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YOUTH FESTIVAL (article first published : 2001-05-15)

The brainchild of Professor Elizabeth Sneddon, the National Creative Arts Youth Festival is being held at various venues in Durban until May 27. As before, the highlight of the festival will be two major choral concerts.

Sing for Joy features a massed choir comprising 1,000 junior primary pupils. Conducted by Cecile Levin, this will take place in the Old Mutual Sports Hall at 10h00 on May 25. This will be followed by The Grand Choral Senior Concert at 19h30 in the same venue. A massed senior school choir comprising 1,500 choristers accompanied by the KZN Philharmonic and conducted by Richard Cock will perform Western classical and African music. Guest artists will be the KZN Youth Orchestra, the Fulton School Signing Choir for the Deaf and the Open Air School Choir.

On May 26 at 14h30 in the Old Mutual Sports Hall, Richard Cock will conduct the Junior Grand Choral Concert with the KZNPO plus the KZN Youth Wind Band, the Fulton School Signing Choir for the Deaf and the Pietermaritzburg Children’s Choir.

One of the major attractions will be a tribute to the late Eileen Keegan who devoted 61 years of her life to teaching ballet. This takes the form of La Fille mal Gardée (the unchaperoned girl), a light-hearted classical ballet performance by the After Hours Theatre Company. It features 46 dancers ranging in age from seven to 19.

Dance to the Music of Time includes senior dancers of dance studios and companies. Dance for Joy presents the talents of a cross-section of dancers ranging from tiny tots to teenagers. Dudley von Loggenburg’s Love of Dance is bound to be another favourite.

Speak for Joy highlights a cross-section of the best senior Life Skills competition entries. A firm favourite of the festival is always the Shakespeare Quiz when the finest young brains in KZN try to outwit each other with the knowledge of Shakespeare and his works. The festival also includes a junior and senior choral verse speaking competition.

Apart from the massed choral concerts, the festival includes a mixed ensemble and recorder ensemble competition as well as a Steel Drum competition.

A visual arts competition will take place during the festival and the successful works will be presented in August at an exhibition to be held at Technikon Natal Art Gallery.

Among the goals of the National Creative Arts Youth Festival is that “every pupil/student throughout his education is encouraged to channel his creative energies into projects that challenge his creativity, his power to “image” and so think comprehensively, freed from prejudices and “opinions” because he can distinguish between “thinking” which demands “a comprehensive imagination” and “channelled vision” that accepts, unquestioningly, the “partial view “ of others.

The festival is about “ultimate personal freedom which can only be achieved by the individual’s effort to become a thinker and so free himself from fear by acquiring the skill and knowledge to be able to deal with his environment.

The main venue involved is the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre but other venues used are Durban Girls’ College, Westville Girls High School, Old Mutual Sports Hall and Technikon Natal Gallery. Tickets at the door or from the Festival Office on (031) 209-2060.

See individual events in Events Diary




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