A brief historical view

Vereinigter Männerchor 1820 Willich e.V. 


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On 1 November 1820, Asssistant Teacher Johann Peter Nesseler opened a Sunday School Choir in Willich consisting of 20 young people.  Willich had then 2,400 inhabitants.  Although the long war years had not gone by without leaving a trace, the economic situation gradually improved mainly due to the potatoe crops and the making of brandy so that the volunteer Sunday School Choir found appeal by the populace.  They sang mostly folk and church songs.

Market square and Willich's old parish church
Text and music were copied and so-called "numerical notes", written to help unversed singers  in  musical affairs, were a rarity.

The Choir felt their chief duty was to beautify the church service through their singing.  The choir became a regular Church Choir.  The first big concert with Ball afterwards occurred already in 1822.  Probably the Choir had already become a pure Male Choir (MGV) at this time.

An illustration for so-called "numerical notes"
In 1858 the Choir acquired the flag that they still have today.

Changing times hindered further development.  After the wars and the clashes of culture in Germany, things started to get better from around 1880.  In addition to their appointment as a Church Choir, concerts were given, singing competitions were visited and also organised in their own right; a great importance was also given to dramatics. 

The flag of the old Male Voice Church Choir
The 1914 World War and the following years of inflation ended this positive development; however, the Choir recovered later.  In 1928 there were again 55 singers.

From 1933 onwards, the Male Voice Choir Society, which was also at the same time the Church Choir, met significant handicaps and constraints due to the National Socialist Party.  Membership fell dramatically and only through great effort could the Society be saved from breaking up. The Second World War and its consequences depleted the membership even further.  After a division of the Choir (1947) into a secular and a (mixed) Church Choir, the Male Voice Choir Society could only exist further through the merger with the “Willicher Männerquartett” (Willich Male Quartet).

MGV 1880
The "Male Voice Choir" around the year 1880
This association, that alongside choral singing, mainly dedicates itself to dramatics and especially Carnival, was founded in 1907 and had experienced a similar development as MGV.  War and recession had also brought this Choir to the brink of ruin.  Through the merger of both these choirs in 1954/55, the United Male Choir was born.  The singers were again in the position to successfully cope with concerts and other performances.  Not only the membership rose slowly but surely, but also the standard of the Choir.

WMQ um 1920
The "Willich Male Quartet" in the 1920's
In 1970, the 150th anniversary of the foundation was celebrated in a week long festival, in 1995, a proud 175 years had been achieved.

From the seventies on, at certain intervals, concerts were taken abroad; to the neighbouring countries of Netherlands, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Spain and lastly in 2002 to the Czech Republic.

A concert is regularly on the programme each year, a cultural event of note in Willich, to which the VMC has welcomed many big orchestras, soloists and well known choirs from home and abroad.

Also festivals and celebrations are not ignored:  the more than 150 year old “Wurtsmontag” (Sausage Monday) Foundation celebration (called this because on this evening a pig is eaten which has been processed into sausages) is an annual success.  It is never boring in the Choir thanks to the Colourful Carnival Sessions, theatre performances, concerts and other events which occur.

At this time there are about 45 active singers in the VMC 1820 Willich e.V.  Chairman is Michael Maaßen, the Choir Master is Daniel Schaaf.  Joachim Kothen has taken over as assistant Conductor on behalf of the Choir Master for serenades and similar occasions.

Weihnachtskonzert 2000
The choir's Christmas Concert in 2000