• Donna Collins
They sing like angels – literally. The Mascato Youth Choir which has worked and performed with over 60 choirs from countries around the world, are performing in Swakopmund today with a German choir touring the country.
The Mascato Youth Choir will be performing a joint concert together the Junges Vokalensemble Hannover at the Namib Primary School. The German choir ‘Junges Vokalensemble Hannover’ is currently on a concert tour in Namibia following invitations by partner choirs in Cape Town, Windhoek, and Swakopmund. They have already delighted the choir loving public, with a stellar performance at the Zoo Park since arriving in Windhoek. In addition the choir who is based in Hannover, was part of a ‘Germany and Namibia Devotion’ concert held at the Groote Kerk, Macedonia Parish in Katutura. In the line-up were the COTA Youth Choir (Windhoek), Soli deo Gloria (Katutura) and Harmin Choir (Katutura).
The Mascato Youth Choir which is based in Swakopmund has 140 choir members, with singers from all over Namibia. They perform in 25 concerts a year, averaging at least two shows a month, and travel all around Namibia and the world. The choir’s manager and conductor, Theo Cookson, says the choir has around 25 concerts a year – two a month – sometimes more. People pay the choir to perform and the funds are used for travelling expenses for the members who often travel to the furthest parts of the country.
The Mascato Youth Choir was established in 1996. Today they have developed into a fully fledged music tuition programme providing music classes to coastal youth. Since its inception, more than 2000 coastal youth have been members of the Choir. “We are frequently called upon to sing for visiting heads of states, foreign dignitaries and various groups of tourists,” says Cookson, adding that between 1996 and 2018, the choir has worked and performed with over 60 choirs from different countries.
These talented young Namibians have travelled to countries such as South Africa, England, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Canada and even the Yale University Glee Club Choir from the USA where they variously have received standing ovations to their repertoires. Cookson says the choir was founded on the philosophy of providing music tuition to the coastal youth and has expanded countrywide. The choir has since become a proud cultural export product of Namibia, and has matured from an initial group of inexperienced teenagers to a polished team of singers who can take to the stage anywhere in the world.
Meanwhile the mixed choir Junges Vokalensemble Hannover was founded in 1981 by its artistic director professor Klaus-Juergen Etzold. The choir consists of about 50 singers. They perform a wide range of a cappella music from the 15th century leading up to current times, have recorded 16 CDs and have performed several world premieres of contemporary compositions. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Muscato choir to be part of such an inspiriting programme of song with such a world class choir , and we are really looking forward to the concert on Thursday night,” concludes Cookson, adding that everyone is invited to come and enjoy a night of glorious song.