Cape Town Opera hosts workshop for schools

Beacon Hill High School Choir pupils attended a workshop held by Cape Town Opera’s Youth Development and Education team for pupils in the Cape Metro who will take part in the South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod (SASCE) Open Section for 2022.

Pupils from Mitchell’s Plain were among those who took part in a workshop hosted by Cape Town Opera’s Youth Development and Education team to assist pupils in the Cape Metro who will take part in the South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod (SASCE) Open Section for 2022.

The 104 high school pupils were put through their paces in a dynamic vocal boot camp on Thursday March 17 at the Metro South Satellite Education District Office in Ottery.

They worked through the prescribed repertoire of songs to prepare them for the SASCE 2022 competition.

The Cape Town Opera team included five professional opera singers, a pianist and a manager.

Pupils learning the repertoire of songs at the workshop with the Cape Town Opera team on Thursday March 17.

Attending the workshop were pupils from Beacon Hill High School, Joe Slovo High School, Harry Gwala Secondary School, New Eisleben High School, Bulumko Secondary School, Bloubergrant High School, Intsebenziswano High School and Makupula High School.

The pupils were split into their voice groups of soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and baritone. They were taught how to warm up their voices before singing and actively prepare their bodies for singing. They then worked through the song repertoire and were coached on what the adjudicators looked out for.

Beacon Hill High School acting principal Melisha Benjamin said she was proud of the pupils who attended the workshop. “This professional music tuition teaches them how to use their voices and provide longevity in their knowledge of art,” she said.

Nonhlanhla Yende, Cape Town Opera’s Youth Development and Education coordinator, said it was good to do a workshop face-to-face after two years of Covid-19.

“Our job is to instil love, discipline and appreciation for music as an art form. We hope they will take and use these lessons for many years to come, even in their daily lives,” she said.

Joy-Lynn Liedeman, a pupil at Beacon Hill High School, said she enjoyed being introduced to opera. “It was something new to me, but I enjoyed the art of learning to sing and learning how to use your voice,” she said.

Beacon Hill pupil Kesha Matthews said she liked singing with the sopranos and meeting peers from other schools. According to her, being in the opera world was a good learning experience.

Madre Loubser, Cape Town Opera Youth Development and Education manager, said: “The National Schools Tour workshops were fun and interactive. We’ve just returned from Pretoria, Rustenburg, Klerksdorp, Umtata, Gqeberha, De Aar and Bloemfontein. Engaging with the teachers and their pupils was just amazing; it’s good to be able to work in person with our pupils again.”

“We have thoroughly enjoyed this year’s National Schools Tour. It’s our first tour since March 2020, and we have been working very hard to ensure that these workshops happen in a safe yet engaging and exciting manner. We brought a phenomenal team of South African singers and facilitators who shared their expertise with the potential future stars of South Africa. We are so thankful to our sponsors, the Maria Marina Foundation, the City of Cape Town, and Rotary eClub Hamburg-Connect,” she said.