GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The fact that Carpe Musicam!'s Let's Celebrate Christmas! concerts held on 15 and 16 December at the Dutch Reformed Church Blanco in George were not packed to the rafters, as has been the norm at the last few Christmas concerts, was through no fault of theirs.
Strict Covid regulations severely restricted audiences. The lucky few who managed to obtain tickets were more than rewarded for their courage and effort.
The orchestra was in fine form from the very first note of Leroy Anderson's Christmas Festival Overture, nimbly skipping through the many time and key changes that give the work its light and bubbly air.
Local soprano soloist, Ninette Smit, was back in her spot in front of the orchestra. Her voice was always clear and on pitch, and her interpretations of Adeste Fideles and O, Holy Night were superb, with the orchestra providing just enough support without being overpowering.
A group of nine young instrumentalists joined the orchestra for Away in a Manger and Silent Night. The combination of soprano and alto recorders, flute and violins added a poignancy to these quieter carols, and stood out well above the orchestral forces. A word of congratulation to all their music teachers - they are helping ensure the continuation of fine music in the Garden Route.
The rest of the programme was celebratory, upbeat and even a tad rowdy at times - most notably during the Nutrocker encore. Once in Royal David's City had a definite Elgar-ish feel, while Lindsay Stirling's Celtic Carol displayed controlled playing and dynamics in a difficult piece.
But the hit of the show was Cherith Bain's performance of We Three Kings for solo violin and orchestra. More than one audience member referred to her performance as "world class". We look forward to hearing more from this quietly dynamic violinist.
Carpe Musicam! brings live local orchestral talent to the Garden Route and their concerts should not be missed by any music lover. Let's hope for an end to Covid-19 sooner rather than later and get their concert halls full again.
There are still limited tickets available if you wish to attend the last concert of the year under the Red Roof at Scarab Village outside Sedgefield. Essential to get you tickets beforehand from Elsabe on 073 857 2952.
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