Thula Sizwe: A Celebration of Hope South Africa Tour Benefit Concert

Thula Sizwe [logo]In the spring of 2003, Willamette University was honored with a visit from Nobel Prize recipient and South African leader, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It was a momentous event for the University. Willamette President Dr. Lee Pelton invited the Chamber Choir to perform a glorious piece of music for Archbishop Tutu's program, entitled "Hope For Resolution." This moving work combines the traditional South African anthem "Thula Sizwe," sung in Zulu, with the English hymn, "Of the Father's Love Begotten." Composed for former president Nelson Mandela by Sean Ivory and Paul Caldwell, the vastly disparate styles of European Hymnody and South African rhythmic choral singing are blended into a powerful statement for the peaceful coexistence of people from differing backgrounds and experiences. Reflecting the harmony of two cultures combined, its message of peace is a perfect representation of President Mandela's spirit and mission.

The Chamber Choir's performance at this event, under the direction of Dr. Wallace H. Long, Jr., Director of Choral Activities at the University, captivated the audience. Archbishop Tutu was effusive in his praise of the performance and extended an invitation to the Chamber Choir to tour South Africa and share this unique composition with the people of his homeland. He also requested that a professional recording of the piece be produced, for distribution in South Africa. The CD was completed in the late spring of 2003, and includes music from the Chamber Choir's touring repertoire as well as the title track, "Hope For Resolution." Proceeds from the sale of the new "Hope for Resolution" CD as well as from sales of the Choral Department's many other available CD's, will be applied to the South African Tour fund. Tax-deductible donations to the fund will be deeply appreciated.

Singers [closeup]Those who sing know how music can touch the human heart. The passion with which a song is performed can produce a range of powerful emotions in those listening, from joy and love, to tears and sorrow. This exceptional piece evokes a strong feeling of hope for the future of the South African people and the world.

Plans are currently being drawn for a Chamber Choir performance tour of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. The trip is the opportunity of a lifetime for these wonderful young students and musicians. Fundraising necessities of such a trip are substantial. The Chamber Choir must raise approximately $140,000 to make this cross-cultural tour a reality.

SingersA concert featuring the music from their tour will be presented in Smith Auditorium on the Willamette Campus, Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. This special concert is a fund raising benefit for the tour which is scheduled to leave May 18 and return June 2. The program will feature a wide selection of literature from classical choral literature to African American Spirituals to jazz to Broadway to a fantastic set of pieces from South Africa.

Tickets are now on sale at the Willamette University Music office. Tickets are $10 general admission; $5 for Seniors/Students with ID and the Willamette Community; and, Children 6 and under are free. You may charge by phone at 503-370-6255, or purchase tickets in person. For more information, to make a tax-deductible donation, or to order CD's, please contact the Willamette University Department of Music, 900 State St., Salem, Oregon 97301, (503) 370-6255.