Some background information about the Dutch male choir ,,Urker Zangers”

An all male choir from the former island Urk, started in 1968.

The male choir ,,Urker Zangers” (translated: Urker Singers) was founded on the 10th of February 1968. A national well-known conductor from the hometown, Frits Bode (1926-1990), became the first musical leader, and his friend and organist Klaas Jan Mulder (1930-2008) was the first accompanist. In a very short time the choir counted about forty members. They preferred a wide varied singing repertoire that agreed entirely with the objectives of Frits Bode. In no time at all the choir sang a mixed program of Gospels, spirituals, hymns, traditional and classical music. The members, the conductor and the repertoire worked very well together. It ensured a further growth of the choir. The choir’s reputation increased throughout the Netherlands. In March 1969 the first recorded album appeared. 

Ever since 1970 the number of concerts the ,,Urker Zangers” gave became quite impressive, as well as the events on radio and television. A special television film was made by the Dutch television (N.C.R.V.) with the title: “The Urker Zangers singing about the sea”. A number of albums were released with good response. An album was recorded to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the choir, in cooperation with the ‘Dutch Radio Orchestra’. This album with descriptions about the songs and orchestra by Jef Penders can be called an absolute highlight. Meanwhile the choir also enjoyed international reputation. In 1976, the choir made a concert tour to Germany. There was a concert request from South Africa, but the members preferred two concert tours to the United States of America, in 1979 and 1982. The Dutch television (E.O.) made a documentary of this tour for broadcasting. In 1988 a concert tour to Denmark followed. Then in June of 1990, this passionate and successful team was abrupt ended by the sudden death of the conductor Frits Bode.

In 1991 the musician and producer Roelof Elsinga (1945) was appointed to become the new conductor. He understood the music the ,,Urker Zangers” liked to portray so with this and his own style the choir flourished. Under the guidance of Roelof Elsinga the first compact discs were made, including one which was a live recording of a 30th year anniversary concert in Urk in 1998. The permanent accompanist those days was Johan Bredewout. The choir made concert tours to Denmark (1994) and Germany (1998), and also gave a lot of other concerts. 

Since 2000 Jacob Schenk (1973) has been and still is the conductor of the ,,Urker Zangers”. He is a multiple talented musician. Besides conductor he is an organist and a pianist, an excellent singer and a superb panflutist. This talent forms an ideal combination with the multi-purpose of the male voices choir. Under his control the choir has recorded four albums. The ,,Urker Zangers” under the guidance of Jacob Schenk, are becoming a varied, enthusiastic spontaneous choir, with powerful male voices. In 2008 the 40th year anniversary was celebrated. The choir recorded a CD/DVD about the past 40 beautiful years. The CD contains selections from the rich repertoire, the DVD has become a splendid documentary, where founders and members of the first hour share their fine experiences with the viewers.