The West Michigan Horn Choir is an ensemble of French horn enthusiasts from around the West Michigan area (primarily Holland, Grand Rapids, Muskegon). The group had been dormant for several year. Usually 12-30 members will perform at each event. The members are both professionals and amateurs, along with students from area colleges and youth symphonies, and even occasional guest performers who are visiting the area (New York Philharmonic French hornist L. William Kuyper - a native of Holland - has appeared twice!
The group got its start in 1992 when a group of 10 friends and students of Thom Working (retired French horn instructor at Hope College) got together to play some French horn ensemble music for a local church service. It was a successful event, and became an annual performance, with 24 horns playing the second year, and 32 horns the third year. By that time the group had acquired a name, a library of horn ensemble music and a reputation for producing the glorious sound of the French horn in larger ensembles.
By the third year, the group was performing several times ayear, including regular concerts, and outdoor performances at the annual June "Festival" in Grand Rapids, and in the summer of '96 provided the Star Spangled Banner for a White Caps Baseball game in Grand Rapids. The goal of the West Michigan Horn Choir is to provide opportunities for its members to perform a variety of French horn ensemble music (including classical, pop, jazz and marches) for their own enjoyment and satisfaction as well as that of their audiences.
Allen Beck, French horn enthusiast is the co-ordinator of the group, with assistance from Thom Working and Tucker Supplee, retired first French horn with the West Michigan Symphony. Membership is open to all qualified French hornists, and all members volunteer their services. An honorarium is usually requested to cover costs of music and administrative costs (postage, phone, etc). For information on the engaging the West Michigan Horn Choir, contact: Allen Beck (231)557-4067 (email:firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tucker Supplee - Muskegon - (616) 773-6653 or 1(800)692-3210
The West Michigan Horn Choir disbanded after about 11-12 years. The largest number of players was on March 12, 1995, when there were 36 horns (including Bill Kuyper) playing at Christ Memorial Church in Holland. The number of players at each performance ranged from 12-36, with an average of about 20. The group generally performed 4-5 times per year, with the largest number of performances in the year 95-96, when they performed 10 times (including two of the members' weddings, the Grand Rapids Festival & a Whitecaps game.) In January 2004 a number of the members of the group performed in a concert with Thomas Bacon at Hope College.