The full name of our choir is ‘O Coro dos Amigos do Museu de Sao Bras’, which is a bit of a mouthful, but it reveals the choir´s origins, and indeed its current status. The name reflects the fact that this was a joint initiative by first maestro Walter Sulzer and the Amigos do Museu do Trajo, to add to the many cultural aspects of life promoted by the museum team, and the link remains strong. There were just five women involved as singers at the beginning, but under Walter´s guidance the choir grew to become the international grouping it is today. Numbers fluctuate, of course, as people leave and arrive in the Algarve, but we have also always maintained a solid nucleus of members who have been with the choir for years. They come from many countries: Portugal, of course, but currently also the UK, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, and Holland and there have in the past been members from places such as Canada and Japan, to name but two.

The choir focused on Baroque music to begin with, and rapidly obtained a glowing reputation for their interpretations of classical pieces. As time went on, we included traditional Portuguese songs and repertoire by modern Portuguese composers, as well as music from around the world, singing in most of the languages of the members at different times. And yes, that included a song in Japanese – we like a challenge! Talking of challenges, the choir also took on a production of Purcell's “Dido and Aeneas” in conjunction with the museum theatre group, Aperitivo, which was certainly challenging but also enormous fun.

We give regular concerts, not only in São Brás but also in and around the Algarve, and we have taken part in choral festivals too, including the Olhão Festival dos Coros in 2017. We have sung with the Loulé Ensemble de Flautas de Bisel, at the invitation of the late Francisco Rosado, and continue to work on new repertoire to add to the vast store now in our back catalogue. 

When Walter Sulzer retired in 2013, the new maestro was Francisco Brazão, who is well-known throughout the Algarve as a performer and teacher, and he continued to develop the choir's capabilities. One highlight among many was a performance in the Igreja Matriz of the “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary” by Henry Purcell, which was performed in conjunction with the Banda Filarmónica de São Brás de Alportel, a collaboration which has led to further work together. Our most recent joint venture was a performance of the Missa Brevis by Jacob de Haan.

When we learned in 2015 that we were losing Francisco Brazão to a Scottish adventure, it was felt that we couldn't be as fortunate with a third maestro after the high standard set by the first two. We were wrong. António Manuel Maria de Jesus, who had sung in the tenor section for a year, agreed to take over, bringing his many years of choral experience and vast musical knowledge, and he has been every bit as demanding, encouraging and inspiring as Walter and Francisco. Under his leadership, we have given many concerts, and to give just one example, the choir, in conjunction with the Coro da Academia de Música de Tavira, performed Vivaldi's “Gloria” in both Tavira and São Brás in 2017. 

As with so many choirs, and perhaps particularly for a classical choir, recruitment can be difficult. We are always happy to hear from prospective new members, particularly tenors and basses. Singing classical music in harmony is something everyone can enjoy, as long as you can sing in tune. Previous musical knowledge is not required. The choir uses midi files, and other ways of helping members learn new music, as not everyone can read a score, nor is this necessary. Why not give us a try? See the Contacts section of the website for details of how to get in touch.