UP’s Tuks Camerata joins 20 choirs around the world to heal the earth through song

Posted on June 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the world, robbing many of their family members, livelihoods and ways of life. In an effort to spread unity and courage during this time, choirs from across the world have come together to form a virtual choir under the name Sing Around The gloBe (SATB) to perform Frank Ticheli's ‘Earth Song’ on YouTube.

SATB is a nod to the four voice parts in a choir: sopranos, altos, tenors and basses. Despite the geographical distance that separates the choirs, 167 singers from a total of 21 award-winning choirs have joined together to perform Frank Ticheli's ‘Earth Song’, a song that is a prayer for harmony and peace in times of darkness and conflict. Viewers all around the globe will be able to enjoy a seamless rendition of an audio and visual experience produced by Grammy-winning sound engineer Bill Hare, prominent conductor, composer and arranger Ralf Schmitt and X Factor creative director Andrew Timm.

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Tuks Camerata choir, conducted by Dr Michael Barrett-Berg, has also been involved in this project. Tuks Camerata celebrates its 52nd anniversary in 2020, and has received many national and international accolades over the years. The choir is made up of over 80 UP students from a variety of study fields including medicine, engineering, theology, law, education, economics, accounting, plant sciences and music.

Dr Barrett-Berg, also a senior lecturer in Classical Music Studies at UP, says: “To live in a time of pandemic is to be suddenly and collectively awakened to how fragile we are, how precious life is, and how close death is. COVID-19 has hit us all hard, so many people have contracted it, we have loved ones who have died; and we see so many people struggling to stay alive without income or a job or food for their families. This project is about bringing us all together to overcome the many different difficulties we are facing, with bravery, empathy and compassion. Through the power of music and the use of technology we aim to bridge the separation and unite people’s hearts. When you experience this performance our hope is that you deeply feel our message of love, unity, courage and friendship, and that when we all emerge from this time, that we will be there for each other, helping to make each other’s lives better.” 

Watch the ‘Earth Song’ performance by Sing Around The gloBe on YouTube.

Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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