In a delightful showcase of musical talent, North-West University (NWU) lecturer Thomas Erlank and second-year BA student Sisikelelwe Mngenela took the spotlight as soloists in Salon Music's enchanting Christmas Concert recording.
The recording took place in Studio M1 at the SABC in Johannesburg. Accompanied and guided by Dr Antoinette Olivier, the duo's outstanding performance promises to mesmerise audiences nationwide.
Set to be screened on Brooklyn Theatre TV and broadcast by Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) in December, this musical extravaganza is poised to spread festive joy and highlight the extraordinary talents of Thomas and Sisikelelwe. The performance also features organist Betsie Schaap, a string orchestra, and the Idaju vocal ensemble choir conducted by Schalk van der Merwe.
Dr Olivier says the collaboration between the NWU School of Music Conservatory Choir, Salon Music and the Brooklyn Theatre started in 2017 with performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, and opera concerts.
Dr Olivier recommended Thomas and Sisikelelwe after Brooklyn TV approached her earlier this year to recommend two artists to participate in the 2023 Christmas Concert. She also played a crucial role in selecting works for the programme and provided vocal coaching for Sisikelelwe. All musical arrangements were expertly crafted by Willem Vogel, the artistic director of Salon Music/Brooklyn TV.
The concert will be featured on Brooklyn TV's paid channel from 1 December 2023, and viewers can access it by registering at www.artmusic.tv. The radio broadcast by RSG is scheduled for 24 and 25 December.
Sisikelelwe says she is grateful for the valuable learning experience.
“This collaboration allowed me to apply classroom skills in a real-world setting. I am grateful for the hands-on experience, and for Dr Olivier’s mentorship and support in ensuring that I was well-prepared for the event.”
She adds that collaborating on a high-profile recording project such as this opens the doors to professional development and networking opportunities. “This as a chance to build connections within the music industry and enhance my reputation as a young singer.”
Thomas says he is grateful for the smooth programme execution, and that the orchestra, conducted by Maestro Van der Merwe, performed beautifully and professionally. “I am thankful for Dr Olivier's valuable contributions, leveraging her experience as a performer and her prior connection to Salon Music organisers, which facilitated a seamless process leading up to and during the recording day. Dr Olivier served as a great support to both Sisikelelwe and myself.”
Thomas Erlank and Sisikelelwe Mngenela – under the skilled guidance of Dr Antoinette Olivier (middle) – graced the stage as soloists during Salon Music's Christmas Concert recording.