US-based cultural organisation Classical Movements, has held the annual Ihlombe! Festival in South Africa for the past 10
This year, the series of concerts and gathering of five choirs of 250 voices from the USA and 23 choirs with 1 200 voices from Southern Africa, will honour Nelson Mandela’s centenary, and will feature new works composed by celebrated South African composers.
The concerts will take place until Friday July 20 across the country, and on Wednesday July 18, there will be a concert at St George’s Cathedral at 7pm.
Classical Movements president, Neeta Helms said: “For 25 years, Classical Movements has been bringing the world’s great orchestras and choirs to over 145 countries. We currently produce around 60 tours every year – that’s some 200 concerts every season. South Africa has long been one of our favourite destinations and because our intent is to bring cultural exchange and harmony through the music and through the meeting of musicians and exchange of music, we find this a moving and rewarding trip every time.”
The Ihlombe! Festival’s Voices of Hope, Freedom and Unity tour unites choirs from Baltimore, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington and Atlanta with choirs from Eersterivier, Khayelitsha and Bonteheuwel in Cape Town, Soweto, Soshanguve and Diepkloof in Gauteng, among others.
Two choirs from Zimbabwe will also join the tour as they move through the Western, Southern and Eastern Cape as well as Gauteng provinces and perform in concerts in Soweto, Johannesburg, Soshanguve, Cape Town as well as George and Port Elizabeth.
Thirteen collaborative concerts with 23 African youth, church and community ensembles, will exchange cultures through shared workshops, side-by-side rehearsals and outreach projects across the country. High points include a performance at the Regina Mundi church in Soweto, a site steeped in protest history and St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, another church deeply involved in the liberation struggle, where the choirs will perform on July 18, to mark the birth date of Nelson Mandela.