VOX IN THE MEDIA: ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
Port Elizabeth writer Margaret Kollmer has had a poem of hers commissioned as a new Christmas carol in Cape Town. The carol is titled “Christmas in Africa” and it was commissioned by Cape Town’s newest choir, VOX Cape Town, under the direction of John Woodland. The carol, with words by Kollmer and music by Maike Watson of Cape Town, will premiere at two services of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in Cape Town this month. “A recording of the service will also be broadcast on Cape Town’s Fine Music Radio, with an introduction by well-known broadcaster Rodney Trudgeon,” Kollmer said.
Lovers of choral music responded enthusiastically to VOX Cape Town‘s latest musical adventure. Their delightful programme of music from the Baltic region took on the theme of a musical journey. With this in mind, the pulpit area of the St Andrews Presbyterian Church was decorated with sails and barrels, and to add to the feeling of a cold weather sea voyage, warm Glühwein was served before the concert. Moody lighting and ocean sounds completed the pre-concert ambience before the VOX Baltic journey commenced.
“Northern Lights: A Baltic Voyage” is a heavenly ballet of light dancing and music floating across the night sky.
“And Music To Your Ears…” by Melanie Bruce (Published in the BBC Music Magazine, July 2017)
I recently attended a celebration of contemporary choral music by Cape Town’s latest choir, VOX Cape Town, under the direction of John Woodland. He and his singers created an intimate, sensory experience as they showcased the music of Eric Whitacre, demonstrating what powerful beauty there is in the empty moments, the silence. The evening opened with Whitacre’s “This Marriage” – such rich, luscious tone clusters, reminiscent of choral chant. The piece took us beyond ourselves with the exotic, unexpected sounds using hands as well as voices.
VOX Cape Town, the self-styled successor to Barry Smith’s erstwhile St George’s Singers, is on a mission. Over their relatively short existence they have turned themselves into a choir — or “singing group”, as they refer to themselves — with a unique sound. A unique “voice”, too, in the figurative sense of the word. Under the guidance of their choirmaster John Woodland they aim to “invigorate” classical music in Cape Town. But what does that mean?
When VOX and Groot Constantia wines blend together, the outcome is ViniChoral. That’s a name coined by John Woodland, VOX’s founder and director, for a choral presentation to be held on 3 August at 7.30 pm for 8 pm in Groot Constantia Wine Cellar. This, however is no ‘common or garden’ glass in one hand with background yodelling. This is a serious wine tasting event with 30 VOX singers singing carefully-chosen music to complement the wines.
On Friday 21 April at 8 pm, VOX Cape Town under the direction of John Woodland will present “Trust The Silences (Once More)” in the Memorial Chapel at Bishops in Rondebosch. classicsa.co.za spoke to Woodland about his journey from young choral singer to choral conductor and his vision for VOX Cape Town.
“Yearning, despair, life, passion, beauty, tension… The hidden clockwork of the universe.” This is how one singer describes the music in VOX Cape Town’s forthcoming performance, Trust the Silences (Once More). […] Fellow singer and judge, Owen Rogers, summed up the performance in this way: “The music is contemplative, ethereal, sometimes magical – you will be transported to another world, if only for an hour.”
[Hans] Van Heukelum summed up his first “Trust the Silences” experience as, “a mind massage of masterful sound – such delicious clarity of notes that resonated with every fibre of attention. I have never emerged so relaxed from a sound box. John (Woodland) created a sound scene like an opera without intrusions.”