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Thursday, April 16, 2020


Individual members of the Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestras have joined forces in putting together a virtual performance of the well-loved hymn, Amazing Grace.

The video has been made by the musicians, recording their own performances in their respective homes. The composite performance was released on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in the hope of bringing comfort and joy to thousands of South Africans who are enduring isolation, economic hardship and anxiety during the country’s national lockdown due to the global corona virus pandemic.

“Part of our responsibility as artists, particularly at a challenging time like this, is to utilise and share our talent to inspire hope and lift spirits in order to encourage people to know that they can face tomorrow. In this regard, the choice of Amazing Grace, one of the world’s most inspirational hymns, is very apposite to this trying time of battling COVID-19,” says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

“The release of this orchestral arrangement is in line with the message first expressed by President Ramaphosa who quoted Hugh Masekela’s famous song Thuma Mina as he urged all South Africans to keep faith and stay safe. The JPO and KZN Philharmonic’s outreach gesture is in tandem with other virtual performances of the treasured concert repertoire that have been made, under similar circumstances, by orchestral players from around the world.

“I would like to thank our committed musicians as their heartfelt musical tribute is also a dedication to all the healthcare workers and law enforcement agencies who are working tirelessly and sacrificing their own well-being to ensure that we are safe as we work together in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” Tembe adds.

Amazing Grace which is one of the most recognisable songs in the world, was written in 1772 by John Newton. The words were borne from his heart, mind and personal experiences over the years from a slave shipmaster to a clergyman. This orchestral arrangement is by Eddie Clayton.

Watch the performance of 'Amazing Grace' at

(To link direct to the KZN Philharmonic’s website click on the orchestra’s banner advert on the top of the page) or visit