Local choir off to England to sing for royalty

2012-01-20 00:00

THEY sound like angels as they all open their mouths in harmony. The youngsters’ faces beam as they draw their voices from their core. But the conductor claps once and there is complete silence.

“You sound like a bunch of wind boxes.”

He is not impressed. They immediately know they have to go over it again. His hands move to their dazzling sound.

The conductor, William Silk, is not leaving anything to chance with this PMB and Midlands Youth Choir.

He is preparing a choir that will be fit for a queen, in this case, the Queen of England, as the choir are heading to the United Kingdom to perform at Westminster Hall in London for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.

The celebration marks the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne after her father’s death in 1952.

“We were so ecstatic when they invited us even though we got the confirmation late. We waited and waited, I almost gave up,” said Silk.

“These youngsters have fantastic voices and are passionate.

“You come to rehearsal dead tired, but these young people give you their hearts and work hard,” he said.

The choir will serenade the queen with songs like Ave Maria by Anton Bruckner, Waternights by Eric Whitacre, Horizons by Peter Louis van Dyjk and an African medley.

The choir attracts youngsters not only from Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands, but from Greytown, Wartburg and Treverton. Their many awards in competitions abroad won them the invitation.

“We feel fantastic that we’ll be performing for the queen, but to stand in front of anybody whether they’re a queen or not it’s always fantastic,” Silk said.

Passion is painted on all their faces, from the conductor to the singers. Noma Khumalo (17) of Ingwavuma said even though she’s over the moon, the thought that she might not go because of lack of funding scares her. “We just need a little support to make our dreams come true. Who doesn’t want to perform for a queen?” she said.

The choir needs financial assistance because the expedition is expensive.

Maguirita Vermaak of Voortrekker said this is the chance of a lifetime the one that no one wants to miss.

This is more than a group of girls and boys that just meets every Thursday for four hours to rehearse, but they are family, as one explains it. This is a place where dreams come true,” a member said.

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