The HUM Choir, Oslo, Norway

Who are we?

We’d better make it clear right away: The name is derived from the Norwegian Humanistic Association, it’s not because we limit ourselves to perpetual humming. The Choir was established in 1989, initiated by the local Humanistic Association in Oslo. The statutes of the Choir state that the main goal for the Choir is to promote humanistic thinking and to provide its members with an inspiring song and music environment. Apart from one year’s leave, Per Arne Olsen has conducted the Choir from its very beginning. During the last couple of years we have established a male choir ensamble as well.

What do we do?

At the end of 1989 the HUM Choir performed first time at a non-Christian baptismal ceremony organised by the Humanistic Association in Oslo. In May 1990 the Choir participated at its first non-Christian youth confirmation ceremony. Performing at such ceremonies as these in Oslo City Hall has ever since been the backbone of the Choir’s existence. Every year the Choir performs at about 30 similar ceremonies with a total audience of about 10.000 people. The Choir also participates at a number of other cultural events where promotion of humanitarianism is considered essential.

In November 2002 the Choir staged an original theatrical musical, “Maribel”. The play was written for the Choir by Geirr Lystrup, a well-known Norwegian singer and song-writer. It describes the misfortunes of a little girl, Maribel, deprived of her whole existence by a military massacre in her village. Though the story is very real, the village is imaginary and is situated in an imaginary country. Despite its tragic theme, the play does include some hopeful and happy music, especially when depicting Maribel’s life before the massacre.
The HUM Choir sings almost any kind of music apart from religious music. The repertoire includes folk, rock, reggae, renaissance and contemporary music and whatever else the whim of the conductor might bring to our attention. The Choir organises concerts of its own, often in cooperation with well established Norwegian artists including people like Lars Klevstrand, Geirr Lystrup and Tone Hulbækmo. Over the years, the Choir has participated in a number of competitions and festivals in both Norway, Denmark, Jersey, The Czech Republic and Poland.  The Choir has also appeared on Norwegian national television.

As stated earlier, the Choir - according to its statutes - is obligated to provide its members with an environment conducive to song and music. Therefore the Choir since 1991 has organized annual weekend seminars every last weekend i August, outside Oslo. At these seminars we focus on future projects such as competitions or conserts. With professional outside instructors the members consider this event a social highlight of the year, as it strengthens the Choir and its members through social bonding and musical progress. To its members the Choir offers friendship and may even act as a substitute family for some. Choir practice take place in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and is frequently rounded off taking a pint at an adjacent pub.

Just how good are we?

The Choir has developed from a fairly non-ambitious sing-song society into what is now considered to be a reasonably presentable amateur choir. The choir acheived the following merits in international choir festivals during the last couple of years:

  • Second place inMixed Voicesclass andJenners Trophy for Best Individual Choral PieceinInternational Choir Festival of Jersey 2004
  • First place and gold medal inMixed Choirclass, and was awarded the price:"Best Musical Interpretation and performance overall" inPraga Cantat 2006.
  • Our male choir, HumMennene, made their competitional debut and won: second place and a gold medal for their performance in Prague. 
  • Third place in our class in Crakow 2011.

Written in February 2004, updated June 2007 and january 2012.

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14-16. HefKor-treff, Oslo.
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