Thursday, May 31, 2007

Durban and the Coast

I found out that the Durban chapel is the farthest church building from Salt Lake City. Pretty cool fact, huh? After arriving in this fantastic city, we did a little sightseeing before holding a workshop with the local univesity and music faculty. Basically, our conductor explained why we sound the way we do and how he has accomplished that. I have learned that we do sound different from other choirs. Our sound is lyrical, light, and in tune. After listening to other choirs in South Africa, I have come to understand that they are used to a dark, heavier sound kind of like an opera chorus. It's the kind of sound that just blows you away and never gives up. We are much different and, personally, I prefer our sound since we can a wider range of music. Anyway, enough of that boring analysis!

During our stay in Durban we sang in the beautiful city hall. This gorgeous building is huge and quite old. We sang with another choir from the university. We were the main performers but they sang a few songs including one traditional song that we sang with them. The audience loved the concert! In fact, representatives from the city were there and they showed their appreciation for us by presenting us with gifts. A great experience.

We also spent time at the beach in Durban. The Indian Ocean is warm and wonderful. I wish we would have had more time to swim and lounge around but we didn't. Nevertheless, I did wade in the water for a bit. We also visited a traditional Zulu village. They sang and danced for us in traditional clothes. I loved it! I have a video of their dance that I will have to show you. They were so much fun and they loved having us. It's basically a tourist attraction but it shows how the Zulu people live traditionally. After they performed for us, we sang an African American spiritual for them. They went crazy over it. One guy, after the song finished, ran over to a drum and started pounding on it like crazy while yelling in the air!

The next couple of days saw us in severall different cities. We traveled along the coast visiting some gorgeous towns and cities where we held concerts and firesides. At one point we met up with some BYU students who were conducting a field study for school. They hung out with us and came to our concert. If I ever did live in South Africa, I would either live in Durban or one of these coastal cities. The people were wonderful to us. Their hospitality sometimes just brought me to tears. In one city, Hermanus, we heard a local community choir sing as an opening to our concert. Afterwards, many of them hosted us in their homes for the night. It was a neat experience staying the night with some of these choir people who were not members of the church. This tour has been such a great opportunity for missionary work. I didn't have a chance to directly teach anyone the gospel but seeds have been planted and the missionaries in these areas will hopefully be able to reap what we have tried to sow.

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