Only exceptional artistry for RMB Starlight Classics at the Country Club, Johannesburg.
The RMB Starlight Classics is the most anticipated event on any music lover’s calendar, the line-up included SAMA-winning vocalists LIRA and Kahn Morbee and exceptional dance performances by Joburg Ballet and MIDM, all supported by the talented Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company.
Kahn Morbee, the enigmatic frontman and vocalist of The Parlotones, lent his distinct and exceptional vocal ability to some South African favourites, including classics from The Parlotones. Morbee’s 17- year career fronting one of South Africa’s top rock/pop bands has seen him receive acknowledgement across the globe, as well as a reputation for enthralling audiences with his compelling stage presence. The Parlotones have seen extraordinary successes, with the band headlining the 20 000-seater Coca-Cola Dome and playing in the historic FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Concert to an audience of a billion.
Recently, Morbee has been working simultaneously on his solo career, performing as KAHN. His 2015 debut solo album, Salt, was launched to critical acclaim and received a SAMA nomination in 2016. He was also one of the coaches in the first season of The Voice South Africa and is currently working on a second album, to be launched in 2017.
Fellow The Voice South Africa coach and SAMA-Award winning songstress, LIRA was another much-anticipated feature on the RMB Starlight Classics stage this year, also backed by the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra (JFO) and Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company (JYOC).
Internationally renowned contemporary African dance company, Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM), has already had an exciting year. They began the year touring Jessica Nupen’s Rebellion and Johannesburg throughout Germany, had a spellbinding season entitled FEATHERS at the Wits 969 Festival and at the National Arts Festival, and joined with Tshwane Dance Theatre and Cape Dance Company for an exciting collaborative programme in August. MIDM has continued their award-winning streak that has become characteristic, with choreographer and dancer, Oscar Buthelezi, winning the prestigious Kurt Jooss Prize in Germany earlier this year.
For RMB Starlight Classics, the company teamed up with award-winning violinist, Samson Diamond. Buthelezi has choreographed unique pieces to Camille Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and William Haubrich’s ‘Amathunda: Summer Stormy Weather’ (an arrangement of Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘Summer’ from The Four Seasons), both played by Diamond.
Since its establishment in 2001, Joburg Ballet has come to be known as the country’s largest and most prestigious professional ballet company. Their extensive repertoire includes some much-loved classics, such as Swan Lake, Giselle and Don Quixote, as well as more contemporary works by celebrated South African choreographers such as Veronica Paeper, Gregory Maqoma and Sean Bovim. Joburg Ballet performed The Dying Swan danced by Kitty Phetla, accompanied by French Romantic composer, Camille Saint-Saëns and performed by Samson Diamond, the JFO and JYOC.
The Mzansi Youth Choir (MYC), under the baton of their musical director, Ralf Schmitt, provided an exquisite, youthful sound’, ‘pulsating energy, buoyancy and vibrancy’. Widely regarded as the best show choir in South Africa, and currently comprising 45 choristers, the MYC has performed at such prestigious events as the Presidential Inauguration, alongside Shakira and Freshlyground at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off and Final Concerts for the official World Cup song, ‘WakaWaka’, as well as with Andrea Bocelli. They have toured the globe, performing in Canada, Denmark, England, Scotland and Turkey, often receiving standing ovations.
Powerful vocalists and talented singers are always a highlight of RMB Starlight Classics, and this year included Nicholas Nicolaidis, Goitsemang Lehobye, Minette du Toit-Pearce, Monde Msutwana and Thembeka Mnguni.
Multitalented Nicholas Nicolaidis, a familiar voice at RMB Starlight Classics, is popular both as an award-winning lyric tenor and conductor. Music has been a life-long passion for Nicolaidis, who spent four years at the celebrated Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School before completing his schooling at St John’s College. While studying a Bachelor of Music Degree at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), Nicolaidis received both the Elizabeth Connell/SAMRO and Joyce Barker Vocal Awards.
Goitsemang Lehobye, whose soprano voice has been described as ‘one of the most beautiful voices imaginable’, has achieved many successes in a relatively short time frame. She has shared the stage with international stars like American opera singer and cantor, Neil Shicoff and Johan Botha, with an international debut as a soloist at the New Year’s Ball in Helsinki, Finland in 2013. Her place as a renowned South African singer was cemented earlier in 2013 when she won both the Mimi Coertse and the Schock Foundation Singing Competition. Lehobye performed two duets with classically trained oratorio soloist and lieder singer, Minette du Toit-Pearce.
Monde Msutwana and Thembeka Mnguni are living proof that entering reality talent shows can be a starting point for a successful music career. Msutwana, who came third in IdolsSA in 2012, studied jazz at Tshwane University of Technology and worked as a marketing assistant for a record label, while simultaneously trying to establish a music career for himself, before he entered the competition. While it hasn’t been smooth sailing, it took him three years to produce his selffunded 2015 album, Introspection; Msutwana is successfully building up a brand as a soulful South African singer.
Mnguni, who became known for her powerhouse vocals on The Voice South Africa, is no stranger to the stage as she previously toured the world with theatre impresario, Pieter Toerien’s productions of the musicals Grease and High School Musical and she was nominated for a Naledi Award for Best Newcomer. Since reaching the top eight of The Voice South Africa, Mnguni has signed a recording contract with Universal Music and released a single, ‘Brave’ at the end of July.
All images are courtesy of RMB Starlight Classics. For more information, please visit their website.