A letter from the conductor: a glance back at 2019 – 2021

As with most choirs, the Cgals Chamber Choir starts afresh every year at the beginning of the year after a well-deserved break over the Christmas holidays. 2019 saw some new members joining the choir and the choir worked hard towards excellent singing, enrolling for the 11th World Choir Games in Flanders, Belgium. The Cgals participated in two examinations: passing the UNISA Advanced Examination with 95%, putting them on the UNISA Honorary list for the third time, and passing the ABRSM Advanced Choral examination with a B+ (after working on the pieces for three weeks). As the choir is quite isolated at the Namibian coast, examinations are very important to establish the weak areas that need improvement, and to work on a “big-match temperament”.

Namibia went through a terrible drought in 2019, and this led to the decision to consider our farmers and raise money for feed for the animals instead of raising money for the next overseas tour. Through a concert we managed to raise more than 17,000 Namibian dollars for the farmers in the Southern Region of Namibia.

2020 saw the beginning of a great start with an excellent “Alice in Wonderland Mother and Daughter tea” in the City Hall, Walvis Bay in March on the day that Namibia had its first Covid-19 positive case……… needless to say, this started a whole new way of planning, thinking and coping. When Namibia closed for strict lockdown, the choir members could not meet. The fact that the choir members come from two coastal towns made it even more difficult as only essential workers could travel for most of the rest of the year. Everything moved to sound recordings, Google classroom and when the chance arose, practicing in a big studio with a few members. The second concert of 2020 was in the form of a Christmas Concert.

2020 – 2021 was a sad year for the choir family, as we lost friends, family members and Namibian musicians in this time.

With the 11th World Choir Games again postponed to October 2021, the new Year started with renewed energy, still maintaining social distancing and still as little contact as possible. We were very blessed that the Namibian nation received their first vaccines as early as March 2021, relieving a lot of stress for the choir members.

Namibia became a hot-spot for the Delta variant of the virus in June 2021 and this saw our fellow Namibians struggling tremendously: at one stage Namibia globally had the most deaths per capita per day and our normal day to day lives were drastically changed with children being at home and only essential workers travelling during a strict lockdown. When everything opened again in August 2021, the girls started practicing for the UNISA Advanced Certificate (obtaining 90%!) and sadly had to cancel going to the 11th World Choir Games. We pushed through and enrolled for two Virtual Competitions though, winning the Pop, Gospel and jazz Virtual Competition and receiving a Very Good for the Adult Choir division. 2021 ended with two wonderful Christmas concerts.

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