The launch of the Year of the Child 2019, started on a musical note with TAA-TAY, one of the rhythms for playing the recorders. These running notes, have been reaching a profound crescendo throughout the congregations of the District Church of Southern Africa.

Year of the Child 2019

Introduction

It was in the Apostles and Bishops meeting of Saturday, 23 June 2018 that District Apostle J Kriel proclaimed 2019 as the Year of the Child in the NAC Southern Africa District Church. To under-pin the focus of the year every child from age 6 to 100 were encouraged to learn how to play a recorder. Priest Clarke Schilder of the Music Department was on hand in the meeting to launch this project by teaching the Apostles and Bishops to play the recorder.  

The Recorder Project is up and running

The Recorder Project, an initiative of our District Apostle J Kriel, had already been launched in 2018 and has culminated in a musical preparation for the visit of the Chief Apostle J-L Schneider in May 2019.

On this note, the excitement is increasing, as the children are preparing for the divine service which will be held by our Chief Apostle J-L Schneider on Saturday, 11 May 2019, from Lavistown Congregation. This divine service will be audio visually transmitted to all other congregations of the District Church.

On the arrival of the Chief Apostle in Pretoria on Saturday 8 December 2018, he was welcomed by the Sunday School children singing a song  to express their joy for the promise that he would visit South Africa in May 2019 again. The ZK Matthews Hall at the University of South Africa (Unisa), was the venue for the NAC-SA choir and orchestra members of the greater Pretoria area who took part in a festive concert. A surprise awaited the audience when the apostles and bishops took to the stage and performed a recorder piece for them. By following this example of the Apostles and Bishops, members young and not so young, enthusiastically joined in learning to play the recorder.

Teaching in full swing!

The recorder lessons with Mrs B, have been in full swing on NACTV! Mrs B, together with Nacci Bear and Bobby, have been very busy teaching the children to play their recorders. These lessons are broadcast on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays on NACTV and can be downloaded from the  website of the Church.

The Recorder Course for beginners has been designed to provide a starting point for those who show a keen interest in learning to play the descant recorder. All music notation of this course is available on the audio disc to provide the learner with ac­companiments as support material. The follow-up to this course is the Recorder Tutor. This course will empower the learner with an in-depth knowledge of the entire range of the recorder, as well as the required theoretical knowledge.

Recorder playing by the Sunday School children has been taking place during the divine services, to promote and enhance the “Year of the Child”. Preparation services for the visit of the Chief Apostle were held for the children throughout the District Church, where children skilfully and with great joy played their recorders.

 Performances of note

As 2019 is focused on the Year of the Child and is aligned with the visit of our Chief Apostle in May 2019, preparation was necessitated and thus a seminar for Sunday School teachers was arranged by Priest K Kotze (ret.)  in February 2019, in the area of Port Elizabeth.

In Albertynshof Congregation, Kimberley, retired and active ministers, as well as a few brothers came together for a recorder workshop on learning to play the recorder on the Friday and to the surprise of the congregation, they could  play their recorders the Sunday in February 2019, before the divine service.

In Durbanville Congregation, the Year of the Child 2019 was launched as part of the opening Sunday School Service in January 2019.  The children who added to the joy of the Divine Service with their singing and recorder playing, were encouraged by the rector to continue with their good performances.

At a divine service held  for the Sunday School children of Spa Park on Saturday 23 March 2019, the children from Limpopo South had a combined recorder ensemble rehearsal. In Pretoria North East District, congregants were left in awe on 7 April 2019 by the music programme presented by the Sunday School children, where they played the recorder and  accompanied the singing on their brass instruments.

 Reaching out and sharing with one’s neighbour

Sharing musical knowledge started already on 14 October 2018, with the Sunday School teachers from Port Elizabeth who visited Kareedouw, Joubertina, Krakeel and Louterwater congregations in the Langkloof area. They reached out to the four congregations and handed over a donation of recorders for the Sunday School. The teachers eagerly supported the initiative to uplift the Sunday School in the Langkloof area. The activities included the teaching of the scheduled lesson, teaching support and recorder lessons.

 It was already on Sunday, 2nd December 2018 when visitors from the Pentecostal Protestant Church in Atlantis attended the divine service at Protea Park. Twenty of the children playing the recorder in the orchestra belong to this church. They have been learning and growing in music with our Sunday School children. Their pastor, parents and members accompanied them. The Pastor spoke to the Apostle and expressed how he enjoyed the experience of being under the divine word brought by the Apostle.

Excitement reached a special milestone on Sunday, 3 December 2018 when the Sunday School children, their friends and their teachers, played their first 3 hymns before and during the main and Sunday School Service in the Kimberley Apostle Area.

In line with the Mission of our Church, this project was also extended to the communities. In a number of the congregations this project was also used to reach out to our neighbours: recorders and teaching material were donated to neigbouring congregations, churches and schools. Some friends of the children were invited, others heard of the project and they joined the practices on a regular basis. They subsequently formed part of the recorder orchestra that played on Sundays. Another ripple effect was that the parents of these children attended the services to see their children performing in the New Apostolic Church.

With the implementation of the Recorder Project, the desire to reach out and share with our neighbours continued to spread. At Avondale, in Atlantis on the West Coast, the Sunday School children and their teachers, experienced the gratitude and excitement of the sick members, while they were singing and playing their recorders for them.

In the congregation of Eastlynne, on Saturday morning 13 April 2019, the Sunday School children visited the Neli-Rose Retirement Village, Pretoria for an hour of music. Many hearts were touched and a few tears shed by young and old when a few hymns and a recorder item were rendered.

Waiting with great anticipation for the Chief Apostle

The children continue diligently to practise their recorder pieces for this divine service where they will be connected audio visually from all the congregations to form part of a united orchestra. With the tone set and with great excitement, the children now eagerly await the visit of the Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider who will conduct their divine service.