12 July 2010

Namibia: School Choirs Hit Top Notes

Windhoek — Two school choirs last week presented an evening of choral music of a very high standard in the hall of the Eldorado Secondary School in Khomasdal.

The choirs, the Martin Luther High School Choir from Omaruru, conducted by Roger Nautoro, and the Generation.com Choir consisting of learners from nine schools in Windhoek and conducted by Dave Karuhumba, presented an enjoyable evening of music, which elicited numerous shouts of "encore" for most of the items they performed.

The evening's repertoire consisted of a number of gospel and light spiritual songs, as well as western, African and traditional music.

Karuhumba told Art Life the Generation.com Choir was established to promote choral music among the youth of Windhoek. He said the concert was organized in support of the Martin Luther High School Choir, which had come to Windhoek for the weekend to complete the recording of their third CD.

Martin Luther's choir leader, Nautoro, told with pride of how they had struggled to find money to complete the recording.

"We needed N$6 000 to travel to Windhoek to cover the costs of the recording session, and we had no idea where the money would come from. We then approached ex-students of the school to assist the choir.

"The ex-students were very eager to help, and with the organising ability of Selma Hiskia, they were able to raise N$8 000 to help us."

Hiskia said that her job of collecting funds was made easy by her colleagues' willingness to help the school choir.

"I just got on to the Internet and told them of them about the dilemma the choir faced and requested them to make a donation towards this worthy cause.

"Within a couple of days the pledges started coming in and we were able to collect even more than the choir required," she said proudly.

Nautoro said the school choir, consisting of more than 75 members, would complete the recording of the CD at the Namcol studios in Windhoek.

The choir is no newcomer to recording music. Its first CD was produced in 2005 and three years later a second CD was recorded in Germany where the group undertook a month long tour.

The tour emanated from a partnership which Martin Luther enjoys with a German school known as Geschwister Gesammt Schule in Lünem, Germany.

The partnership, which started in 1988, makes provision for cultural and student exchanges between the two schools.

In 2009 the choir participated in a choir competition organised by the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) in Bloemfontein, where it obtained a gold medal and was adjudged the Overall Best High School Choir.

Martin Luther competed against more than 30 schools from South Africa and one from Namibia.

Nautoro said the choir hoped to have its CD launched in Swakopmund, before the end of July this year.

He said the repertoire of songs will include spiritual, religious and African traditional songs, while one of the choir's favourites, "The Bicycle Song," will also be featured. Several songs composed by local composers such as Linus Shaumbua and Marcellinus Swartbooi, will also cover the album.

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