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A Community St John's Passion in Soweto

Ein Projekt von Umculo e.V.
in Soweto, Südafrika

Bach's St John's Passion will be performed in a new staged version by director Kobie van Rensburg with conductor Felix Bender, bringing together six community choirs in Soweto.

Shirley A.
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Über das Projekt

 J.S. Bach: St John Passion 

Bach wrote his St John’s Passion in 1724 to tell one of the greatest stories of human history. Umculo brings Bach’s vision of human suffering and compassion to South Africa in a new staging that draws together six diverse community choirs with professional musicians from South Africa and Europe. 

South African director Kobie van Rensburg joins German conductor Felix Bender in a dramatised production of Bach’s extraordinary work. The story, which is core to Western philosophy and belief structures, becomes a universal drama, a tale of injustice, violence, alienation and remorse.

 Umculo’s “PASSION” unites South Africans of all ages from diverse backgrounds in an unprecedented and ambitious venture. This will be the first time that one of Bach’s oratorios has been dramatised in South Africa. In keeping with its commitment to both community and musical excellence, Umculo brings professional soloists and an orchestra playing historic instruments at baroque pitch to Soweto. 

Bach composed his work around Lutheran chorales which are strong and direct, in order to engage his congregations through active participation. These will be performed by community choirs, including the Hillbrow Theatre’s newly-formed youth choir, Meadowlands Seventh-day Adventist Church Choir (Mokale Koapeng), 4Fourty Chamber Choir (Siegfried Pretsch) and the Choir of Christ Church Arcadia (George King).  

Umculo’s multi-media production is an immersive theatre experience in the unconventional space of Soweto’s Meadowlands Seveth-day Adventist Church. 

The proposed uses of any donations are listed in the relevant section of this page. We require funding for food, transport, accommodation, stage technology, fees for professional musicians and educationalists, etc. 

Umculo is an international organisation that supports social development through music theatre in South Africa.

- Performances on 25, 26 and 27 May. 

CONDUCTOR Felix Bender 
DIRECTOR Kobie van Rensburg 
EVANGELIST Siyabonga Maqungo (25,27) / Albertus Engelbrecht(26) 
JESUS Stephen Schalkwyk 

SOLOISTS include: Antoinette Blythe, Monica Mhangwana, Albertus Engelbrecht, Siyabonga Maqungo, Phiwe Makaula, Ronald Melato

 The Umculo Ripieno Ensemble (Pieter Bezuidenhout), UP Voice Students (Hanli Stapela), Water in Wine Society (Paul Pretorius), Meadowlands Seventh-day Adventist Church Choir (Mokale Koapeng), Northwest Choral Clinique (Patrick Tsotleho Motshabi), Hillbrow Theatre Youth Choir (Phiwe Makaula), 4Fourty Chamber Choir (Siegfried Pretsch), Choir of Christ Church Arcadia (George King) 

Please contact Kobie van Rensburg or Shirley Apthorp on (082)6863049, for further information 

Umculo is in final negotiations with the above-mentioned soloists and groups; contractual conformation of participation is pending.