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Why join a choir?

Bernard and I have the enormous privilege of being members of the Durban Chamber Choir. I've sung and played classical music from an early age, and at one (somewhat dark) point in my career I even was Acting Director of the KZNPO. Classical music is my thing, you might say.

So why join a choir? You do have to spend hours going over bars of music in rehearsals and absorb all the instructions from the choral director, choir manager and conductor. Then you have the concert where you expel all your energy and outpour your emotion.

Nothing beats the feeling at the end of the concert though, when the baton goes down and the audience erupts in applause. It’s a great sense of achievement and one of the best feelings you’ll ever have.

Choir is a great escape – we all need to calm our minds sometimes.

It's such a privilege to be able to make music at all. But to make music with this particular choir is a wonderful experience under the direction of Dr Christopher Cockburn. Some choir masters use bullying, excessive repetition, homework and many extra rehearsals to achieve a result sufficient for performance but Chris is much more of a musical leader, with a wonderful ability to instill confidence, improve technique (those warm-ups really do work) and instill love and respect for any given piece of music. Take that Britten, for example; oh no, we said, what an odd piece, don't like it at all. Yet there we were, a few months later, actually making the piece sound musical, mystical and almost magical. The La-la song also - it was so difficult to hear how it was supposed to work, but now that drumming rhythm is coming through and it's turning to music.

So why do we come together to make music, after a long day's work? Friendship, love of music, brain stimulation, networking opportunity, physical exercise and maybe more reasons, but above all, a desire to entertain and enthrall an audience would seem to be the motivation for joining a choir. When we come together to sing, we become part of something greater than the sum of its parts, which has the potential to touch the hearts and emotions of both us, the performers and them, our friends, family and audience, raising spirits and inspiring that outburst of applause to show appreciation for our efforts.

It's our joint commitment to rock up at rehearsals, ready to sing and make music that makes this possible. We've worked hard and to good end these last few months. Just one more rehearsal, a quick run-through on Sunday, and with focus, energy and a bit of magic, we might have our audience on its feet yelling for more. The rugby will have to wipe the tears from its eyes, slap a smile on its face and get its crowd on their feet roaring for more without our encouragement in front of the TV just this once......

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