About the choir
Cum decore was founded in 1991 by Ludvík Lukuvka at the Gymnázium F. X.
Šaldy grammar school. The choir’s history can be divided into five-year
periods. In the wonderful early 1990s, Lukuvka’s jazz musicianship and
enthusiasm inspired a bunch of students and helped to create one of the most
distinctive grammar school choirs of the time. Besides students, several
teachers sung in the choir and made it even more prominent. At the national
choral festivals in Brno, the choir would attract attention by their energy.
Perhaps that is why it never suffered from a lack of singers – around 1996,
the choir had about 60 members, which is almost unimaginable nowadays.
Ludva’s arrangements of jazz and pop songs are remembered to this day by
the majority of former members.
Around 1996, the first and legendary generation of graduates left the choir.
From 1997 on, Ludva Lukuvka tried to expand the repertoire with other styles.
This was partly a result of the clever musical direction of the Brno grammar
school choir festival. The choir kept its liveliness while gradually
incorporating a strong new generation of singers. Some of the newcomers of that
time have become distinct members of the current choir while also fulfilling
their solo ambitions.
In 2001, a student of choral conducting at the Pedagogical Faculty in Prague,
Čeněk Svoboda, took over the post of choir leader. At the same time, the
second generation of graduates from 2001 left, and for a relatively long time
the choir sought its new identity. A decrease in the number of music-loving
students and the not always wise ambitions of the young choirmaster took their
toll. It was as if the history of the choir ran parallel to our post-revolution
history. The most difficult years correspond to the time of the Opposition
Agreement and the beginning of frustrations with the political elite. In 2003 a
new, remarkable generation of singers came, and in a relatively short time the
choir matured in terms of quality. In 2005, Čeněk Svoboda was awarded a
“Junior Choirmaster” national prize for his work with the choir, and Cum
decore ended the five-year period with success at the academic competition IFAS
2006 in Pardubice, and with an anniversary concert and a CD recording.
“This is about love, this is. I’m telling you it because you know what
love is. So stop singing it like an advert for a watering can!”
In 2007, the most prominent generation of graduates left. The core of the
choir gradually fell apart and the choirmaster started relying more and more on
former members. The situation became critical and in the same year an important
reorganization in the ensemble took place. The choir was divided into two parts.
In one, a new youth choir was created around the old core, numbering around
30 university students. The new Cum decore worked on projects and presented
thematic programmes at its concerts. In the course of time, a good team was
eventually created from strong individuals. Nevertheless, as early as 2008, the
choir again competed successfully in Pardubice against other academic choirs
from all over the world. Concurrently, something like a preparatory choir kept
functioning at the school according to the previous model. Soon, the choir
settled for the nickname Fry, and in September 2008 Zuzana Kubelková, a
student of choral conducting at the J. A. Purkyně University in Ústí nad
Labem, became its new choirmaster.
Since 2007 a significant change in the choir’s repertoire has gradually
been taking shape. Cum decore has started to concentrate on early music,
performed Claudio Monteverdi’s madrigals in the programme called “Zeffiro
Torna”, motets by Johann Sebastian Bach and Heinrich Schütz, psalms by Felix
Mendelssohn and other complete works. The choir invites instrumentalists to
their concerts who specialize in the authentic interpretation of early music.
Besides early music, Cum decore occasionally performs programmes of modern music
or spirituals. The choir was greatly successful at the IFAS 2010 festival and
won first prize at Harantovské slavnosti 2011, a festival of early
music. It has been giving concerts regularly in the Liberec region and in
Germany (Görlitz, Zittau, Löbau).
“Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi:
in domum Domini ibimus.
Stantes erant pedes nostri:
in atriis tuis Ierusalem.”