Prof. Van Uven

In 1919, Professor van Uven took the initiative to give students at the Agricultural academy the opportunity to make music together. The first rehearsal took place on the 16th of October in the greenhouse of cafĂ© ‘van Brummelen’. Symphonic music filled the establishment. From that day forward the company carried the name of Wageningen Student Orchestra (WSO). It was not a generally accessible orchestra but a sub-association of the student association Ceres. Many people predicted that the orchestra would not last more than three months because money was hard to find; but time would prove them wrong!

In 1925, the orchestra drafted the formal statutes needed to become the Wageningen Student Orchestra Association (WSOV). The orchestra mainly consisted of violins, violas and cellos. Double basses were a problem to find and also brass only sporadically joined the orchestra. Professor van Uven managed to alleviate this problem by filling in the blanks with piano and harmonium. On average the WSOV organised two concerts a year with three renditions each. During 1941-1945 there was a hiatus.

In Omnibus Musica…

When the Agricultural academy resumed its function in the autumn of 1945, the orchestra was also revitalised. It was strengthened by permanent positions of brass and double bass. In December of the year 1945 it was decided to found a Wageningen student choir as well. By 1947 the two were integrated into the association who’s name we still carry today: the Wageningen Student Choir and Orchestra Association (WSKOV). Both the choir and orchestra were led by professor van Uven.

In 1959 van Uven handed the reigns of the choir to Raimond Maris who introduced the a capella part of the concerts. Frits Kox took over the orchestra from van Uven by 1957 and also took over for Maris in 1959, but by 1960 both conductor positions were given to Dick Blokbergen.

In Blokbergen’s era there were many happenings in the musical world in Wageningen. The Urban School for Music was founded and the baby boom also swelled the ranks of the WSKOV to its largest ever. Much of the ceremony was dropped and the WSKOV became a completely transparant association. Another new arrival was the tradition of the Van Uven Concours that later evolved into the yearly Van Uven Festival open stage.


A fascinating world of music

In 1978 Blokbergen said farewell to the WSKOV. He was succeeded by Cees Mobach. After van Uven he is the conductor who has led the orchestra for the longest period of time. He quickly established a reputation as an enthousiastic, creative and effective leader of the choir and orchestra. During Mobach’s era the musical scene in Wageningen thrived enormously. The orchestra almost burst out of the confines of the Aula’s stage. Unfortunately, with all the reformations in education, students’ studies grows shorter and shorter and obviously the work more compressed. Because of this trend the association has a high turn-over rate even now, and it’s hard to maintain continuity.

In the Spring of 2008, after nearly twenty succesful years, Cees Mobach left the association. After a turbulent period of replacements the association settled down with Frank Adams. He quickly and deftly managed to lift it to a higher level. The style of music also changed: instead of less well known pieces the orchestra started to play larger symphonies.

Meanwhile, in the choir, Dick Blokbergen had quickly adopted a tactic of hiring repetitors to teach the choir the repertoir. When Dick Hollander took over in 1971 (after 11 years) the a capella pieces were reintroduced. Hollander directed the choir up til 1978, when Dineke Adema accepted the reigns, until 1985. From then, Ger Vos was in charge with an impressive 30 years of service until 2015, in which he managed to inspire many singers and keep choral singing a fun activity for all the young students. From mid 2015 to mid 2022 the young Latvian Krista Audere followed in his footsteps. Her conducting style was full of energy and with her enthousiasm she inspired many people in the choir. Since her farewell in 2022 conducting of the choir has been done by Dennis Broeders.