Hessequa Choirs Wow at Kunstetreffers
On Wednesday, 1 October 2014, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), in partnership with Artscape and the Hessequa municipality, showcased the first performance of two Kunstetreffers in the community hall in Heidelberg.
The performance is the culmination of months of training given to community choirs by DCAS and Artscape, in partnership with the Hessequa municipality. Workshops were hosted and the following choirs were involved: Congregational–kerk, Laerskool De Waalville, Hoërskool Heidelberg, NAK–kerkkoor, Riversdal–gospelmusiekorkes, St Barnabas Kerkkoor, St Barnabas-blaasorkes, Verenigde Onafhanklike Kerk van Suidelike Afrika se koor and the Young Royal Shepherds Xmas Band. By doing this, DCAS has given these choirs the chance to be introduced to the other choirs in their region, polish their skills and learn from each other. Individuals were selected from the regional choirs to take part in Kunstetreffers as a combined mass choir.
Kunstetreffers runs over two evenings and gives the combined choir the opportunity to perform on stage with big names such as Allistair Izobell and Zanne Stapelberg. The production was also taken to some of the local schools, so that learners could have the opportunity to see choir members from their community performing with established artists. The second performance will be hosted tonight (2 October) in the Duivenshokriver Community Hall in Heidelberg.
Helena Eygelaar, from Hoërskool Heidelberg, one of the members of the combined choir, said: “It was an opportunity to build bridges. If I touched one child through my participation, then my job is done.” Richard Meyer, who conducted the Young Royal Shepherds Xmas band, said: “It was the experience of a lifetime. It was a privilege to share the stage with the professional performers. I saw that the band can grow with the correct mentorship.” Rene Arendse, the choir co-ordinator said that she was struck by the amazing talent and enthusiasm that young and old in the community displayed and how both local and professional talent were able to blend seamlessly on stage.
Hannetjie du Preez, Chief Director for Cultural Affairs said that DCAS is committed to growing local choirs and said: “We can definitely say: Hessequa has got talent!”.
DCAS will continue to support the living arts in all the communities in the Western Cape and will make sure that the rural communities also be exposed to talent identification, skills development and the chance rub shoulders with professionals when participating in cultural festivals.