St Nicholas parish pre-Lenten choir camp
Great Lent starts with the Vespers of Forgiveness on Sunday evening 26 February, and the choir of St Nicholas of Japan Church in Brixton, Johannesburg, had a choir camp to practise the music for Lent and Holy Week. This is a guest blog post by Georgia Jammine, the choir director, with photos by Irina Oskolskaya.
On the weekend of Meatfare Sunday, the choir of the Orthodox Church of St Nicholas of Japan in Johannesburg went on a training camp to Mabula Game Lodge, to rehearse all the services of Great Lent and Holy Week. As this is a season with many services that demand time of the choir members, we try to avoid having rehearsals during Lent. A choir camp provides not only the opportunity for intensive practising, but also the opportunity for team building.
We are very fortunate that one of our choir members, Stephen Reynders, has parents Jan and Joan who live permanently at Mabula, and have accommodation to put up guests, and their love and hospitality made the camp possible. We also had access to some timeshare facilities there. In addition, a neighbour who had heard the sounds of the choir from a distance at the last camp, offered more accommodation. All in all we were able to put up eleven members of the choir as well as two husbands, and four children. We all took turns to cater for the meals.
Although the rehearsals were long and hard, they were very enjoyable in such a relaxing and pleasant environment, with the sound of bird life around us. The cherry on top was a game drive provided by Jan Reynders, who is an experienced game ranger. We were fortunate to see elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, black-backed jackal, eland, impala, hartebeest, zebra, wildebeest as well as a host of birds. Apart from Jan’s expertise, two of our group also happen to be botanists, so we were provided with addition input on the bush vegetation. What a treat!
On Sunday morning, we had a Reader’s Service for Meatfare Sunday (Sunday of the Last Judgment), led by Marios Joseph, one of our Readers at St Nicholas. The weekend ended with a traditional braai, as our last meat meal before Pascha.
We regard St Nicholas as our “home” parish, even though other duties, and distance, means we are not able to get there very often these days. But we do try to get there for occasional weekday services on major feast days, and for some of the Lent and Holy Week services. Checlc the parish web site for more information.