Episode 23: The Mastreechter Staar and Staargebouw

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Music has always been a big part of Maastricht life and this week we are talking about two contributors to the Maastricht sound! You guessed it, for this episode we’re talking about both the men’s choir The Mastreechter Staar and their old digs, the Staargebouw.

The two photographs above show the original Staargebouw building. On the left is a photograph of the laying of the first stone, laid by the oldest daughter of conductor Peter Gielen in 1906 ( (c) RHCL). The second photograph (right) shows the art nouveau facade of the building in c. 1926 – 1930 ( (c) RHCL).

Above is the picture postcard put out by the Mastreechter Staar choir in 1903 after their successful performances in Liege ( (c) RHCL).

The first image above (top left) shows a vocal quartet which was part of the Mastreechter Staar, made up of (left to right) D. Janssen (bass), Jos Morreau (baritone), G, Dexter (second tenor) and Th. Bury (first tenor) (c. 1900 – 1915, (c) RHCL). The second photograph (top right) shows the board of the Mastreechter Staar in 1930 including conductor Peter Gielen (second from the right) and Mayor LBJ van Oppen (centre), ( (c) RHCL).

In the third picture (bottom left) we can see a posed photograph of conductor Peter Gielen (right) and Praeses JH van Poppel standing in the middle in c. 1893 – 1995 ( (c) RHCL). The fourth photograph (bottom right) shows the exterior of the Staargebouw in 1953, not long before the demolished and rebuilt ( (c) RHCL).

The Staargebouw provided a venue for many people and events throughout the twentieth century. Top left we can see a cook with some of his fare for the Saint Cecelia festival which included an abundance of pea soup (1950, (c) RHCL). Top right are all the participants of the Saint Cecelia festival enjoying that fare (1950 (c) RHCL)!

The third photograph (bottom left) shows many people enjoying a Carnival in the Staargebouw organised by the Mastreechter Staar in 1959 ( (c) RHCL). The fourth photo (bottom right) shows a different group – pipe smokers! This photograph shows a pipe smoking competition in the foyer of the Staargebouw in 1958 ( (c) RHCL).

The first image above (top left) shows a fashion show organised by the V&D in the Staargebouw in c. 1960 – 1965 ( (c) RHCL). The second photograph (top right) shows the appointment of American President HS Truman as an honorary member of the Mastreechter Staar in 1947 ( (c) RHCL). In the photograph this is being offered to the President on behalf of the board by ambassador Eelco N. van Kleffens. Colonel Edward A. Gould of San Bernardino and Frank Jamin, a student at Johns Hopkins College in Baltimore, Maryland are also pictured.

Below (bottom left) is a photograph of war victims from the ‘Blue Village’ who were temporarily housed in the Staargebouw in 1942 ( (c) RHCL). In the fourth photograph (bottom right) we can see that during Nazi occupation of Maastricht, a concert was held in the Staargebouw with performances by the Maastricht Symphony Orchestra to raise money for ‘Winterhulp’ in 1943 ( (c) RHCL).

The first image above shows many of the albums released by the Mastreechter Staar over the years ( (c) Mastreechter Staar). Below is a photograph of the choir singing for Queen Juliana Queen Juliana, patron of the choir, who was in Maastricht for a short while after visiting the eastern mining region in 1978 ( (c) RHCL).

Above left is the modern building which now stands where the foyer of the Staargebouw used to be, this photograph was taken in c. 2000 – 2005 ( (c) RHCL). The second photograph above (right) shows a plaque and promotional poster for the Mastreechter Staar choir on the exterior of the Augustinian church in Maastricht (2020, (c) K Marshall).

Above are some modern photographs of the choir, the top from a Boxing Day concert in 2013, the bottom from a performance during the Parcours festival in September 2013 (both (c) Vincent van den Bergh).

The first audio clip used in this episode of the podcast is from the video above, a performance by the Mestreechter Staar with soloist Frans Bemelmans, which took place in the Sint Servaas Basilica in 2012 ( (c)
Vincent van den Bergh on YouTube).

The second audio clip used in the episode was from a virtual performance put together by the choir during the 2020 pandemic, seen here ( (c)
Marcel Meertens on YouTube).

For more information about the Mastreechter Staar, make sure to visit their website and follow them on Facebook for updates.

You can also find more information (in Dutch) on the Staargebouw page of the Mestreechter Steerke website.

As always, if you have something you have always wanted to know about Maastricht or wanted to ask a local, please contact us through social media or our website and we will do our best to answer your questions in future episodes!