Carol, Helen, four music students and Nomfusi Nkani from the Art Project were honoured to visit Hamburg, Germany last month. Their visit celebrated the exhibition of the Keiskamma Altarpiece in the Lutheran Church in Wandsbek, where it was on view for six weeks. Maren Winter had organised the exhibition and our Keiskamma group were warmly welcomed by Maren and her team.
The music students - Thabo, Thabiso, Sandiswe and Wonke - performed at a concert and at a church service on Ascension Thursday. During the visit, a new support group, 'Keiskamma Germany' was created, thanks to the hard work of our friends there: Eva Schäflein, Yannic Herrenknecht and Paulus van der Merwe.
Our Keiskamma group were touched by the warmth of the welcome they received. Yannic escorted the students around the harbour where they saw a special parade of ships which really enchanted them. Dinner at Yannic's parents' home was another treat which everyone really enjoyed.
The comments and reflections below give a flavour of this very special journey:
'I believe it is this kind of connection that is where the true Keiskamma Trust lives and works and thank everyone in Germany for their hospitality and G T Ferreira for buying the altar piece and thus making this trip possible and for allowing it to travel' Carol Hofmeyr
'It is with gratitude towards Carol and the Keiskamma art project that four keiskamma music students were able to perform in Hamburg at the 6 week exhibition of the Keiskamma Altarpiece.
It was a privilege to witness the broadening of world view for our students. Thabo, Thabiso, Sandisiwe and Wonke did Keiskamma proud. Audiences commented on their open and spirited yet disciplined behaviour and performances.
They played Vivaldi (with added Uhadi bow) and several arrangements of traditional Xhosa music: Ubuhle Bendoda was performed as an impromptu reworking of Daniel Hutchinson's arrangement, making the best of the small ensemble.
Jen Hoyer's arrangement of "Children Playing" incorporating several Xhosa melodies was beautiful, as was the very touching performance of I Zolani, also arranged by Jen Hoyer.
Apart from the performances, the students were able to watch their old friend and teacher, Paulus, teaching a master class, as well as participating in a class themselves with recorder teacher, Anabel Roeser.
The special Keiskamma event was titled; 'Building Bridges' and we really felt that we made strong and meaningful connections, building bridges for a future together. Helen Vosloo
Carol and Nomfusi opening the panels
We went to Germany, four students from Keiskamma Music Academy. We had our first concert in the church. We played two pieces. The audience liked our music very much. After the concert I felt happy. We went to the harbour and we saw the buildings and the ships.
We saw Yannic, Anne, Lisa, Eva and Yannic''s family.
I liked everything in Germany! Sandisiwe
Sandisiwe and Nobue
On Wednesday we played 10 pieces in the church, and we played so beautifully, especially the Andante (Vivaldi) because we played it with a Uhadi bow. I also played the Djembe. We played Ubuhle Bendoda and it was also very nice.
After we finished playing there was a grandmother who gave us food that we ate. After that Yannic took us to the harbour and told us about it and we also took some pictures.
The best thing that I enjoyed was going to the harbour and going to Yannic's house for supper and being on the aeroplane.
Our first flight was from East London to Johannesburg. The second plane was very very big and we landed in Dubai. On the plane I thought I was going to vomit, but I didn’t, I only got dissy. It had a small TV in front of you, so you could decide if you wanted to play games or watch movies (but not bad movies that are not allowed for you). You also had a pillow and blanket on your seat.
IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE TO ME TO GO TO GERMANY Wonke
Thabo, Wonke, Sandisiwe and Thabiso with Yannic
For me, going to Germany was a very big experience because opportunities like that don't only just come to you.
We had three concerts there, on Thursday there was a church function in the cathedral. We played three pieces and we enjoyed it a lot. After the concert we left and went to the harbour. it was beautiful.
I loved spending the evening with Yannic's family. I also loved being with Helen's family in Johannesburg. It was so exciting being there again.
In Germny I have learnt how to be a leader and how to communicate to people in an open way. Thabo
The quartet in front of the Altarpiece
We went to a Masterclass on Friday. We had lessons with a professional recorder player, Annabelle.
She taught, showed and helped us with our struggles in music. She explained what do you do to make music have a meaning, make it more alive.
The most thing I loved about Germany was the friendly people we met and the people who helped us with setting up and organising us everything.
I really enjoyed it at the harbour, and walking around the 'other Hamburg'! Thabiso