A letter from the Conductor of the Cgals Chamber choir of Namibia: a glance back to 2018

2018 was an eventful year for the Cgals Chamber Choir of Namibia: The members committed to practising vigorously for the 10th World Choir Games in South Africa. We enjoyed the support of the local communities of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, travelled to Pretoria for two wonderful weeks filled with rehearsals and three competitions and gave a wonderful Christmas concert in November.

The first 6 months of 2018 was spent on practising the twelve pieces for the World Choir Games. Rehearsing between two towns can be tricky, with the normal busy schedules of the members, but we gave it our best shot to commit to rehearsals once a week in Swakopmund and once a week in Walvis Bay.

The World Choir Games in South Africa was the third excursion to an Interkultur event for the Cgals. On two previous occasions we participated in the Open Category, (winning the Musica Sacrawith accompaniment in Sochi) and in South Africa we entered for the Championship category in all three different competitions we performed in. We were fortunate to have a bus sponsored for the full duration of our time in Pretoria (a big thank you to the ever-assisting Jan Kruger and our patron Mr Haingura J). The Cgals were welcomed with open arms by the student church of the Reformed Church Brooklyn, where we could practise every day (total bliss) and stayed in the wonderful Sierra Burgerspark Hotel.

We are very proud of the two Bronze and one Silver award we achieved at the Games: as conductor I am very proud of the group, most with no choral background and the only thing bringing them together is the fact that they are students of my Music school, Wilna Music. This achievement just shows you the standard of the Championship competition! Of course most members were utterly disappointed with the scores, as we achieved 97% for the UNISA Advanced Choral Examination (examiner an International judge in past competitions) and a Distinction of ABRSM Advanced Choral examination (examiner a renowned singer and conductor) just before leaving for the World Choir Games. In these examinations we performed 6 pieces of our repertoire for the South African Games ……..

On tour we had Mila, who was just a few months old, and our two mascots Jan Kruger and Jan Serfontein who organise everything and take the photographs. We cannot do without them!

We stayed in the same hotel as Cantus from Norway and it was such a privilege to meet and talk to the group: down to earth, excellent musicians. As we have travelled to Norway in the past, we of course love the Norwegians! J

The most amazing thing happened to the group when we returned from the World Choir Games: we were invited by Elisabeth Erdmann, Program Development Assistant, Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) to sing in a production of Alexander L’Estrange’s  Zimbe!  in Carnegie Hall! Unfortunately, due to a lack of funds, this round, it will not be possible, but they have us on their books now and we will try our best to get there one day!

Auditions started in November, for new choir members, and I am very proud of our new singers. We ended the eventful year with a beautiful concert with all the other students of Wilna Music: young and old, pianists, flautist, guitar students, recorder players who all had to sing… What a way to end the year praising God and thanking Him for our talents, and the opportunity to make music together, share fun times with our choir family and ending off a fantastic year.

2019 here we come …………

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