forced the choir to hire the first-aid attendant on duty, a registered nurse. Additionally, a hall rental contract of nearly $4,000 stipulated that additionally 1.3 per cent of the ticket revenue to go to a professional music fund as a tax from which composers receive copyright fees.

The choir was happy to cover the daily expenses of its tour from ticket sales. But it left the singers to pay the 1,500 to 2,000 guilders per person for travel and lodging. The choir members were not the only ones to contribute to the cause. An organizer needs to be prepared to give plenty of his time if a tour will have the chance to go well. Reason the more for VanderLaan to stay with the 200-member party during the entire stay in the country.

Other 2000 concert tours:
- Alberta & BC: Millenium Choir
- BC & Washington: the Dutch Voices
- Ontario: Assen Christelijk Mannenkoor
- Florida & Georgia: Limburg choir