national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, March 16, 2015


(Cello members of the KZN Youth Orchestra)

Veritable festival of music performed by incredibly talented young people. (Review by Keith Millar)

If music is food for the soul then I am sure that everyone who attended the excellent Expanding Horizons concert in the Robert & Robin Muir Auditorium at Umhlanga College would have been well satisfied and inspired by the rich variety of music treats that were on offer.

Expanding Horizons was collaboration between the KZN Youth Orchestra and Umhlanga College Music Department and it proved to be a veritable festival of music performed by incredibly talented young people.

First on stage was the KZN Shadow Youth Orchestra. At an average age of 14 years, these young musicians are the future members of the full youth orchestra. Mentoring and nurturing them is Cathy Peacock. Peacock is a trumpeter with the KZN Philharmonic and the leader of the excellent jazz combo, Platform Jazz. She coaxed a wonderful performance from the group as they played, amongst others, a selection from Gustav Holst’s’ The Planets, an atmospheric piece called Misty Cavern and Edvard Grieg’s Norwegian Dance.

Next to showcase their talents was the KZN Youth Orchestra, under the baton of the KZN Philharmonic resident conductor, Lykele Temmingh. In a quality performance that belied their youth, they played offering Procession of the Sardar, Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King, The Pink Panther Theme and the 1st movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. They also played a gentle, locally penned, number called Carmarge which featured traditional Indian instruments, sitar and tabla.

The KZN Youth Orchestra was then joined by the shadow orchestra, and students from the Umhlanga College Music Department, a total of over 200 performers on stage for a rousing version of Meghan Trainor’s All about That Bass.

The second half of the programme featured the Umhlanga College Music Department’s show which will be touring to Cape Town this week. The touring group include a choir, solo singers, a marimba group, a string orchestra – the college has 100 students learning the violin -, several guitarists, recorders, bongo drums keyboards and a drum kit. At this stage the college only goes up to grade 10 so all the performers are under 16 years of age.

They performed a variety of music with great energy and enthusiasm. Included were Illa Fantasia, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, Michael Jackson’s Black or White, Echosmith’s Cool Kids, John Legends All Of Me, Let It Go from the Disney film Frozen and as a finale One Directions’ Steal My Girl.

It is always inspirational and heart-warming to experience young people performing with panache and joyous abandon. This concert was no exception. Kudus are due to the creative Umhlanga College Music Department team who have coached them to perform at this level.  – Keith Millar