Rustenburg Girls’ High School embarked on a new and exciting journey called “A school where we all belong” with the aim to facilitate interactions between students and teachers. The aim is to break down those biases that disconnect people from one another, whether it be race, culture, religion or language. Since they began this journey last year, new energy celebrating transformation, diversity and inclusivity was established.The music department, an integral part of everyday school life and for many students, “a home away from home” embraces this vision and therefore decided to put on a production that would celebrate this new-found inclusivity, in conjunction with Rondebosch Boys’ High School and South African College School (SACS).The production, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace is a work by the Welsh composer, Sir Karl Jenkins, written for choir, orchestra and soloists. It is accompanied by video footage, and was written with the hope that performances across time would encourage young people to think about “the vital issues of war and peace”. The inclusive nature of the work speaks for itself as the various religious and secular texts, as well as the music itself, embrace time periods from the first millennium B.C. to modern times, and bridges Hindu, Islamic, and Christian cultures. With over 350 young people involved in this project on the one hand and the natural inclusivity of the work on the other hand, the work seemed an appropriate choice.The Combined Choral Collaboration is a tradition that dates back to 1968 when Doctor Patrick Wise, director of music at Rondebosch Boys, and Ruth Dosé, choir director at Rustenburg Girls’ High produced the first-ever choral collaboration with Handel’s Messiah. In 1988, Vetta Wise was appointed as the choir director at Rondebosch Boys’ High School and revived the tradition, initially in a performance of Messiah with the Diocesan College and then continuing with Rustenburg Girls’ High School when Elizabeth Sole was appointed in 1989. SACS joining the collaboration 1998. Since then the collaboration has hosted works such as Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, John Rutter’s Requiem, David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Jenkins’ The Armed Man. It goes without saying that this type of collaboration involving so many students from three different school demands meticulous planning. At the beginning of the year, a whole week is set aside for choir auditions as several students, most who do not have any music background, try out. The three schools also ensure as much representation in the orchestra, as possible. For orchestral parts where there are no school players the music staff or professional players are included. V Performances are today Tuesday 23 and tomorrow Wednesday 24 July at the Cape Town City Hall, starting at 19:30. Tickets are R150 and can be booked on Quicket. For more information call Rustenburg Girls on 021 686 4066.