A GALA OCCASION!
Sesquicentennial Anniversary … now there’s a term not heard too often! It means that there’s to be a 150th birthday milestone being celebrated this year by St Katharine’s Anglican Church, Uitenhage – an imposing Victorian building at the heart of this historical Eastern Cape town, which lies some 24km West of Port Elizabeth.
Complementing the high Victorian architecture of the large Town Hall and Victoria Tower, completed in 1882 and 1898 respectively, nearby St Katharine’s Church was built in Victorian Gothic -Revival style, like many of Uitenhage’s historic public building, on an grand scale befitting ambitions then widely cherished of Uitenhage’s being proclaimed the Eastern Capital of the Cape Colony.
Building of the Church, using locally quarried rough-hewn stone, began with the laying of the foundation stone in 1867. Under slate since 1966, St Katharine’s treasures include some exquisite stained glass, a magnificent memorial reredos and the entirely original 1911 Norman and Beard 18 stop organ.
The instrument, powerful enough to lead a capacity congregation of almost 300, will be in action at the Gala Concert of Choral, Brass and Organ Music scheduled for 29 April at 6pm. The visiting twenty voice Choir of the Cathedral Church of St Cyprian the Martyr, Kimberley, will be under the baton of their Cathedral Organist and Master of the Choristers, Peter Black, and will be joined by a further dozen local singers, members of the newly re-founded Port Elizabeth Choristers.
Professor Erik Albertyn’s Brass and Percussion Ensemble (comprising three trumpets, three trombones, French Horn and Timpani) from Nelson Mandela University, with three young virtuoso organists sharing the organ bench, complete the line-up of musicians who will perform choral, brass and organ showpieces, the programme containing a variety of powerfully moving music from the past 350 years.
After a portentous opening anthem by the Irish composer Sir Charles Wood, the gentler delights of Purcell and Wesley give way to more intense early to later 20th century pieces by Sir Edward Bairstow, John Ireland and Benjamin Britten, interpolated by some familiar and bravura organ interludes. The hour-long concert programme ends, appropriately, with the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s ‘Messiah’.
The evening, however, continues with a very smart cheese and wine sampling in St Katharine’s Hall after the concert, to which all adult audience members are invited. This is an opportunity to meet and greet the visiting concert performers and, with the St Katharine’s Church ‘family’, to celebrate an important and ongoing contribution to the town and its community for the past 150 years.
Seating at the concert is largely unreserved. Tickets, priced at R100, which includes the cheese and wine tasting, are selling fast. Extremely limited or zero availability of tickets on the night at the door is anticipated! To avoid disappointment, please purchase of your tickets now.
These are available online at www.quicket.co.za
or between 09h00-12h00 at the ticket kiosk in St Katharine’s Church Office, Market Street, Uitenhage, telephone 041 992 1983.
Secure, attended parking will be available in the Church grounds and precincts from 17h00-20h30 on evening of the concert.
Please note that the dress code is smart