Soaring angelic voices enrapture audience

MBOMBELA – The Penryn Chapel was the perfect place for a host of angels to gather on a glorious Saturday night in November for the Penryn Private Music Centre and Lowveld Chamber Music Association’s presentation of O Holy Night.

Penryn’s Christmas concerts are known for their superb and professional representation of local, national and international talent, and this year was no exception.

The Sempre Vino Ensemble along with the recently formed choir from Hoërskool Nelspruit, under the superb direction of Elet Diedericks, performed on stage together with the outstanding Theresa Prinsloo.

There were also other highly esteemed artists.  The mezzo, Linette van der Merwe, is a sought-after opera, oratorio and concert singer, who also specialises in contemporary Afrikaans music.

Chris Mostert, the well-known tenor and Van der Merwe’s husband also performed.

Ilze Coetzee, one of South Africa’s most-gifted coloratura sopranos, has been the in-house soprano for the Brooklyn Theatre for a number of years. Highlights of the evening were hard to pinpoint, there were so many.

Indeed, the evening was a smooth, mellifluous serenade of joy and harmony from start to finish. The harpists added an otherworldly aspect with their delicate, melodious sounds, always reminiscent of angels and the music you imagine they make.

An absolute revelation was Paul Roos,  a matric pupil at Penryn, accompanied by Chris Pickles on saxophone.

Chris coaxed sounds out of his saxophone that you would only dream about. No harsh notes, only delicate, haunting tones that lulled the soul into a peaceful slumber.

Paul’s clear, near-perfect voice had the audience enraptured. You could have heard a pin drop.

The bass notes of the male chorus sent chills up and down the audience’s spines. The sound of long forgotten giants, a time of great beauty and majesty seemed to loom before them, and the lilting voice of Julia Burger uplifted the spirit as it soared up to the heavens.

The choir voices swelled and receded like the tides, and at
times it seemed a heavenly host  was listening and adding their voice to the ensemble. Heart-rending and uplifting in turns, the beautiful voices carried far into the night.

The defining came with the inception of “Silent Night”. The audience suddenly joined in and the little chapel seemed to swell and grow, and one would be forgiven for thinking that the angels’ themselves had come down to add their heavenly voices.

If not that, they certainly paused in the midst of  their celestial proceedings to stop and listen to a tribute  that could only have them  in mind.

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