On Sunday 15 August at 15h00 a very special event will take place at the Linder Auditorium. Richard Cock will conduct another in the ‘Songs of Praise’ series that have been so overwhelmingly popular.
Throughout the history of the people of God their praise and worship have been expressed in song. The Psalms give us a wonderful introduction to the wonder and scope of this response to, and interaction with, God – something that has continued down the ages and is still alive and vibrant today. Some songs have proved more popular than others and have remained current, whilst others hover on the fringe as ‘golden oldies’. Many re-appear as their words take on a special meaning for people in today’s world, and new expressions of worship keep appearing. When sung by a full choir, and with the backing of the Symphony Orchestra, the ‘Songs of Praise’ become not just an entertaining couple of hours, but a spiritually, mentally and emotionally uplifting experience. There will be moments when ‘your vest goes up your back like a venetian blind!’
Originally the brainchild of the BBC’s Donald Baverstock, the initial ‘Songs of Praise’ was performed in the Albert Hall in London. The first broadcast took place in October 1961, from The Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cardiff. It is now one of the longest running TV shows in the world. Since its beginning the show has visited over 1800 churches and sung over 12500 hymns. In South Africa the first presentation was in 1992, following on a suggestion by Revd Keith du Plessis. Now about 10 performances take place annually – ranging from smaller productions to this full-scale occasion.
Its widespread popularity is not only in the way that the listener is drawn into the music and words. The range of the programme ensures that it appeals to people of all ages and musical tastes. It is an enjoyable experience for the whole family.
It would be difficult to imagine anyone other than Richard Cock preparing the show, training the choir and conducting the orchestra and the whole production. He has a wonderful ability to engage with all those involved and to draw the best from them. And anyone who has been to his other productions will know the special gift that he has in interacting with an audience of all ages. In fact he says that, for him, the best part of being a conductor is “interaction with the audience and getting people to share my own love for music.” His dream for classical music in South Africa is for it to become part of everyone’s life, because “It has so much to offer.”
For those who wish to extend their musical appreciation and experience, in some wonderful surroundings, click on the link to Richard’s website. Coming up are Starlight Classics at the Country Club, the Spring Series at Northwards, (the home built for the Dale Lace’s in Parktown), Baroque in the Bush, in the Kruger Park, Carmina Burana at the Linder, Gilbert and Sullivan at the Linder, and Christmas with Richard Cock. You could find yourselves to be delightfully occupied for the rest of the year!
“Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains”
Bookings can be made through Computicket. For further information on Richard’s productions follow the links alongside.