Johannesburg Bach Choir: 3rd Edition Newsletter
EDITION 3  l  OCT/NOV 2013
Dear Lover of Choral Music

Since our last newsletter we have certainly been busy. July saw a young man proposing to his beloved while the Johannesburg Bach Choir intoned a romantic song in a candle-lit atmosphere. This rather unusual event serves to underline the diverse applications of choral singing. We do not only put on concerts, soirées and provide the backing song of soldiers or village folk in operas. Indeed, we are also available for singing at weddings, funerals, engagements and, of course in radio advertisements or jingles.

Last month we assisted with a fundraising concert at the Anthroposophical Group’s Rudolf Steiner Centre. Our rendition of well-loved melodies by Bach, Mozart, Rutter and Mendelssohn was interspersed with some instrumental numbers by our conductor Tim Roberts and accompanist, Owen Franklin. There were humorous readings and some arias and songs performed by countertenor Schoeman Smit and our own tenor, Kevin Martin. A boisterous audience joined in with a rendition of Flanders and Swann’s Hippopotamus Song. If you weren’t there, you missed a really jolly afternoon. Thanks to the Anthroposophical Group for hosting this event.

Our rehearsals for Mendelssohn’s Elijah are on track. The first concert is on 27 October at St Martin’s-in-the-Veld. The next performance will take place at St Margaret’s in Bedfordview on 3 October while the final one will be on 10 November at St Thomas’ in Linden. All concerts begin at 15:00. Soloists are: Aubrey Lodewyk, baritone; Marnus Greyling, organ; Owen Franklin, harpsichord and narrator. Tim Roberts will be conducting. We hope to see you there!

Best musical wishes
Reiner Fossati: Chairman


Browsing the Archives

Next year will be the choir’s 50th anniversary. Ken Fuller, the choir’s original chairman, has written a history covering the years 1964 to 2000 that can be found on the website. I have been browsing the archives to bring the history up to date.
The survival of the choir has been due to the tenacity of a number of key people and in this first article I would like to make reference to those who made things happen. We have been fortunate to have had dedicated and talented musical directors as well as performing under some international and local conductors.The table below shows our musical directors:

Name Years Where Now
Tony Fell 1964 – 1974 MD of Boosey and Hawkes. Deceased.
John Mitchell 1974 – 1979 ? Deceased?
Robin Walton 1979 – 1981 Music Professor. Retired.
Weiss Doubell 1982 –1984 Head of Pro-Musica Productions, Roodepoort. Retired.
Eberhard Künkel 1984 – 1990 ?
Colin Yorke 1990 – 1994 Broadcaster. Semi-retired.
Doug Reid 1994 –1995 Music Professor. Retired
Colin Yorke 1995 – 2002 Broadcaster. Semi-retired
Walter Butt 2003 – 2004 ?
Colin Yorke 2005 – 2006 Broadcaster. Semi-retired
Dario Broccardo 2006 – 2009 Music Teacher Port Elizabeth
Tim Roberts 2010 – present Principal Conductor SA Ballet Theatre Sinfonia

In addition we have also been conducted either just as the Bach Choir or in collaboration with other choir(s) by:
Anton Hartman (1973), Maurice Handford (1979, 1980, 1981), Richard Dufallo 1985), Gabor Ötvös (1986, 1989, 1992), Enrique Garcia-Asensio (1987), Paul Capolongo (1988), Reinhard Schwarz (1989), Heinz Rosner (1997), Sir David Willcocks (1997, 1998), Prof Georg Biller (1998), Richard Cock (2003), Weiss Doubell (2003, 2004, 2005. 2006, 2008).
Then too, there has been the unstinting work behind the scenes by various chairmen and their committees. The table below gives a list

Name Service
Ken Fuller 1974 – 1994
Dave Kinghorn 1994 – 2004
Leigh Evans 2004 – 2005
Kathy Whiteley 2005 – 2008
Sydney Derman 2008 – 2012
Reiner Fossati 2012 – present

Henry Blagden also deserves mention for long service. He sang in the choir’s first concert in 1964 and has been the choir’s librarian since 1981.
The next “Browsing the archives” will take the form of recollections.

A bit about Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn is regarded by classical music aficionados and critics alike, as one of the most prolific and gifted composers the world has ever known.  Even those who could not name any of his works have heard it, as his "Wedding March" from "A Midsummer Night's Dream", which has accompanied many a bride down the aisle.

Whether he was born with his incredible talent or was the product of an artistically and intellectually-inclined family will remain a mystery, but like all prodigies, Mendelssohn showed signs of true genius from childhood. 

Regarded by some critics as the 19th century equivalent of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and others as a great composer whose contribution would have been greater, had his life been marred with fewer hardships, everyone should agree that he deserves his place amongst the best, and most influential.


Upcoming Events & Announcements

Felix Mendelssohn: German composer, pianist, organist and conductor


The Johannesburg Bach Choir will be presenting this magnificent work three times

15:00 on Sunday, 27 Oct

St Martin's-in-the-veld (corner Cradock and Eastwood Ave, Dunkeld)

15:00 on Sunday, 3 Nov
St Margaret's Anglican Church (9 Harper Rd, Bedfordview)

15:00 on Sunday, 10 Nov
St Thomas' Anglican Church (Corner 8th and 3rd Ave, Linden)

For more info and maps to the venues click here

Tickets: R120
Call Kevin Martin on
011 706 4885
The Choir performing


The Johannesburg Bach Choir is always on the lookout for enthusiastic new singers.

Visit our website, or contact Pamela Werrell on 011 467 2378 or 082 707 7317. We rehearse on Monday evenings at St Columba’s in Parkview.

Member's Bio

Member Bio: Rob Greenish

Rob Greenish: Head of Finance, Africa at Thomson Reuters

When I moved to South Africa a year ago, I wanted to find a choir to sing in to continue the enjoyment that I had gained from singing in a local choir in London. After a bit of research, I decided that the Bach Choir looked the friendliest and most welcoming – and had a suitably nearby practice hall! I was proven right, and have found the choir extremely welcoming indeed. Somehow I seem to have been the only choir member who avoided doing an audition after joining, but perhaps helping as a rehearsal pianist where necessary showed it wasn't essential in my case.

Since I joined we have had a concert of Christmas music at the end of last year, a series of concerts of Bach and Zelenka cantatas this autumn and we are currently finalising rehearsals of a Mendelssohn oratorio. Next year is the magnificent Bach B Minor Mass, which will form part of the choir's 50th anniversary celebrations - something I am really looking forward to singing as I haven't done so before. It is an ambitious piece of music but I am sure the choir will step up to the mark! It is good to see the Bach choir living up to its name so regularly as well.


Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.

The Johannesburg Bach Choir in November 1969 in the German School Hall
Copyright © 2013 Johannesburg Bach Choir, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp