A commendable concert by The Fat Lady frames the award ceremony Minerva Cultuurprijs Heemsteedse Kunstkring

By Bart Jonker

Heemstede – Heemstede Kunstkring had its traditional New Year’s concert for its members and interested people on Sunday afternoon, January 15, in the Oude Kerk on Wilhelminaplein in Heemstede. The concert was musical in the hands of The Fat Lady Opera Group, who performed classical music as well as national and international chansons. In between was the presentation of the Minerva Culture Prize, which Heemsteedse Kunstkring awards to individuals or organizations who make special presentations and initiatives for Heemstede art and culture. In order to be considered for this award, recommendations are made which are reviewed by a special committee. This year was the first time that another Ungdoms Minerva cultural award was instituted.

“Appreciate art and cultural events in your own environment”
Chairman Dirk Jan van der Spoel welcomed those present in the full church and explained the programme. He was the first to invite Jacob Bron, director of Stadsschouwburg & Filmtheater Velsen, as a special guest who means a lot to Heemsteedse Kunstkring as a loyal guest. “He can tell our members everything about art and culture, he is very good at that”, began Dirk Jan van der Spoel. “The theater originated in an Oude Kerk like this”, Jacob Bron spoke to the audience. “I was asked to give a kind of pep talk about art and culture, but you don’t need to: you’re already a member of the Art Circle.” He reflected on the recent strange time of corona with lockdowns which had an impact all over the world. He mentioned trend watcher Lidewij Edelkoort, who was locked up in a South African hotel during the first lockdown. “She outlined that the corona era would completely change the world and that people would look at themselves and their lives differently,” continues Jacob. “Being forced to stay at home due to the shutdown with the catering industry closed led to us staying at home, working at home and cooking together again, embracing the forgotten vegetables and knitting and crafting at home again. So don’t travel, but appreciate the theaters and art and cultural events in your own area: this is something the lockdown has taught us,” Jacob Bron urged the Kunstkring audience present.

Varied musical palette
Then music: Opera Fat Lady took shape for, among other things, the most beautiful national and international chansons. Baritone Youngke Eurlings kept the audience on the edge of their seats with the chansons ‘Marieke’ and ‘Liefde van later’ by Jaques Brel and chansons by Boudewijn de Groot such as: ‘Testament’, ‘Jimmy’ and ‘Avond’. Classical pieces by Charles Gounod (‘Ave Maria’, meditation on Bach’s first prelude) and ‘À Chloris’ by Reynaldo Hahn were also performed, as well as music by Georges Bizet, Stef Bos and Harry Bannink. A beautifully varied musical palette.

Minerva Culture Awards
The art circle’s Minerva committee had considered the many recommendations that could qualify for the Minerva Culture Prize. She unanimously awarded the Minerva Culture Prize to the Stichting Kunstbeurs Heemstede, which was received with pride by chairman Rosita van Wingerden. She stated that the art fair runs exclusively on volunteers. The jury’s comments were also full of praise: “High quality and diverse art offer, innovative and accessible, the collaboration with the performing arts and the activities offered for children up to 12 years old.”
The youth Minerva culture award went to the Nautical Youth Association (NJV) De Haven and was presented to chairman Kelvin van Nimwegen. The Minerva committee believes that this association plays an important role in Heemstede and the surrounding area in terms of preserving and passing on the maritime heritage to younger generations and would like to draw attention to this preservation of intangible heritage.

After the concert, a pleasant reception took place in the Pauwehof.

Photo above: Rosita van Wingerden (right) receives the Minerva Cultuurprijs from Kunstkring chairman Dirk Jan van der Spoel.
Photo below: Performance by The Fat Lady Opera Group. Photographer: Bart Jonker.

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