A choral celebrationCopy Dog Editorial Enterprises CC
Classical Notes by William Charlton-Perkins: While South Africans forge ahead in the Gold League stakes in London, next week offers music-lovers in Durban and surrounds a golden opportunity to celebrate the recent triumphs of one of our most illustrious musical institutions.
Fresh from wowing audiences recently at the United Nations in New York City, and going on to win two Gold Medals and Championship status in Folklore at the World Choir Games in Ohio, KZN’s internationally acclaimed Kearsney College Choir will appear live in concert in the Durban City Hall on Tuesday at the invitation of the Mayor of Durban, Cllr James Nxumalo.
The choir will perform an exciting programme of their widely admired, eclectic repertoire, under the baton of Bernard Kruger, Music Director of Kearsney College, who led these young singers to triumph in the United States at the biannual international event, where they were voted Crowd Favourites after competing against 352 choirs from 61 nations at this year’s Choir Games (the choral equivalent of the Olympic Games).
“My motto at Kearsney College is: ‘It's manly to make music’. It is very hard to convince most people that they are about to see a performance by a group of young men who juggle rugby, hockey, cricket and soccer practice with choir rehearsals and homework,” says Kruger.
“These boys are as 'rough and tumble' as they get, and, like most boys of this age group, would sacrifice anything for a bit of attention from a girl. Being in the choir – contrary to what most other boys believe – is actually a magnet for girls, and the choir boys had plenty opportunities in the USA to maximize on this aspect, since girls outnumber boys four to one in the choral world. In every movement, nuance and gesture on stage, we endeavour to emphasize the 'macho-ism' of the boys, and great care is taken in the planning of a repertoire to give the boys enough opportunity to exhibit their male qualities.”
“Part of the success of this group internationally is their clean-cut appearance, which differs greatly from the long hair, piercings, tattoos and overall 'sloppiness' of adolescents from elsewhere in the world. The Kearsney College Choir makes an impact even when not in uniform, and audiences cannot get enough of the boys' discipline and manners. It is, however, when the boys are happy and in a celebratory mood that they attract the most attention. Singing, accompanied by dancing, anywhere, anytime and with such enthusiasm that cars were seen stopping along the road to take pictures of the boys, are a normal occurrence.”
“The World Choir Games is truly a magnanimous competition. Apart from the size and sheer greatness of the event, and forgetting the unbelievably high standards of international choirs in the Champions Competition, the experience of meeting likeminded individuals from all over the world, sharing the power of music and spreading a message of peace and tolerance, permeates through everything that happens during the two-week Festival.”
“It is humbling to stand on a stage when a sold-out audience of 3400 people (Cincinnati Music Hall, Champions' Concert, 14 July) spontaneously jump out of their seats in unison, midway through your performance to applaud a 30-second gumboot dancing sequence. The boys feed off adoration and ovation and it is as if they transcend into even greater realms of synchronization and musical excellence when an audience returns the favour by making noise themselves.”
“The tension of an awards ceremony is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. The competition winners are announced by way of elimination from the lowest achievers upwards in each category. When only two or three choirs remain unannounced and you know there is a chance of you being eliminated next (so close and yet so far) – with all the hard work, hours of rehearsal, sacrifices, injuries, and stress that could be in vain in an instant, this is when you begin to question whether you did enough, whether you should have done it differently, or whether it was all worth it. Seeing the boys’ total immersion into the moment and their collective anguish in anticipation of the result is quite stressful on the conductor who is directly responsible for their fate.”
“Fortunately for us we were blessed with success and it is marvellous to share this success with as many people as possible now that we are back. I hope to see the people of Durban flock to the City Hall to share in the magic of these boys. They touched many hearts in the USA and emails are flowing in at a constant pace to congratulate and thank the boys for the impressions they left on people from around the globe.”
“We will be singing Shosholoza together with the choir of the JG Zuma Secondary School in KwaMashu at the concert on Tuesday night. They were winners of the 2011 Vodacom Choir Competition at King Shaka Internatioal Airport. We have invited them to watch the concert and sing the one song with us on stage, as we are trying to build ties with this exceptional group from KwaMashu and they will be performing a set at our Upbeat Festival as well later in August*.
Ticket prices are R80, R100, R120 & R150, with discounts for pensioners, students and group bookings. Call Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or book online at www.computicket.com.
* After their City Hall performance, the Kearsney College Choir will participate in the Upbeat Festival at Kearsney College, an eclectic three-day programme of music, comedy, dance and art. They will give two supper theatre performances on 16 and 17 August and a concert with guest choirs on 18 August. Booking is through Computicket.
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