'Colourful' US choir to join NMU in concert

The Hope College Chapel Choir will sing at the NMU South Campus Auditorium
The Hope College Chapel Choir will sing at the NMU South Campus Auditorium

The colourfully robed Hope College Chapel Choir from the US will sing with the Nelson Mandela University Choir at the South Campus Auditorium tomorrow at 6pm.

There are several choirs at the Michigan University with its Chapel Choir the premier ensemble made up of 40 auditioned choristers.

The Chapel Choir has toured extensively throughout the US and Canada, and travelled to Europe, as well as South Africa, which it visited nine years ago.

In addition to being featured in the college’s annual Christmas Vespers programme, which is broadcast throughout the US on PBS television and National Public Radio, the choir has sung at the National Cathedral in Washington, the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove in California and at numerous choral conferences.

What audiences often find of visual interest are the special robes the choristers wear, created 50 years ago by influential design couple Charles and Ray Eames.

Filmmakers, poets, painters and furniture designers, the husband-and-wife team was hired in the 1940s as consultants by the Herman Miller Company. In 1952, when the Herman Miller Company started a mixed chorus, Ray Eames offered to design robes for the choir.

The robe colours are intended to symbolise the four primary voice parts, from highest and brightest (yellow) to lowest and darkest (purple). The black horizontal lines represent an extended grand staff, and the other black swatches stand for random notes in the universe.

Purity of tone and faith are represented by the prevailing white that appears on every surplice.

The acclaimed Nelson Mandela University choir is also set to delight audiences in the special concert.

Tickets are R50 (R25 for students and pensioners).

Inquiries: Theresa Cunliffe, (041) 504-2250