QHarmony was founded in September 1997. The orchestra is therefore really young for a music association, but in a student orchestra a lot can happen within a short time. We already have a lot of old members, and of all the members of QHarmony during her third anniversary, only one was member when QHarmony was founded. By now the biggest student orchestra of Nijmegen has already celebrated her twentieth birthday, in study year 2017-2018!
In July 1997 Jan Medendorp, employee in the board building, and Pieter Nollet, dentistry student, came up with the idea to create a university wind orchestra. During the orientation week they enthusiastically acquired new members, with the result that 60 musicians showed up to the first rehearsal! The orchestra was led by Jos de Kleijn and rehearsed in the student church at the Professor van Weliestraat. The working name QHarmony (derived from KU-harmonie, related to the Catholic University Nijmegen) was accepted as the official name after a few months, even though both the university and municipality preferred the more general ‘Keizer Karel Harmonie’. This because HAN-students and hospital personnel were also welcome.
In February 1998 the first concert took place. The Gelderlander wrote about this concert:
Not every wind orchestra can boast its own Internet page. QHarmony, the youngest member of the university ensemble-tree of Nijmegen, has one. […] A nice advertisement for this starting orchestra. Noticeable is the size of it: approximately fifty members, of which thirty staff members. […] The orchestra has proven that technical challenges can lead to optimal results.
During the second season the rehearsals were moved to Community centre Titus Brandsma, which had the great advantage that people could get a drink after rehearsal. A few committees were founded who could take care of music choice, organisation of concerts, publishing of the club magazine Titus (named after the rehearsal space) and the organisation of activities.
In 1999 a few exchange concerts took place with student wind orchestras of Leuven, Eindhoven and Enschede, and in 2000 the first QWeekend was organised. Ever since the QWeekend is a yearly highlight! When Albert van der Heide became conductor the orchestra took a musical step forwards. Noticeable was that, under his supervision, within one season approximately twice as much repertoire reached the music stands.
2001 and 2002 were challening both financially and with number of members. Many of the musicians who became members when the orchestra was founded were now done with their studies. In July 2002 the number of members had descended to 38, which had the results that some sections were heavily understaffed. Luckily we quickly acquired more members and starting from 2003 the orchestra has existed of 50 to 70 musicians, of which 80 to 90 percent are students. In October 2004 the orchestra moved her rehearsal location to the Gymnasion, central on campus. Financially these years have also been better, among other things due to the Friends fund and the foundation of the QEnsemble in 2003 (in 2005 renamed as QLite).
In 2006 an anniversary committee started the organisation of the tenth birthday, or the second anniversary, of QHarmony in 2007-2008. The hard work had the result that the orchestra gave a big concert that year in the Theatre of Nijmegen, created an anniversary book, organised a reunion day and had a fantastic concert tour abroad.
Since April 2009 QHarmony was led by conductor Maron Teerds. Maron has led the orchestra to many highlights in the year 2009-2010. In November 2009 an exchange concert took place with Philharmonie Gelre. Additionally the concert in Wijchen in January 2010, where the orchestra was invided by Musiekkring Wijchen, was a great success. During the two concerts in April, named ‘Theatre Night: The QExperience’, the orchestra brought 800 people an amazing night filled with movie and musical music, with the help from the singers of 4more and the presentation of comedian Cristian Pielich. In 2009 QHarmony also had her first jubilees: Jan Bemelmans and Henk Bongaarts. Jan and Henk were honored because of their 12,5 year membership of the association.
In October 2011 an exchange concert was given with MajEUR, the student orchestra of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. A few months later, on a cold, harsh, snowy day, QHarmony travelled to the east of the country to give a concert with SHOT. The usual activities also continued, including several performances of QLite (of which a performance at the Zevenheuvelenloop and the christmas breakfast of the university). During the Mariken Winterfeasts QLite played on a freezing evening for the good cause. The proceeds from the day were donated to Serious Request, of radio station 3FM. Concerts with Percussion group Neerbosch-Oost and Symphonic Wind orchestra Nijmegen followed.
The highlight of 2012-2013 was the concert trip to Budapest in July-August 2012. The concert trip committee organised an amazing week for the entire orchestra. More than 50 musicians travelled to the far away Hungary, where we gave several beautiful concerts. The locations were also very special and varied, from beautiful churches to tour boats and a real Sissi castle. Additionally the various cozy terraces, inner gardens and backpack-cafes were visited. It was a week worth remembering.
