The Arts Alive Festival hosts a concert at Zoo Lake for the people of Johannesburg on the first Saturday in September. This year was no exception. However, this year there were several other events as part of the Arts Alive Festival, not least of which was the Spring Day Concert at UJ.
The first half of the concert featured the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Wind Band. Then there was a picnic lunch on the UJ Arts Centre forecourt and lawn where small groups of people enjoyed their lunch. After this the three way agreement between the University of Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company and Popcru whereby UJ would provide a new home for the JYOC and Popcru would pay (about R3 million) for its renovation was signed. This is a significant investment in the future of South African music. The JYOC is training about 600 musicians a year.
Then the main event, the one most of the audience were dying to hear, sponsored by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.
This was a collaborative performance of The Yellow River Piano Concerto by visiting Chinese pianist, Mr Xue Xiaoqiu, and conductor, Mr Lei Yu with the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra. It was splendid and everyone did so well. The audience kept applauding between movements in their enthusiasm, and Mr Lei Yu was sufficiently gracious to acknowlege their applause briefly rather than expressing obvious annoyance over the breach of “acceptable” behaviour (silence between movements)
The day was cool – “Spring Day” is always celebrated on 1 September and is, in fact, still in winter, with the spring solstice only happening on 22/23 September. In spite of the cold, the hearts of everyone in the audience were warmed by the wonderful performance.
What a great way to celebrate “spring”.