Top soloists set to wow with ECPO

The Port Elizabeth city centre will be a hub of entertainment when the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (ECPO) hosts a two-day concert this weekend.

The ECPO will host a concert at the Feather Market Centre at 5pm on Saturday and at noon on Sunday while the public enjoys eats from Baakens food trucks and live entertainment at Vuyisile Mini Square. “After last year’s Park concert near-disaster, when we were rained out halfway through the Saturday evening performance, we knew we would have to re-think the format for this year,” ECPO manager Gill Barnett said. The concert will feature the orchestra, led by renowned conductor Richard Cock, with soloists Charl du Plessis performing a version of Rhapsody in Blue, and Piazzolla’s Libertango, winner of NMU’s 2017 jazz scholarship Asemahle Tsholoba and Singin’ in the Rain star Bethany Dickson. “Our successful Park concert formula of Richard Cock conducting music to relax to, and soloists to stun you, remains unchanged, and we are excited to have pianist Charl du Plessis and vocalist Bethany Dickson appearing this year,” Barnett said. Dickson will perform in Port Elizabeth for the first time since she performed with her mother, Julie Dickson, in Annie Get Your Gun – a production directed by Bay stage doyenne Robin Williams – at the age of six.

There is a family connection: Julie is Robin’s sister, and she and her husband, Allan, will be hosting Bethany this weekend. Their sons, Gareth and Rhys Williams, have – like their cousin Bethany – followed in the family footsteps to become theatre professionals. A live feed of the ECPO concert will be screened at the square, which will be preceded by Professor Albert Troskie playing the Campanile bells every quarter hour from 4pm to 4.45pm on Saturday and from 11am on Sunday. Troskie said he would play well-known melodies on the keyboard in the Campanile basement, which is connected electronically to the bells at the top, in between the regular quarter-hour chimes of the bells. The newly revamped Campanile also will be open for the public to explore, free of charge. The outdoor entertainment is free of charge while tickets for the concert are available at Computicket at R100 to R120 for adults, R70 for pensioners, R50 for pupils and R20 for pre-schoolers. The event will run from 3pm to 9pm on Saturday, with the music concert starting at 5pm, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday, with the concert starting at noon. For more information, contact Barnett on (041) 581-7747.