For the first time in Naledi Theatre Awards history, all the music on the night will be performed live.
The musicians tasked with this are none other than Gauteng’s premier orchestral training organisation, The Johannesburg Youth Orchestra (JYO), conducted by Eddie Clayton.
With a current membership of almost 70 young musicians, with the youngest being just 12 years old, the JYO consists of musicians drawn from teaching programmes within the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company as well as from schools and communities in Soweto and Johannesburg.
“I am very fortunate to have a superb group of young musicians under my baton this year, and despite the huge work load and sheer volume of music, the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra have more than just coped, they have excelled. The audience can expect to be blown away by a young orchestra who are performing, much of the time, at a professional level.” – Eddie Clayton, JYO conductor.
According to Chief Executive Officer of the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra, Susan Rendall, what the JYO lack in age they make up in experience and passion. “Under the direction of conductor, Eddie Clayton, the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra has gone from strength to strength, making it one of the most prestigious and sought after ensembles for young, aspiring musicians.” Rendall says that the JYO presents an exceptionally varied repertoire, from serious classics to contemporary popular music.
Highlights in the orchestra’s collective vocation include two appearances at the SA Tattoo at Monte Casino, the award for Best Ensemble for the past five years at the Johannesburg Festival for the Advancement of Music, a highly successful tour to the National Arts Festival in July 2014, and appearances with local celebrities such as Timothy Moloi, Elvis Blue, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Samantha Peo and Danny K.
On Naledi’s night the JYO will add more impressive names, like Somizi Mhlongo, Timothy Moloi, Candida Mosoma and Jonathan Roxmouth to the list of celebrities they have collaborated with. But besides the big names, Rendall says the JYO’s inclusion really highlights the quality of music these youths are producing. “The Naledi Theatre Awards recognise excellence in the industry. It is most significant, therefore, that an orchestra of the quality of the JYO is included.”
Clayton says his prior win at the Naledi’s, all the work Executive Producers Dawn and Des Lindberg pour into the event, and what the Awards themselves represent have been the driving force behind JYO’s work, to ensure the night of the Awards goes off without a hitch. “I am a great believer in people receiving some form of recognition for the work that they put in to a production, regardless of what their role might be. Very often it is taken for granted that these ‘shows’ and ‘productions’ just kind of happen. It is therefore wonderful to know that all their work is not for naught. I, myself am a Naledi winner and I remember all too well the unbelievable feeling that somewhere, someone recognised the hard work that went into producing our show.”
Dawn Lindberg says the unrelenting dedication the JYO have put into the Naledi Theatre Awards has been absolutely inspiring. “Everyone involved has been incredible; the enthusiasm, energy, excitement and passion for music, especially with the young people, is a rarity in these days of cell phones and social media.” She goes on to say; “There is nothing more nation-building than people of all cultures, creeds, genders and ages making music together in harmony.”
Rendall echoes these sentiments, but directs them toward the Naledi Theatre Awards; “Arts and culture form the backbone of any society. In the South African context, the Naledi’s is an incredibly beautiful way of expressing the diversity that is South Africa. It is critical, therefore, that this is nurtured and, above all, recognised to ensure that, for generations to come, this remains an integral part of the fabric of our society.”
To ensure you don’t miss out on this full night of music from the JYO, as well as star performances by local musicians, and the prestigious Awards themselves, book your tickets on Computicket for R350. Pensioner and student tickets are on sale for R200. Tickets include cocktails, entertainment and the chance to rub shoulders with the country’s top celebrities and performers.