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The Long Night of Singing: A Retrospective

The first major festival of song at the Elbphilharmonie in retrospect – with 34 of Hamburg’s choirs

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At the »Long Night of Singing« 34 of Hamburg’s amateur choirs filled every corner of the Elbphilharmonie with their voices on 1 July 2017. A varied vocal programme could be heard on no less than six stages. With a repertoire that ranged from pop, classical and sacred music to jazz and hearty shanties, the local singers not only entertained audiences of all ages but also encouraged them to sing along until late into the night.

Whilst the first part of the »Long Night of Singing« occurred from 18:00–21:00 on five different stages throughout the building and on the forecourt, the event moved on to the heart of the Elbphilharmonie from 21:00: the Grand Hall. The absolute highlight of the day was when all the choirs – and the audience too – joined together in song. Before the evening got underway, the participating choirs were led by the British vocal ensemble Voces8 through a collective warm-up.

Big Dress Rehearsal

Warm-Up / Long Night of Singing

Portraits of Selected Choirs

HHLA Shanty Choir

The oldest (and strikingly male) group to perform on this evening was the HHLA Shanty Choir, originally founded by Hamburg dock workers in the early 1980s. The »Jungs vun de Logerhus« not only shared their tradecraft but also their love of sea shanties and their home city of Hamburg.


The Cantaloop Choir is made up of around 50 enthusiastic singers who feel right at home between the two pillars of »choir« and »a cappella ensemble«. They have been active since spring 2009, giving polished vocal performances of well-known and underrated pop songs with their unmistakeable sound.

Medical Voices

They don’t just sing for themselves but also for their patients: the Medical Voices Choir is made up mostly of staff from the Boberg Accident and Emergency Hospital. Originally formed from a gospel workshop, the hundred avid singers, currently under Sören Schröder’s leadership, have been sharing their love of gospel, rock and pop music with their patients since 2011. They also seek to promote early musical education in kindergartens and organise concert visits for the elderly.

Chorus Virus Wahnsinn

»Everyone is different, but in a way that makes us a united team.« The Lebenshilfe Hamburg choir led by Swantje Paulus allows everyone to be – and to sing – as they are.