Our last group of boys arrived safe and sound today. They loaded the bus and departed for St. Cyprian's Cathedral.

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As they entered the church hall, they were greeted by the most spirited version of Shosholoza I've ever heard. Shortly before the boys arrived, I asked our South African friends from the Institute Choir what song we should sing as a welcome song and they all shouted "Shosholoza." And so they and the 44 Keystone Boys sang them into the "kraal" with this most beloved folk song. (think "When the Saints Go Marching In.") As the younger Trebles entered the room they joined the circle, and the South Africans immediately gravitated to them and embraced them with traditional hand shakes and hugs, bathing them in those beautiful voices.

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We then sang "Nkosi Sikeleli." History: our boys learned the melody of this piece, which contains four (maybe more) different languages representing the Rainbow Nation that is South Africa. Over the course of the last few days, with each performance of the piece, our boys have picked up the harmony lines from their South African friends. They've learned it aurally in the tradition of township singing. The blossoming of this piece has been a joy to witness. We then sang our own National Anthem. How thrilled the South Africans were to hear real live Americans singing a song they've only heard on television.
We then broke out into a South African folk song we've been singing the last few days - you'll hear it and several others when we get back. The new guys, God bless them, just jumped in. You can't do anything but be swept up and swept away by this music. It's absolute bliss. Out of the corner of my eye, in the frenzy of music-making, I caught Mrs. Case - who arrived with the younger Trebles - welled up with tears. So glad to bring her to tears of joy for a change. LOL.

Speaking of, I told the boys that if they don't fill up with tears at least ten times on this concert tour, then they're robots. The boys immediately and openly admitted to the neighbors that they had already cried. This is the power of music making with boys in a boychoir setting. It allows them to express themselves emotionally and still feel "manly." The spirit of a boychoir is 100% male, but in a way that allows the boys to stay connected to their feelings. Their future spouses will thank us later!

There are a hundred moments every day where I wish you the parents could be a fly on the wall. When a South African soprano who spots one of our sopranos who is "movement challenged" and instinctively comes behind him, cradles him, and helps him to move in sync with the group. The South African bass who sings in the ear of one of our basses to correct a pitch, and then gives the KSB bass a thumbs up, which is then followed by a traditional handshake. When the South Africans beam at the sight and sound of 68 American boys singing their traditional music with the same passion they sing it themselves. Each day is an embarrassment of musical riches. Can't wait to see more beaming faces - South African and American - tomorrow.



Link for Flickr Pics - Group 3 Arrives

Oh, I almost forgot. Before the younger Trebles arrived, we did an impromptu concert for Economic students from the Oprah Winfrey School. (Oprah built a school just south of Jo'burg.) They are on a tour themselves, studying the economic history of Kimberley. As they were of high school age, you won't be surprised that they were taken by our Graduates, which of course our Graduates basked in it. We told the girls to call Oprah and let her know she should have us on her show. Then we realized her show just ended. Isn't that just our luck. But who knows where it might lead...

1 am here. Off to bed for a little sleep. 6:45am interview with SABC. (equivalent of the BBC in South Africa) The South African Press has picked up on our "Happy Birthday, Madiba!" concert tour with our commitment to 67 minutes of service in each city we visit. My cell phone has been ringing off the hook. Very cool. We also are featured in the South African Airways in-flight magazine. I didn't see it, as the July magazine was not out when I came over. You can imagine the boys excitement when they discovered it on the flight over. I was told one of our boys shrieked when he saw it. "Yo, page 22, check it out!" All the boys raced for page 22, and there we were. Colored picture and all, with a blurb about us being the first choir to have sung on all seven continents. Apparently, fellow passengers were impressed to be traveling with celebrities. And they are that. Your songs are a terrific face of American youth to the world.

Okay, really signing off now. More later...


Link for Flickr Pics - July 8