The Bank Windhoek Swakopmunder Musikwoche (Music Week) in Swakopmund, Namibia celebrated its 50th birthday in December. With the help of its main sponsor, the Bank Windhoek Arts Festival, the annual event was able to attract more participants than ever before.
It was the first time that a total of 307 musical participants joined in the musical celebration, in addition they had 30 lecturers from near and far and 24 helpers, bringing the total number of participants to a stunning 361. These included four lecturers from the USA, including Dr André Thomas, who twice conducted the World Youth Choir and is sought-after as a choir master and lecturer.
Apart from the usual lecturer's concert, junior and ensemble concert and the two jubilee concerts, between 15 and 20 December 2015 the Musikwoche held a jazz concert at Desert Tavern, a free brass band concert at the amphitheatre for the pleasure of the community, as well as a church concert which ended the week of music. Out of these seven concerts, five concerts sold tickets - and four of them were sold out.
“The quality of all concerts was exceptionally high this year - everyone put in that extra effort to make the 50th jubilee an unforgettable experience for all,” said Christiane Berker, organisational director of Swakopmunder Musikwoche. “The audience agreed and felt that never before had the concerts reached such a high level of excellence. I was approached while shopping the week following the concerts and total strangers shook my hand and thanked me for this spectacular event.”
Each programme had a wonderful mix of classical and contemporary music, some light and funny, some dramatic or thoughtful, but all put together in such a way that the evening just seemed to rush past, even though the concerts lasted longer than usual. But there were many surprises for the participants as well: the Saturday snack break started with a birthday cake and free cupcakes for all, presented in the colours of the newly designed logo that received a lot of compliments from all sides. The ‘Festschrift’, or celebratory publication, was also printed and sold very well right off the press. The publication gives a detailed historical background as well as a good look behind the scenes, telling the stories of the people standing behind the Musikwoche.
“Bank Windhoek received a lot of praise from everyone, be it the participants or audience for doubling their support this year, making it possible to invite even more young Namibian musicians who would otherwise not have access to masterclasses with international experts,” Berker said.
“Again new members of the stage crew were trained, hoping to give them an insight into stage management as well as basic organisational skills - one member has left the crew after four years and is now very successfully organising international tours for music groups,” added Berker.