“God is there” in music

The Chief Apostle also sang along, but only during the opening hymn. Then he left the stage to the choir, orchestra, and the children’s choir for the 2023 Pentecost concert. During the last piece, the audience was allowed to sing along once more.

“Don’t worry, I am not allowed to preach, and I don’t want to preach. We came together to enjoy the music and that’s what we will do. Music please!” With these words Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider opened the 2023 Pentecost concert in Cape Town in South Africa, leaving the stage to conductor Chad Hendricks.

“Benedictus”, meaning blessed, was the title of the first piece. The piece by Karl Jenkins begins with a tender and haunting cello solo. The orchestra gradually adopts the melody. Finally, the choir also joins in the gentle melody. The chorus develops into a powerful song of praise with kettledrums and trumpets. The piece ends as hauntingly and emotionally as it began.

A musical journey

The concert continued dynamically and powerfully with a work by the French composer Charles Gounod. “Unfold, ye portals”. The solemn piece for choir and orchestra is part of the oratorio La Rédemption (The Redemption). It was a powerful rendition by the choir in praise of Pentecost and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

With the next piece, “Chorus of the Hebrew slaves”, also known as “Va, pensiero”, the choir and orchestra advanced towards Italy. Giuseppe Verdi composed the work in 1842 as part of the opera Nabucco. The musicians took the captivity of the Hebrews to a musical level.

The next stop on the journey was England with a piece by John Rutter, “The heavenly aeroplane”. The work describes the return of Christ in a modern image and musically imagines Jesus taking His own into His glory by aeroplane. “Get your ticket for an aeroplane ride”, the men’s and women’s choirs alternately called into the audience.

Europe, Australia, Africa

The children’s choir was eagerly awaited and warmly welcomed by the audience. It sang the piece “Circle of life”, written by the British singer Elton John and the South African composer Lebo M for the musical The Lion King. Together with tenor soloist Daylin Sass, the children, under the direction of Cathy-Jane Mintoor, thrilled the audience with this piece from the Disney classic.

The Cape Town Children’s Choir also mesmerised the audience with their performance of “The power of Your love” by Australian singer-songwriter Geoff Bullock. The children sang clear as a bell about the power of God’s love and ended with a powerful hallelujah.

This was followed by "Baba Yethu", the Lord's Prayer in Swahili. The American Christopher Tin composed a work with this title in 2005. The children’s choir, together with the tenor soloist, performed the sung prayer and musically transported the audience, who were tuned in live from all parts of the world, to South Africa.

Own productions and classics

Two pieces on the programme were own productions by the Regional Church Southern Africa: “I will lift up mine eyes” by Walter Cupido and an arrangement of “The Lord is my light” by John Rodriques, the head of music of the New Apostolic Church Southern Africa. The audience were thrilled and rewarded both performances with thunderous applause.

The last piece on the programme was “Glorious, glorious is the Work of God”, a well-known classic. Emanuel Gohle’s works, composed in the style of the revival song, have become classics of New Apostolic music culture. In this arrangement by Walter Cupido, the choir and orchestra were joined by trumpets, a vocal quartet, and the audience at the end.

God’s message made audible

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. It was incredible, it was beautiful, it was perfect,” the Chief Apostle said. God’s message: “Don’t be afraid, I am here”, could be heard and felt through the voices and instruments. “And for the rest of the sermon, you’ll have to come tomorrow,” he said with a smile.

The concert was performed in the Silvertown Auditorium, a church that was remodelled into a part-time concert hall back in 2004. Numerous musical events have been broadcast from this church in Cape Town. Several CD and DVD productions have been made here, also with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. The church offers seating for around 1,600 visitors.

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