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RU Symphony Gala Concert

Date Released: Mon, 3 October 2016 09:18 +0200

This Gala concert was enthusiastically received by the audience, who rose to their feet at the end of the concert, rewarding the student performers with a standing ovation. The concert began with an arrangement of a Minuet (JS Bach), beautifully performed by the talented VP/VG string ensemble under the directorship of Susan and Hleze Kunju. The concert then proceeded with an exuberant performance by the RUO of The Dance of the Comedians (Smetena), truly magificent performances of Opera Arias from Figaro, Don Giovanni (Mozart) and Carmen (Bizet) by the Rhodes vocalists, and exciting extracts from The Four Seasons (Vivaldi) played by 16 year old violinist Neo Motsatse. Rhodes lecturers Jo-Nette le Kay and Catherine Foxcroft ended the concert with a flourish, performing Juliet's Waltz (Gounod) and the first movement of a Piano Concerto (Grieg) respectively. Conductor David Scarr displayed his international expertise throughout this memorable concert, drawing soloists and orchestra together with wonderful musical ease.


The Department of Music's HOD, Professor Foxcroft comments "The Gala concert was planned in February when the Music Department decided to resurrect our orchestra which had folded 5 years ago. I am a strong believer in peer learning, which lends itself to orchestral rehearsal and performance. I also believe that student musicians simply cannot complete a BMus degree without the experience of large ensemble (group) performance. As Grahamstown has one of South Africa's most magnificent concert venues, we decided to "think big" in the venue planning of this event. Many of the student performers had never performed on a stage that size, and I am delighted to report that they all rose to the occasion. The level of performance was outstanding!

While the aim of the concert initiative was primarily educational for our music students, it was also a fund raising event for a 1st year BMus scholarship. The Music Department initiated a fund raising scheme for a 1st year BMus scholarship in 2015, raising R 14 000 from concert takings in 2015. This scholarship was awarded to NSFAS student Asakhe Cuntsulana in February 2016. I am absolutely thrilled to report that the Gala concert raised the targeted 2017 scholarship amount of R 20 000. In addition, the Department has raised a further R 10 000 from our concert series over the course of 2016. We can now offer two scholarships! I would like to warmly congratulate our students and staff on their exemplary commitment and dedication to this worthy cause. Heartfelt thanks to you all for the contribution you have made to the career opportunity for a future musician.