On the 29 June 2013, the MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR gave a special performance in St Mary's Church, Swansea in Wales, in aid of BRW Rotary Club's 'Bonniepeople Project'.
Two years ago, the International Rotary Caravan Fellowship Group (IRCFG) visited Montagu as part of their tour of South Africa. They enjoyed a spit-braai evening hosted by our local BRW Rotary Club at the Montagu Caravan Park.
One particular IRCFG member, John Lomax, who is Chair of the International Committee of Swansea Rotary Club, was especially taken with the work the local club has done at 'Bonniepeople' (the crèche serving the squatter camp at Bonnievale). He hinted that Swansea might be interested in supporting any future Bonniepeople projects by partnering our club in a matching grant. The caravanners were also very impressed by the number of projects our young BRW Rotary Club had undertaken! David Hall was BRWRC President at the time and he kept in touch with John over the next two years.
During this time a matching grant proposal was developed by BRW RC to fund a literacy project among children in their first 3 years at school. It was to be undertaken in collaboration with the Cape Town based NGO “WordWorks” and had the approval of the Department of Education. The project would include children and their parents from the Bonnievale squatter camp as well as children from other areas in our valley. The Swansea club agreed to be a matching grant partner for this project and announced that they would organise a concert as part of the fundraising.
The concert took place on June 29th 2013 at St Mary’s, the parish church of Swansea, situated in the city centre. It was a choral performance by the Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir and the Ariosa Singers.
Among the 400 strong audience were many Swansea Rotarians and their families, members of the IRCFG who were attending a caravan rally that weekend and, representing BRW Rotary Club, David and Sue Hall and David and Diana Bain.
Wales is noted for its male voice choirs but none is so famous as the Morriston Orpheus. It was formed in 1935 and undertakes national and international engagements as well as many TV appearances.
The concert was superb, both choirs gave brilliant performances. The programme provided music for all tastes. It included songs from the musicals, religious favourites such as Panis Angelicus and The Holy City, operatic arias and the Grand Finale was a selection from Jesus Christ Superstar with a resounding accompaniment form the magnificent church organ.
For the BRW Rotarians who attended, the favourite though was undoubtedly the 'African Trilogy', included especially for the occasion by the Morriston Orpheus Choir. It included Shosholoza and Nkosi Sikelele. "It brought tears to the eyes – we gave them a standing ovation!", says David and Sue Hall
The whole weekend was a marvellous example of Rotary collaboration and friendship