MUSIC DIRECTOR’S REPORT 2018
AGM : February 2019
Wow! What a year!!
2018 was an outstanding year and without a doubt the highlight was The War Requiem. However, there was a build up to that, and it started with Jenkin’s Stabat Mater, with Cantare Jubiloso. This was an excellent concert, and very moving!
Last Night of the Proms was, as it always is, a lot of fun! It’s an amazing way to raise over R120,000- for a worthy cause. I’m already looking forward to the next one. The choir hamper was a great addition to the raffle prizes, and it would be good to repeat this exercise. Thank you to those of you who gave so generously.
I always love performing Carmina Burana and Chichester Psalms, which make a very good pair. We actually needed more orchestral rehearsal for this, but nonetheless it was a good concert, and the choir held everything together brilliantly.
The War Requiem was a challenge in many different ways: musically, logistically and emotionally. But it really was an incredible experience. Those who went to Germany will remember this trip forever, and the two performances in South Africa were extraordinary. I think we all felt the power that this piece stirred up, and for me, it was one of the highlights of my musical life. We could not have done this without the amazing commitment of the whole choir, and without the incredible contributions by Ron and Jenny Gill on so many fronts. The visitors from Germany were blown away by our hospitality, and by the whole experience of visiting South Africa. Thank you all for that. And thanks to our South African soloists who made us all so proud. It was also wonderful to collaborate with the Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town again, as part of our joint exercise every two years.
Another very meaningful concert, and one that rounded off the WWI Centenary well, was the Remembrance Concert on November 11. Again, it roused many emotions, and music, and particularly singing, are an appropriate way to commemorate events such as this, which have had such a profound effect on world history. I will treasure the memories of this concert for the rest of my life.
Once again, the Christmas Concert was a rip-roaring success, and I was extremely happy with the singing. It was great to have Siyabonga Maqungo as our soloist, and once again we raised a fantastic amount of money for the Lambano Sanctuary, including the donation by Vic Marini for our singing of Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle.
As always, I want to thank you all for the time and energy that you commit to the choir. You play an important role in the musical life of Johannesburg, and of South Africa as a whole. For this I salute you.
Thanks also to Pridwin and St Charles, who generously host our rehearsals, and to the many people who make our concerts possible.
Finally, thanks to the committee, our patrons, sponsors and friends, and of course our audiences, all of whom make this possible.
CHAIRMAN & TREASURER’S REPORT 2019
AGM : February 2019
The Choir undertook a challenging and unusual concert programme in 2018, with a focus on the 100th anniversary of the end of the 1st World War. The Choir presented performances of Jenkins’ Stabat Mater, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Britten’s War Requiem, a Remembrance Concert on 11 November (WW1 armistice), as well as the usual Christmas concerts.
These works were performed at a gross deficit of R577,392. Income from sponsorships, membership subscriptions, external performances and other income sources reduced the operating deficit to R287,594. The deficit largely reflects the significant cost of mounting the War Requiem concert in Johannesburg, which was performed in collaboration with the Dresden Singakademie and the Saxony Youth Orchestra – the work required two orchestras and the construction of a customised stage setup. The choir finished the year with reserves of R720,673.
Those choir members who were able to take the opportunity to travel to Germany to perform the War Requiem in Dresden and Leipzig found this to be a particularly moving and valuable experience.
My thanks go to Richard Cock and Kate Pape for their ongoing contribution in raising corporate sponsorships. My thanks also go to the regular patrons, sponsors and friends, many of whom are choir members. As in past years, the generosity of the choir patrons and sponsors has made a vital difference to the choir’s financial position, contributing donations of R345,999 for the year.
I also wish to thank those choir members who participated in the Last Night of the Proms and the additional Christmas concerts. These events contributed R44,000 to the choir coffers and continue to enhance our public profile. I would also like to mention with gratitude those volunteers who made the bells and hats for various concerts and raised further funds in the process.
Thanks are also due to all those who give of their time and skill to ensure that choir activities run as smoothly as possible. In particular, I would like to mention Debbie Kruger, for choir administration; all the members of the Choir Committee, for their advice and efforts; Alex Trinder-Smith, who arranges the programmes for the concerts and performs other administrative tasks; Maddy Farrant, who administers the choir membership subscriptions; as well as Sue Cock and Marnus Greyling, for accompanying the choir at rehearsals.
Finally, of course, I must record my gratitude to our incomparable Music Director, whose expertise, energy, humour and entrepreneurial skill makes it possible for the choir to produce such varied and beautiful music, and to have great fun in doing so.