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KEARSNEY COLLEGE CHOIR CONCERT (article first published : 2004-10-21)

Most schools have choirs of one kind or another, but the Kearsney College Choir from the well-known school at Botha’s Hill is something special. Over the past eight years, this group of about 50 boys has travelled to Europe several times to participate in festivals and competitions. In 2000 they won gold and silver medals at the Choir Olympics held in Austria; in 2002 they sang with the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and in July this year they won more prizes in Vienna and Germany.

The choir gave a most enjoyable demonstration of their gifts and skills in a concert at the Durban Jewish Centre arranged to celebrate their winning the scenic folklore category in the 2004 Choir Olympics in Bremen.

The event was sponsored by Investec and an audience of 130 invited guests responded with great enthusiasm to a long programme broken up with breaks for supper courses. The programme ranged from sixteenth century music by Orlando di Lasso to contemporary indigenous material from South Africa, some of it of a patriotic nature. A South American samba met with prolonged applause, as did an item called I See a Land from King Africa, a piece of popular music that seemed to owe something to Gounod’s Ave Maria, which itself is an arrangement of the first of Bach’s 48 preludes and fugues.

Small groups of two, three and four singers added variety to the proceedings and revealed some excellent natural ability. I have a long-standing allergy to boy sopranos but some of these lads had voices of high quality and, moreover, voices that had been carefully trained and developed.

The choir was conducted by Angela Stevens, and I suspect that a great deal of the credit for the success of the evening should go to her. Singing of this quality is the result of long and patient work by instructor and students. The obvious enjoyment of the singers matched that of the audience, and the evening served as evidence that a traditional school such as Kearsney has real cultural values in addition to sporting and academic achievement. - Michael Green




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