In 2012-2013 there was again reason for a party: QHarmony could blow out fifteen birthday candles on the cake! A driven anniversary committee was formed, which organised a beautiful year. A reunion day for all members and previous members, a reunion concert, an open anniversary party and as cherry on top the anniversary concert in June 2013. The Nijmeegse Schouwburg was set on its edge by QHarmony and the dancers of Flex Dansstudio. The audience was very enthusiastic and the orchestra can be proud of its performance.
In the year 2013-2014 a lot was organised. In November 2013 QHarmony again gave a concert with SHOT. This time in the home haven of QHarmony: Nijmegen. The concert took place in Community Centre Dukenburg, which was filled with an audience. Additionally in 2014 a few concerts took place: a concert in cooperation with coverband Thunk!, the yearly NMF-concert and the concert trip to Prague, in July – August 2014! In 2014 QHarmony got her first honourary member: Jeroen Zaal. Jeroen has given QHarmony more than 100% of his efforts during his 10 years of membership; as member, committee member and boardmember. Jeroen is with right the first honourary member of QHarmony!
Club year 2014-2015 started as turbulent year. Not only did QHarmony say goodbye to her conductor Maron Teerds, but the after effects of the concert trip were also felt. During the trip to Prague five instruments were stolen from the touringcar of QHarmony. As soon as we come home it was immediately decided to found a Benefit committee, which would organise a Benefit evening. This committee also started with raising attention for the theft, which among other things led to an article in De Gelderlander.
NIJMEGEN – During a tour through Czech Republic at the start of last month 5 instruments of members of student orchestra QHarmony from Nijmegen were stolen. The damage is over ten thousand euros. Because the stolen instruments will not be replaced by the insurance company, there will be a benefit concert and auction in the Aula of the Radboud University on October 17th 2014.
The benefit evening took place on October 17th 2014 and was a great success. The damage of €20.000,- could not entirely be compensated, but with all the financial activities and support almost a quarter of the damage amount was raised. In the year 2014-2015 Jan Nellestijn helped QHarmony give a few beautiful concerts. One of these concerts was on a very special location, namely on the square of the train station of Nijmegen during NMF. Additionally plans were made for a concert trip in 2015-2016, so we can keep the tradition!
The number of members of QHarmony rose to an unprecedented height in study year 2015-2016. The orchestra grew to more than 75 musicians. With this group many amazing concerts were organised, both in the area of Nijmegen as outside of this area, including in de Vereeniging and in cooperation with the student court dance association. The QWeekend of this year, with the theme ‘High School Stereotypes’ drew a great audience. Both boards managed to proffesionalize the orchestra during this period. QLite was rearranged and NSK TeQuila found new ways to perform, for example in the form of a saxophone ensemble. The year was ended with a concert trip to Germany, during which the cities of Leipzig and Berlin were visited. Here concerts were given in the ‘Oude Beursgebouw’ and the Botanic Gardens. Both were enthusiastically received by the German audience. Additionally many money was raised by a spontaniously founded brass band, which filled Potsdam with energetic Egerländer usic.
In study year 2016-2017 QHarmony began the year with a special exchangeconcert,. Together with sister associations from Enschede (SHOT) and Wageningen (de Ontzetting) a ‘Roadtrip’ concert was held in Theatre Junushoff, with which the orchestra was taken on a trip around the world by the three orchestras. Additionally QHarmony was this year both the good cause of Jan Linders and Specsavers Nijmegen. Additionally this year a concert was given in a sold out theatre ‘het Badhuis’, and the year was ended with a performance with Philharmonie Gelre in the Boskapel. This year preparations were also made for the coming anniversary year!
During our anniversary in 2017-2018 we went over our existence: from baby until an adult of 20 years old. The year started off great with our own baby shower: with “beschuit met muisjes” and children’s champagne we welcomed old and twenty new members to our first rehearsal after the holiday. After our kid party to welcome the new members we ended our youth with a sold out movie concert in LUX.
After the bustle of the fourth anniversary it became a bit quieter for QHarmony, but that does not mean that we have done nothing! During study year 2018-2019 we gave several beautiful concerts. A few in cooperation with other orchestras (Philharmonie Gelre, Psalm 150 and Quadrivium Eindhoven). The highlight this year was without a doubt the fairytale concert. With a self written fairytale we enchanted a sold out room with the beautiful sounds of the wind music and a magical story. This gave so much energy that 2 concerts followed in the sunny blue skies. With a new site and a new corporate identity the board managed to modernise the association.
The academic year 2019-2020 started again with a great collaboration with the student wind orchestra from Twente (SHOT). That was also the last concert conducted by Jan Nellestijn. As an association we can look back on 6 beautiful years with many musical highlights. Due to corona, we unfortunately also had to sit still for a number of months. But at the end of the year we still had some nice rehearsals in the open air with interim conductor Julio Domingo.