WINDHOEK- The National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) hosted the University of Namibia (Unam) Choir last Friday night.
A highly appreciative audience welcomed the choir onto the stage, which was understated and tastefully prepared, with electronic imagery projected onto the background.
The choir entered the space in the act of delivering a piece from their now extensive repertoire. As 2012 is the 20th anniversary of the choir, the performance was intended to be celebratory. The choral group is a prize-winner in a prestigious South African competition, and have performed in a number of foreign venues. Because the members are drawn from the student body, the choir is in a constant state of flux, but there were choir alumni in the audience who joined and participated in the performance.
The programme was divided into three segments, with the first part inclusive of a few well known tunes. Then followed what the choir itself referred to as the ‘traditional’ segment with contributions in the form of the ‘Nama Stap,’ and the Ovaherrero paramilitary march. All the items in this segment drew considerable response from a very appreciative and lively audience.
The third portion drew heavily on the choir’s regular and well-known repertoire, and again it was music pitched at an audience that is very informed as far as the songs and singing is concerned.
The programme on the night was cleverly put together to appeal to a wide cross-section of people and it succeeded hugely in broadening its fan-base.
The second segment was not a regular feature of the choir’s performances but should be viewed in context.
Unam has just come to the end of its annual cultural festival, and the dancing performances and other movement contributions were drawn from the cultural festival. It was, therefore, convenient to include elements into the choir’s programme, and perfectly timed to coincide.
What is particularly noteworthy is the fact that the choir taps into the music traditions of a wide range of cultures, and not just those of Namibia. It was gratifying to see people of all ages in the audience.
On the downside, it has to be said that an unacceptable number of people arrived very late and it was very disruptive. And the request not to photograph the performance, was also ignored.