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Monday, August 22, 2016


Everybody was happy. (Review by Michael Green)

The annual Beth Shalom concert organised by the Friends of Music has become a highlight of the Durban music calendar, and this year’s event, at the Durban Jewish Centre, was no exception.

The concert has been staged for the past 10 years to raise funds for Beth Shalom (Abode of Peace), the Jewish retirement home on the Durban Berea. This year, as in the past, it presented a Sunday afternoon programme of attractive light music, with a wide variety of items and of performers. And, as before, it drew a big audience, about 600.

The concert opened with a dozen mainly African songs performed by the internationally acclaimed Kearsney College Choir. The 30 boys involved sang (and drummed, clapped and stamped) with high skill and enthusiasm, and were warmly applauded by an appreciative audience.

Next came Sornia Kanfer, a 14-year-old soprano who is a pupil at Kuswag School in Amanzimtoti. She has a lovely voice, but her use of a turned-up microphone and loudspeaker sometimes produced an uncomfortably loud sound.

We then moved to the 1920’s, 30’s and 60’s with five items from Platform Jazz, a Dixieland band well known in Durban and further afield.

They are a seven-piece ensemble - trumpet, trombone, clarinet, saxophone, piano, double bass and percussion - and two of them, Cathy Peacock (trumpet) and Andreas Kappen (double bass), are members of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

Playing with zest and obvious enjoyment, they soon had the not-so-young audience singing along in old favourites such as Sweet Georgia Brown, Minnie the Moocher, and What a Wonderful World.

The light music theme continued after the interval. The much-admired Siberian Trio – Boris Kerimov (cello), Elena Kerimova (violin) and Liezl-Maret Jacobs (piano) - played pieces such as a Brahms Hungarian Dance, Saint Saens’s The Swan and Vittorio Monti’s Czardas.

Finally members of the KZNPO, conducted by Naum Rousine, presented an ample array of melodious and good-humoured light music from stage shows and other contemporary sources, with significant contributions from two popular Durban singers, Pinkie Mtshali and Frank Melman.

Everybody was happy.-  Michael Green