By Irmi Schreiber The Karlsruhe Chamber Choir (Germany) of the Helmholtz High School was founded in 1943 and has always been open to all. Since the foundation of a special music sector in 1970, the Helmholtz Chamber Choir has represented the school’s most highly productive ensemble when it comes to vocal music. Since 1980 the choir has been conducted by Reinhard Kretschmann. It goes without saying that the choir’s high standard could only have been achieved by intensive training comprising theoretical aspects, auditive training as well as systematic vocal training. The school choir’s repertory stretches from Renaissance oratorial works, such as a-cappella music, to modern music. Its wide musical range has been displayed in numerous concerts on a local, national and international level, as well as six CD recordings. The Chamber Choir has not only travelled widely in recent years with concert tours to places like Poland, France, England, Israel, the USA, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay, but it has also hosted choirs and orchestras from all over the world, for example, from countries such as Israel, Chile, Argentina, Russia, Poland and Namibia. One of the choir’s many talents is to assimilate the best work from these encounters and widen its repertory. Audiences have already received this international opus with great enthusiasm. In 1997, the choir went on a three-week concert tour through Namibia and South Africa. Apart from the rich experience gained of the local people, Namibian nature and wildlife, the choir also had many musical encounters with young African choirs and musicians, amongst others the National Youth Choir of Namibia in Windhoek and the Coastal Youth Choir in Swakopmund. Since then, its repertory has extended to include an additional 20 African musical pieces, which can be heard on the choir’s latest CD recording. The choir still maintains strong exchange contacts with its former African hosts. The Karlsruhe Chamber Choir hosted a school choir from Windhoek in the autumn of 1999, in May 2000 sixty singers of the Coastal Youth Choir from Swakopmund visited during their tour of Europe, and at the beginning of September 2000 the choir had one week’s intensive training with the National Youth Choir of Namibia in order to perform a joint three-day concert at the EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Germany. In May 2002, the fourth German-Namibian musical encounter took place in Karlsruhe with a school choir of the German Higher Private School in Windhoek. The second concert tour to Namibia will take place later this month. Once again, numerous stage appearances in Swakopmund and Windhoek are on the agenda, as well as workshops with Ena Venter and Ernst van Biljon. The choir wants to take the opportunity again to enrich and widen its African repertory.
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