Update from Steve, July 15th:
Sunday in Kimberley
Sunday we began our day singing a high Anglican mass at St. Cyprians Cathedral. It was a great cultural experience – a first hand experience of the European roots in South Africa. The Cathedral is magnificent, majestic and intimate at the same time. I can’t think of a more beautiful place of worship. The boys sat facing each other in the choir stalls in the chancel area in front of the altar. The pomp and circumstance of the Anglican service is impressive. Lots of incense for the boys to over-react to. But the sang beautifully. Of particular note was the trebles’ performance of Faure’s Pie Jesu and the Grads’ performance of O Vos Omnes. Breathtaking. One of the ministers thanked us and said he couldn’t remember the last time the Cathedral was blessed by such beautiful singing.
And then, a remarkable opportunity. We finished the service at 9:45am and by 10:30am we were in the township singing the mass at Fatima Catholic Church in the township. I can’t ever remember a tour opportunity like it. To go from one end of the worship spectrum to the other in 45 minutes. I suppose being in a church, a mosque, and a synagogue in one afternoon in Sofia, Bulgaria comes close. But there, we did not sing in any service, we simply visited them. We sang a few songs for ourselves at the church and the synagogue, but could not sing in the mosque. But I digress.

Here is the link for the photos in this set: July 10
Words will not adequately describe the musical and cultural experience we had in the mass at Fatima. When the unbridled energy, verve and joy of South African singing meets the faithfulness with which black South Africans worship – look out. To say the congregation caught the spirit and ran with it would be a gross understatement. Let’s put it this way. I’ve had the thrilling opportunity to worship in black Baptist churches back home. The Fatima mass makes the typical Baptist service seem reserved. My favorite images were:
  • Watching the priest and altar servers “jam out” for Jesus while the choir sang
  • At one point the choir had seven “conductors” in front of them
  • Jack Schmieg reading, Hunter West taking up the gifts, and Andrew Shaw helping with the collection
After the mass, we sang a mini-concert. It was truly overwhelming. The congregation gathered in close and the ululations from the South African women never stopped. Nkosi Sikeleli and our SA medley were the big hits as usual. And boy do they love our gospel.
Leaving the township, one of our Jewish boys said, “I never got the Jesus thing before, but maybe I’ll convert.” Don’t worry, Jewish parents. He approached me the next day and said he decided that, while Fatima was awesome, he’s sticking with Judaism. Whew!
After another delicious meal catered by Doria (I'll post a recipe for carrots below) the boys sang a collective concert with the Institute singers at St. Cyprian's Cathedral.


Here is the link for the photos in this set: July 10 - Afternoon
We then returned to St. Cyprians for our joint concert with the Institute Choir. Alan Harler conducted the Institute Choir, including our “Early Eight.” I was very proud of them. They sang five pieces from the baroque and classical repertoire and Mr. Harler thanked me afterwards for how much they contributed to the ensemble. He noticed their top-notch singer-musicianship and total dedication to the art of choral singing. Hadida!
We then sang our two joint pieces: El Yivneh Hagalil and Hold Me, Rock Me. Absolutely beautiful. KSB then sang a program of songs which went very well. We ended with a set of new South African songs we had learned over the last few days. Awesome. The boys can’t wait to sing them for you. Especially the one about marrying your cousin. (First-removed, of course)
It was personally gratifying me to witness how successful our time Kimberley had been. It took a lot of time, planning, money, and stress to get the boys to the center of the country. But it was worth it in the end. All of my work in Kimberley over the last sixteen years came together in a way that gave the boys four days they will never forget. To actually make music with South Africans in their community is a priceless gift. Something money that cannot buy. If we had only gone to Kimberley and come home, I believe that all your efforts to get your son to South Africa, would have been worth it. I can’t remember if I’m repeating myself from an earlier blog, but one boy said to me: “Mr. Fisher, you should have put Kimberley last on the itinerary, because nothing could be better than this.” Love that.
More later…