Reconciliation stars in fall concert

Hamline’s University Chorale teams up with a South African choir for the December concert.

Nicole Ronchetti, Reporter

Earlier this year the Hamline University Chorale was presented with an opportunity: to collaborate with a choir hailing from South Africa. The group, called 29:11, participated in a workshop with them in October and reunited again for their concert on Dec. 6.

Kathy Thomsen, the conductor of the chorale, said that when the chance arose to perform with 29:11, she was excited to present the opportunity to the chorale. After a discussion with the students, the decision on whether to perform with the South African choir was put to a vote.

“I wanted them to have the final say,” Thomsen said. “We’ve never done anything like this before.”

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor, and the structure of the concert was decided. To both complement and differentiate themselves from 29:11’s musical style, the University Chorale performed a variety of songs ranging from the Israeli “Zum Gali Gali” to a piece based on winter haikus. Following this, sophomore Allison Willner-Martin and senior Bree Carey performed solos.

Afterwards, 29:11 took the stage and co-founder Brendon Adams explained their purpose. The group was created with the message of reconciliation for a country still healing from apartheid, an idea that they wanted to share beyond South Africa, sparking their visit to Minnesota.

“If you ever wonder what this group is doing in the Twin Cities, in this cold, it’s to bring reconciliation,” Adams said.

29:11 encouraged audience interaction, inviting listeners to clap and sing along. Their performance included both popular and traditional songs from South Africa, as well as the country’s national anthem.

When it came time for the last song, the University Chorale joined 29:11 on stage and closed the evening with a powerful joint performance of “World in Union”, which was originally written as the theme for the Rugby World Cup. Its themes of international friendship, as well as the quality of its performance, earned a standing ovation from the audience.

As the concert ended and the audience exited, the members of the chorale were met by family and friends ready to congratulate them on their performances.

“I thought it was really good,” junior Ganon Larson said. “I liked the amount of variety of songs.”

The success of the concert and the collaboration with 29:11 is indicative of the hard work done by the University Chorale, something that Thomsen noted with pride.

“They have been very committed,” Thomsen said.

As for their work with 29:11, Thomsen is glad the students had the opportunity to perform and practice with the group..

“We got really, really lucky,” Thomsen said. “They’re so much fun to sing with.”

The Hamline Orchestra will have their fall concert on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in Sundin Hall.