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Enchanting sounds hit the right note in Corobrik-sponsored amateur orchestra

The impassioned sounds of classical instruments played by the 2018 BCHA amateur orchestra – sponsored by Corobrik - mesmerised the audience at Glenwood’s Nkulisa Conference Centre on Sunday, 21 October. This annual event, organized by the British Cultural & Heritage Association (BCHA) in partnership with Corobrik, gives all amateur performers the chance to display their musical prowess to an audience.
This is the tenth year Corobrik has sponsored the event, and the first time that Sue Cock – wife of renowned conductor, Richard Cock – led the BCHA 1820s amateur orchestra with her baton.
“This was another incredible performance by people with a passion for music,” said Corobrik’s Commercial Director, Musa Shangase. “Corobrik is committed to supporting such cultural events, particularly one that gives amateur artists the opportunity to show the rest of the world a unique talent. This year showcased such a varied musical genre, from classic to contemporary, and I feel there was something that resonated with every audience member.”
Th BCHA 1820s amateur orchestra is open to anyone who can read music and play a musical instrument, with the keen desire to play for an audience. Once the musicians have been registered, they are sent the music, which they practice in their own time, with only one rehearsal prior to the concert – on the day.
Playing in the orchestra for near a decade, Sue Hickman – a Waterfall resident – said she relished the chance to play her flute in such an exciting environment. Recalling her first encounter with the orchestra, she said she responded to an advert in the Highway Mail calling on musicians. Although a bookkeeper by trade, Sue considers herself a ‘musical bookkeeper’ who likes to sing and dance as she balances the books.
“I don’t get to play very often, and this is a fabulous opportunity for me to get together with other musicians and play,” she said. “Living away from Durban, I don’t really have anywhere to practice with other musicians. This is my once a year that I get to spend the day playing music and I just love it!”
She said the gathering was made particularly special in that it brought together people of all ages and capabilities through an appreciation of music: “I love that we only get together on the day. I don’t have time for many practices and live too far away. It’s an absolute buzz doing it last minute, as we do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The event brings together anywhere between 60 and 100 people from all backgrounds and of all ages, with the youngest musician 10-year-old Ciara Butt, and the oldest 84-year-old Jennifer Sugden. This year also featured accompaniment from Bryan Clark’s Caribbean Connection Steel Drum Band, as well as The Westville Girls’ High School Marimba Band.
Commenting on the annual orchestra, Cheri Steenberg of BCHA, said: “The concert is an exciting project which aims to bring together musicians aged from all cultural groups for a musical concert to promote the arts, culture and musical education.  It also facilitates the advancement of cultural activities, fulfilling one of the BHCA’s roles in the local community.”
The 2018 concert started, as always, with an inspired rendition of the South African National Anthem. The audience was then swept away by the sounds of Strauss’ ‘Radetsky March’, Anderson’s ‘Syncopated Clock’ and Coates’ ‘Sleepy Lagoon’, among others. There was an enlivened Abba medley and Mango Groove’s ‘Special Star’ performed with the marimba band, as well as the iconic Star Wars’ main theme created by John Williams with an encore of the catchy ‘Macarena’ to end the afternoon. 
From left to right is Jennifer Sugden (our oldest musician on Violin/Flute) then Sue Cock - Conductor (centre) and Laila Jones (10 years old on Violin)