The Music goes on

The Symphony Choir of Cape Town in the time of Covid 19

Like all other organisations that rely on public performances, the Symphony Choir has had to put all its intended plans for future programmes on hold.  That is not to say that we have been inactive during this time.  Thanks to Alexander Fokkens, our musical director, and his wife Margaret who is also our regular accompanist, we have continued rehearsals as best we can by means of social media platforms – Facebook and Zoom.  Although not the most desirable way of rehearsing, it has given us an opportunity to expand our repertoire and to prepare ourselves as best we can, for the time when we will be able to hold concerts again, in whatever way that will be possible in the new uncertain future.

We had planned to present the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and the Haydn Nelson Mass in May followed by the Beethoven Mass in C and his Choral Fantasia in October, but both of those concerts have had to be indefinitely postponed.  However, we have been working through the music of both of these programmes so that it will not take very long for us to be ready to present them as soon as we can.  

Other choirs and musical groups are presenting concerts on social media free of charge and relying on donations.  We have decided not to do so for various reasons, mostly because for a group such as ours to do it properly and to present the sort of music which we normally perform, the cost would be too high for us to be able to continue doing so for any length of time unless we were able to guarantee a substantial volume of donations. We are considering options, however, so watch this space.

At the moment, the one concert that looks most likely to go ahead is the annual outdoor Festive Concert traditionally held in early to mid December on the lawns of Groot Constantia.  We are in discussions with the estate and a possible sponsor and we hope that we will be able to present something again this year.  Depending on what we will be allowed to do and, considering the safety of singers, musicians and the public, this may require us to impose certain safety measures, but we will decide that closer to the time. We will keep you informed.

Lastly we are very sad to announce the passing of one of our long standing members, Professor Kathleen Collins and also of Sue Ward, a former member and wife of John, an even longer standing member of our choir.  Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to their families and dear ones.

Weekly talks by Alex Fokkens

During the first couple of months of lockdown, we started a series of weekly talks via Facebook live during which Alex chatted about a variety of music related topics. All these sessions have been saved on the choir Facebook Page so if you missed them and would like to listen, that’s where you can find them.


Beethoven Missa Solemnis at Sarah Baartman Hall, UCT with the UCT Orchestra in October 2019 . Photograph by Terry Levin


The choir logo as well as all graphic design for our publicity is the work of choir member Gretchen Van Der Byl


For more information about joining the choir, follow the “Sing with Us” link. The membership of the choir is currently at full capacity but please submit an application anyway and we will put you onto our waiting list.

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Please consult the information about specific upcoming concerts in order to find out how to book.