The world-renowned Drakensberg Boys Choir brought the spirit of Christmas to East London at a one-night-only performance at Hudson Park High Centenary Hall on Monday evening.
The choir, which has earned its stripes across the globe, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and East Londoners got to witness them live.
The boys tour three times each year, including an international tour.
This year the choir, which is made up of 120 members, travelled to Japan from July 1 to August 11, where they performed to thousands, selling out most of their concert venues.
The choir is split into two: the Injasuthi, which is currently touring in Johannesburg, and the Cathkin Boys Choir, which is made up of 56 members.
Under the baton of Kenny Kabak and accompanist Lubabalo Dyasi, the Cathkin choir entertained a crowd of more than 800 in the Hudson Park High Centenary Hall.
During the concert, conductor Kabak would explain the origin of each song and say a few words about its composer. The amazing repertoire ranged from heavenly classical choral numbers to toe-tapping festive songs, sentimental carols and a few indigenous songs. The audience also got to stand, sing and dance with the choir.
Kebak said the choir was happy and excited to be performing in East London, which he said had been the biggest crowd during the Noel tour.
The Cathkin Choir tour started on November 21 in Cape Town and moved to Stellenbosch, Hartenberg, Plettenberg Bay and Port Elizabeth. After East London comes the final stop in the tour, Kokstad, before home.
Kebak thanked the Hudson Park parents who hosted choirboys in their homes.
“We are very excited to be here tonight as we approach the end of our Noel tour.
“A special thank you to the hosting parents, who made this tour to East London possible. This has been the biggest crowd so far,” he said.
Grade 9 choirboy Left Motshele said the tour had been amazing.
He said the choir was excited and had a lot of energy, especially since this was their second-last concert on the tour.
Motshele, who has been in the choir for six years, said it required a lot of dedication, discipline and hard work as pupils had to juggle academics and choir activities.
The pupil said they rehearsed on a daily basis for two hours and on weekends if they were not attending academic catch up sessions.
“The tours are always really good and we have really enjoyed it. It was also pretty cool to see and be around the seaside since we are based in the mountains,” he said.
Alaine du Plessis , who has seen the boys perform five time before, said Monday’s concert had been the best.
“The concert was absolutely amazing. This was great for East London and the school,” she said.
Another fan, Thabisa Mkhono, who said she had always wanted to see the choir live, said: “The concert was great, the boys are really talented.
“I have always wanted to watch them perform. It was totally worth it.”