This week has been very special. the Drakensberg Boys' Choir held their Festive Celebration from Wednesday to today (Sunday 12th December), and I went to a concert every day. On Wednesday, it was their Christmas concert, Thursday was a Christmas concert by the Chanticleer singers, Friday was the boychoir again singing the Rutter Magnificat 'and a bit of Bach', yesterday was the Boychoir's secular program, and today was a service of lessons and carols. I sometimes forget what this is all about when I am singing or conducting. I usually enjoy myself, but often the work gets the better of me, and it all becomes just a job. Well, over the past five days, I laughed harder and more than I have in a while. Yesterday, I happened to be sitting front and centre for the concert, and got some delightfully direct interaction from the choristers. One sweet little chap sang directly to me during parts of his solo, and another actually sat on my lap to sing part of it. I laughed so hard my sides ached! And I had forgotten how easily certain particularly animated faces catch one's attention. The singers who look most like they are enjoying what they are doing are the ones whose faces I look out for again and again. It reminds me just how important it is to continue to enjoy what I do. Chanticleer, who gave me a lot of pleasure with the sounds and music they made, simply failed to capture me the way the boychoir did. And don't get me wrong here, the choir are excellent singers, and that is of course important: if the choir didn't sing well, their enthusiasm would be pitiful rather than inspiring, but I almost think the expression on their faces, and their energy and playfulness is more important than the actual singing. Not absolutely, but to a certain degree. And after all, if making music isn't fun, what is the point?
If you are in South Africa for Christmas, watch out for the choir performing on SABC 2 at 21:00 on Christmas day, otherwise, they have a website which I will blog soon, and on which some of their concerts are broadcast live during the term. Just a little free publicity for them, but they really are worth hearing.