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Community Gala

20th February 19

Laura Davidson

Last night Artscape's opera house was packed for Cape Town's Community Gala concert at the Artscape, now an annual event following its smash success last year. Billed as "a symphonic celebration of local talent', it didn't disappoint.
The Master of Ceremonies was Cape Town’s very own Alan Committie, who kept the audience in stitches and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra on its toes. If you’ve never seen the orchestra, make it a priority. Ably conducted by Brandon Phillips with his exuberant soup-plate hands, I noticed no weak links: it was absolutely splendid. Various solos were performed by charismatic saxophonist Don Vino, the wonderful pianist and composer Camillo Lombard, and soulful cellist Sunday Kelechi. But it was 15 year old Jordan Brooks who brought the house down with his unbelievably mature violin-playing.

The solo performers were from diverse musical backgrounds, and throughout the evening there was an eclectic mix of genres: in addition to classical music, we were treated to opera, jazz and contemporary pop music. Being a Brit, the best comparison I can think of is the UK’s Royal Variety Performance. Particularly popular amongst the younger attendees were the previous winners of South African Idols, Yanga Sobetwa and Karin Kortje, as well as runner-up and smooth operator, Thato Makape. Opera singer Elizabeth Catharina gave a charming performance of ‘Doll Song’, as well as an elevated (and more technically challenging) ‘Queen of the Night’, whilst suspended from the ceiling. However, for me, the wonderful Township Opera Company stole the show.

Interwoven into the music and song was contemporary dance from Jazzart Dance Theatre and latin dance vibes from wheelchair dancing duo Andile Ndabeni and Cheronia Fortuin. What an amazing showcase of talent! Congratulations must go to Music Director Aviva Pelham who did a marvellous job of drawing the talent together into a musical celebration to be remembered. If you didn’t make it this year, make sure you snap a ticket up next year.
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