During the second term, principal Daniel Pieterse approached teacher Esteline de Jager about forming a choir at the school. Esteline, an accomplished musician and singer herself, had noticed how much the children enjoyed singing in class, and felt that many showed considerable talent.
Esteline and her husband Roberto, who is the District Music Coordinator for the New Apostolic Church, held auditions at the end of last term, and selected over 30 youngsters who were both keen and showed promise as singers.
The first performance for the newly-formed choir came rather more quickly than expected, as they were asked to sing at Aalwynhof Home for the Aged on Mandela Day, the day after the beginning of term! In the short time available, Esteline taught them two hymns, in English. When asked how the children managed to learn the words so quickly, in a language that most are not fluent in, she explained her specialt method. “When I am conducting the choir, I sing the words myself, enunciating the words very clearly with exaggerated opening of my mouth. When the children copy me, the correct sounds come out” she explained!
At present, the choir is singing with one voice, training using the tonic sol-fah system. As the children gain in confidence, Esteline hopes to be able to introduce a second voice, with harmonies.
At this stage, the choir leads the school in singing the school song and national anthem at the weekly assembly. Esteline, who teaches all classes form grades 4 to 7, spends 10 minutes of the first two periods every day singing with her classes (not just the choir members), and she finds this a wonderful way to get the children motivated to learn at the beginning of the day.