Friday, 29 June 2018

Friday 29 June

Today saw the boys involved in a full day of rehearsals of Scenic Pop, Music of Spirit and Faith and to end the day Scenic Folklore.  The boys broke down every move and reconstructed it to ensure precision of movement and timing.  

Lunchtime was a walk to Browns restaurant – with a detour to Grahamstown Pharmacy, where the pharmacists are beginning to recognise me!  True to form a bout of diarrhoea and vomiting has broken out among the boys – the threat of a suppository has many boys widening their eyes in horror!  One of our Kearsney parents who is a doctor, and who is currently in Grahamstown, kindly offered assistance in the form of advice of the best over-the-counter-medications - which I shall get from the friendly pharmacists tomorrow.   

The boys returned to Victoria Primary school after lunch and a bit of free time and ventured out onto the school’s field which is Grahamstown’s Village Green for the duration of the National Arts Festival.  There, a lucky few, witnessed a visiting contortionist from New Zealand who threaded himself through the head of a racket (and toilet seat!), before performing a juggling (with machetes) act on a pole supported by ropes held by spectators. There are three or so large marquees which house a very interesting market where a variety of good-quality products are sold.

The boys rehearsed until 5:30 after which there was about a kilometre and a half walk to and from our supper venue at the Rat and Parrot. The boys enjoyed a filling meal of a giant burger and chips and the sure favourite; dessert called most appropriately – Chocolate Nemesis!  Liam Hobden dropped in with his parents to see his brother and to update the staff on University life at Rhodes and the community service ventures he has been involved in during the holidays. The Hobdens have been most generous with their time and vehicle in assisting the staff putting up advertising posters for the concerts, ferrying bottles of fresh water to the hostel and delivering the musicians to a sound-check at the Thomas Pringle Theatre where we are to perform tomorrow.  

A quick walk back to the hostel followed – with Mrs Govender and Mrs van den Aardweg laden with pizzas and pudding for the souls who were ill or at the sound check – another last rehearsal followed where after the boys received instructions for Saturday’s back-to-back activities and engagements.  The boys were sent to bed to get a good night’s rest.

Thursday 28th June - Practising in Grahamstown

A later than expected breakfast at 8:30am ensured the boys were well-rested in preparation for a long day of rehearsals. Medication was required as the normal series of aches and pains were revealed. The pharmacy in my room at the boarding house is almost as well-resourced as any I have seen in the town! 

A long scenic folklore rehearsal saw the repertoire slick and improved and a welcome lunch of burgers (a choice of chicken and beef of course) met the boys on arrival at Oscars - a quaint little house about a fifteen-minute walk from the boarding house.

An hour and a half of free time followed lunch where the boys were entertained by some of the entertainers who are now converging on Grahamstown for the annual Arts Festival on the Village Green, on Victoria Primary School’s grounds (very convenient for our boys). Three boys kept their appointment with the hairdresser!

A productive two-hour Scenic Pop rehearsal rounded off the afternoon. After a fifteen minute walk under the full moon we arrived at the Rat and Parrot – a favourite hangout of the Rhodes students during term time. The boys were excited to watch a World Cup soccer match on a big screen, set up especially for them, in a back room.   

We all walked back for the last rehearsal of the day to practice the Scenic Pop repertoire. The boys spent a productive day polishing their WCG offering and are working towards their first performance at the National Arts Festival on Saturday.

Wednesday 27 June - off to Grahamstown

It is quite possible that Wednesday 27 June will be ‘the longest day in History' for the Choir. Dawn had not even thought about opening her eyes at 3:30am as the Choir made their way from Haley House to the bus, parked in the shadows, at the music block. The hold of the bus was soon filled with luggage and the boys had to be precision packed to fit them, their luggage and breakfast packs into the available space. The boys fell silent on the trip to the airport where the bus finally disgorged its sleepy cargo. Ms Brigette Oakes had each teachers' group files so well organised that the check-in went smoothly except for a bag that lost its contents due to ‘zip failure’. Thank goodness for plastic wrapping which provided a temporary solution! 

A short one-hour flight saw us land in the windy city of Port Elizabeth where two buses (and soon thereafter, a trailer!)  awaited the Kearsney team. A quiet 1 ½ hour drive followed and we arrived in Grahamstown and the Victoria Primary School boarding facilities where the boys soon began settling into their assigned rooms. After a short walk in the cool air of Grahamstown, with some donkey-dodging, we arrived at our lunch venue, Browns restaurant, where a welcome pre-ordered meal was awaiting us.  

After lunch a few boys who were identified as needing a haircut were left behind with Mrs van den Aardweg to sort the matter out. Thankfully “Hair and Beauty on High” was prepared to attend to the nine boys as ‘walk-ins’, without an appointment. Four hours later we left the salon after an interesting afternoon where the fascinating skill of braiding and crocheting dreads was observed and the finished product admired.  

The Choir had an extremely productive four-hour rehearsal in the orchestra room at the venue where we are resident, which has been so helpful and convenient. We had another five-minute walk in the darkening sky to our supper venue, Saints Bistro on High Street. A three-course meal and cold drink was welcomed by the boys and staff. 

On our return to the boarding house the boys were relieved to learn that there would be no evening rehearsal and that lights-out was set for 10:30pm to allow them a long rest for Thursday’s activities.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Performances in the World Choir Games Champions Competition

Scenic Pop: Friday 06 July at 19h30 in the State Theatre Opera Theatre
Scenic Folklore: Saturday 07 July at 14h00 in the State Theatre Opera Theatre
Music of Spirit and Faith: Saturday 07 July at 15h00 in the ZK Matthews Great Hall