March 7, 2012
The Ohio University Post
By Kaylyn Hlavaty
Vibrant, tribal costumes accompanied the voices and rhythmic dances of the Soweto Gospel Choir as they performed on the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium stage Tuesday night.
The audience was captivated from the beginning of the first song, and the two-time Grammy award-winning and Oscar-nominated choir maintained the excitement and rhythm throughout the night.
The choir performed traditional African dances and even had a “battle of the sexes,” one of the audience’s favorite parts of the night.
As one performer teased, “Nice try boys, but let’s show you what the ladies got,” the audience roared with laughter.
“The performance was exhilarating, and every time I see them, I enjoy myself,” said Gugu Nkosi, a South African native studying education and counseling in the graduate program at Ohio University. “I am from their hometown of Soweto, so this is a treat seeing them here.”
The choir sang tunes of different styles, spanning contemporary African music to well-known classics.
One of the highlights of the evening was the choir’s performance of the classic “This Little Light of Mine.”
As the group used a mixture of handclaps, African drums and dancing to accompany the vocals, the audience began clapping along and continued to do so throughout the night.
“We go to many college towns, both big and small, and we love coming to them because we receive a lot of appreciation and enthusiasm from the audience,” said Toni Rudov, the choir’s tour manager.
Although the 2,500-seat Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium was less than half-full, Andrew Holzaepfel, associate director of the Campus Involvement Center, said he was pleased with the turnout.
“The final numbers of tickets sold were 872, which exceeded our projections,” Holzaepfel said. “I thought the show was great and very inspiring; the audience responded very well to the performance.”
The choir’s final song was the popular “Pata Pata,” which brought the audience out of their chairs and onto their feet dancing.
“(It was) unbelievable,” said Jake Householder, a 2007 OU graduate who resides in Athens. “I have never seen them before, and it is really wonderful living in a small town and getting to experience this level of artistic talent from a different culture.”