Grid Bertiau, who participated as a musician with the folklore group “Gelmel” from Schoten (Belgium) at the 61st Eurowoche 2019, reminded us of Ward de Beer, who was her teacher and enriched the Eurowoche as choral and orchestra conductor from 1962-84 and composed the Eurowhook anthem “Viva Europa …”. A music school in Antwerp gets its name: Muziekatelier Ward de Beer !!
Here is a text to him (attempting a translation from the website of Muziekatelier Ward de Beer (http: / /warddebeer.be/info/over%20ward%20de%20beer/index.html):
Who was Ward de Beer?
Of course, Ward De Beer is first and foremost the founder of our music school.
In 1960 he founded a small music school in Deurne. The number of students was at that time rather low and the school was then called Jugendmusikschule Deurne-Zuid and was renamed in 1972 in JMS Adriaan Willaert.
In 1986, a year after Ward de Beer’s death, the board decided to change that name to Ward De Beer youth music school.
In our Muziekatelier:
How did it happen that a school was named after him?
First of all Ward De Beer was a violinist and a gifted teacher. Anyone who has ever been taught by him has a vision of life, a love of simplicity in music that puts things in the right perspective, the obvious. He gave music lessons for the children of Steinerschule in Antwerp, where they called him Meneereke de Beereke.
He was not very tall, but he was so close to the children that they considered him a great friend. Everyone who knew him felt Ward was his best friend. Ward was always busy, experimenting with instrument making and violin making, his own viola, a hurdy gurdy, a few bagpipes, flutes, drums, a dulcimer, and more.
He had founded a folk dance group ‘Keere Weerom’ and played the dance only with his violin, accompanied by Jan with the tambourine.
The folk music of our tradition was in good hands with him.
He collected all sorts of almost forgotten tunes and turned them into beautiful arrangements used in many schools.
He composed all sorts of folk dances and music for the different ensemble groups he directed.
In particular, his personality made him an extraordinary person. With his tremendous musical background, he was not just a music teacher in the broadest sense of the word, but above all a complete person, a man of harmony: the patient, gracious teacher who could inspire someone without imposing himself.
It was a pleasure to see him busy accompanying a few hundred children with his violin. Then he jumped and danced like a devil out of a box.
In 1979 some teachers of the Steinerschule founded the VZW Musica Domestica with choirs and ensemble groups to promote house music. Ward joined this youth music school. He was for many years their central inspiration.
After his sudden death in 1985, the school fell to a low point because no one had reached his great personality. That’s why we named the school with great respect for this irreplaceable man and tried to keep his inspiration and mentality alive and approach him as much as possible.
Muziekatelier Ward de Beer, Antwerp)