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WATCH: Joburg, KZN philharmonic orchestras send virtual musical tribute to SA

JOHANNESBURG – Individual members of the Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal philharmonic orchestras have joined forces in putting together a virtual performance of the well-loved hymn, Amazing Grace, the organisations announced on Wednesday.

The video was made by the musicians with each of them recording their own performance at home due to the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The chief executive and artistic director of both the Joburg and KZN philharmonic orchestras, Bongani Tembe, said they hoped the tribute brings comfort and joy to thousands of South Africans who are enduring isolation, economic hardship, and anxiety.

“Part of our responsibility as artists, particularly at a challenging time like this, is to utilise and share our talent to inspire hope and lift spirits in order to encourage people to know that they can face tomorrow,” Tembe said.

“I would like to thank our committed musicians as their heartfelt musical tribute is also a dedication to all the healthcare workers and law enforcement agencies who are working tirelessly and sacrificing their own well-being to ensure that we are safe as we work together in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country,’’ he added.

In this regard, the orchestras said the choice of Amazing Grace – one of the world’s most inspirational hymns – was “very apposite to this trying time of battling COVID-19”.

“The release of this orchestral arrangement is in line with the message first expressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa who quoted Hugh Masekela’s famous song Thuma Mina as he urged all South Africans to keep faith and stay safe.

“The JPO and KZN Philharmonic’s outreach gesture is in tandem with other virtual performances of the treasured concert repertoire that have been made, under similar circumstances, by orchestral players from around the world,” the statement said.

WATCH: Joburg and KZN philharmonic orchestra’s send a special tribute to SA