Collegiate Church | XV-XVIII | Gothic | Roman Catholic Church
It was in August 1940 that Reverend Lord Van Herwegen, the rector of the Spijker, brought together a group of young men to learn and perform Gregorian chants in the quiet of the war years. They called themselves Piuskoor, after Pope Pius X, who, in a motu proprio of November 1903, had given ancient Gregorian chant back a place of honour in the liturgy. For the first few years, the choir did not commit itself to a particular church in a fixed service, but volunteered to grace the liturgy in Latin where requested. From 1 May 1954, when the rebuilt St Catherine's Church was re-occupied, the Pius Choir became a fixture in Hoogstraten's parochial celebrations. It remained a men's choir. To still be able to sing in four voices, the Pius Choir teamed up with the Youth Choir at the inauguration of the new organ in 1961. The Council was followed by the introduction of the vernacular into the liturgy, and a women's choir was formed to accompany the Saturday evening mass, building up a repertoire in the vernacular. The small step that still needed to be taken to make these two choirs one was quickly taken and since then people in Hoogstraten speak of the Mixed Pius Choir. Currently, the choir consists of 31 women and 14 men. Since May 2015, the Piuskoor has been led by Kaat Vissenberg, an enthusiastic and driven conductor who has led the choir to further heights, expertly assisted by pianist Olivier Thienpont.