Jens Junker has a lot going on. He’s the violinist in the Munich band Schicksalcombo, he’s a director, the choirmaster in the wonderful Münchner Kneipenchor (Munich’s first pub choir), and, alongside Ian Chapman, his bandmate in Schicksalcombo, he recently founded Go Sing Choir.
Back in August 2016, Jens was asked to join the Münchner Kneipenchoir as choirmaster. Founded by Mona Walch and Lisa Reuter three years ago, the pub choir is a riot, and if you haven’t been to one of their performances, do try to catch them soon (they’re going on tour with Gurdan Thomas in the UK in July). Their passion for singing (and enjoying a beer while singing) is infectious.
The pub choir is such a hit that the group is now made up of fifty young singers, and the waiting list to join grows ever longer. And thus, Go Sing Choir was born, with the aim of making a choir available to everyone who enjoys a good sing-a-long – no ties, no weekly practice – just a bunch of singers meeting once a month to sing as a group.
Go Sing Choir’s first performance was in Milla, a month ago. Milla is the perfect venue for such an event – the club’s natural slope (it’s on the site of a former brook) means that all participants have a great view of the stage – and as such, the choirmaster and the guitarist.
Ian Chapman has been providing musical arrangements for the Kneipenchor for the past year, and his fun, laid-back approach serves to motivate the singers and provides a fantastic musical basis for the songs.
The first event was a huge success. Within ninety minutes, the choir had mastered Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good.
Despite drawing such a crowd, Jens says that each new event fills him with anticipation: “You never know how many people will show up, how they can sing, and how the final arrangement will sound. We don’t use sheet music, we learn the songs by heart – of course it works better if people have listened to the song a few times first, but it’s a work in progress when the choir gets underway.
“The first time we got going and the first few chords were down, we weren’t the only ones with goosebumps. It was incredible the way everyone sang with such joy and energy. When I watch the final recording, I still can’t believe that that was the result of just one and a half hours work.”
The next Go Sing Choir is happening this coming Sunday, and this time, the choir will sing Pixies Where Is My Mind? – check out Milla’s website for further information. I’ll be there (I can’t sing a note), and if you’re thinking of going but can’t speak much German, it doesn’t matter a jot – Ian’s British (a Brummie), Jens and Ian speak English to one another, and a lot of the directions can be picked up non-verbally.
As a side note, Jens told me it doesn’t matter too much if your singing’s not up to much: “We notice something of a mass phenomenon when singing as part of a group – people bounce off one another and improve”.
See you there?