GEORGE NEWS & VIDEO - The marimba band of Glenwood House College, directed by Jan-Erik Swart, participated in the 64th European Music Festival for Young People in Neerpelt, Belgium, from 3 to 5 May. They were awarded a highly sought-after First Prize summa cum laude (98-100%) in the category for percussion ensembles at the prize-giving ceremony.
The festival was attended by 92 instrumental ensembles from 29 countries, including symphony orchestras, percussion groups and brass concert bands.
"We were one of only nine ensembles who received a summa cum laude festival medal," says Swart. The marimba band presented a selection of African ethnic music on marimbas which they had dismantled and brought from South Africa.
Their technical proficiency, musical interpretation and energetic stage presence ensured that they attained the highest possible award available at the competition, adjudicated by highly respected international music specialists from all over the world.
Two members of the adjudication panel awarded them 100% scores. The Glenwood group included their vocal ensemble, who performed concerts in Dieverbrug and Someren-Heide (in the Netherlands), Tongerlo, Bokrijk and Overpelt, before attending the EMJ festival, one of the largest in the world.
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As part of their participation at the festival, says Swart, they were invited to perform in a special concert for local schools on the eve of the festival, as well as the massed "Happening" concert, which was held in the Dommelhof Indoor Sport Stadium.
"Our jury concert was held in the Dommelhof Theatre, renowned for its perfect acoustics," says Swart. After the adjudication concert, the group marched in a flag parade through the streets of Overpelt and attended the prize-giving ceremony, where they received their results and medal from the president of EMJ, Rutger Nuyts.
The group spent two days in Brussels and Antwerp before they flew back to Cape Town International Airport yesterday, 8 May, from where they were to travel to George by bus. They are expected home today.