Carols Service and Farewell, Mrs Zietsmann

BY Mrs M. Woods

Riebeek College Girls’ High School will be holding their annual Carols Service in the school hall on 24 November 2015 at 6.30pm.  All proceeds of the evening and the presents that the Riebeek girls collect and gift-wrap will be donated to the Uitenhage Child Welfare.   All tickets are sold at a cost of only R20 for both adults and children.



Mrs René Zietsmann has been involved with our Carols Service since 1999.  Back then, she recalls, the whole of the junior school and senior school sang in the service and marched down to the Sports Centre for rehearsals. The Carols Service back then was on a Sunday evening.  The years have seen many changes due to the challenges of the academic year and Riebeek now has the involvement of the entire junior school and the award-winning Senior Choir.  In fact, some senior learners who are Choir members will be writing exams that morning and some thereafter, but they will perform at Carols regardless, such is the dedication of these Choir divas.  


Mrs René Zietsmann said, “Sadly, fewer schools in South Africa are still making the effort to celebrate the birth of Christ in such a wonderful manner as the Riebeek annual Carol Service.  It will definitely be a memorable evening for all involved.  Six scriptures have been incorporated into the service.  All time Christmas favourites like When a Child is Born, Mary Did You Know, O Come All ye Faithfull, O Holy Night, The Holy City and many more  will sound down the passages of Riebeek College once again.”


The Carol programme also involves audience participation.  For many years Riebeek has been blessed with musical support from local musicians and these individuals will once again be playing instruments in support of this charitable and feel-good event.  Sylvia Meissenheimer, Lynn Gouws, Winnie Grundling, Patty Metcalf, Lenise Fourie and Timothy O’Reilly will be supporting the girls on various instruments.  The guest soloist is Zoleka Mtila, a Riebeek Old Girl and well-known performer.  It is her grandfather, Mr Nzo, who assisted the girls by composing the song 2010 that led them to a gold in the ATKV competition of that year and he has remained involved in the choir as a mentor.


Mrs Woods said of Mrs René Zietsmann’s involvement in the Riebeek music department: “Sadly, we say farewell to Mrs René Zietsmann, who has been in charge of the Riebeek senior choir since 1999, when it consisted of only 15 young ladies. Over the past 16 years, the choir has grown and gone from strength to strength and has been 80 plus strong for many years. Mrs Zietsmann has led them to great heights. They have been achieving national awards since 2009.   Mrs Zietsmann, our sincere thanks for your many years of dedication, loyalty and outstanding service to Riebeek College.  We trust that you will still visit and keep in touch. I have no doubt that you know how much we have appreciated your expertise and commitment.  Best wishes for your continuing work with the Strelitzia Choir and know that we will miss you. I do believe that you are also going to miss all our Riebeek Divas!”


 What has made every year special, according ‎to Mrs Zietsmann, is the Riebeek Spirit. "Once we've been able to move past the normal daily and weekly irritations and just focus on what's important - the music - that's the Riebeek Spirit. That is the one thing I will definitely miss about the Riebeek Senior Choir. Every year has had its core group of singers making the choir special for all. But, the best of best moments are those when we, the choir and I, are on stage, making music. When we're in our own little world, knowing that all we've worked for, is finally coming together. Special moments and stunning memories captured in the blink of an eye, the singing of a note, the meaning of a word and just ... Music Magic."  Mrs Zietsmann says that two of her favourite songs in the past five years have been Lily Of The Valley ‎and 2010 because it was the first song that Mr Nzo composed for the Riebeek Choirs‎. 

 November 04, 2015
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