Arty staffers energise residents

28 April 2008

Bringing joy: Assoc Prof Virginia Davids' performing arts expertise has helped to uplift the Elsies River community.

ComArt, an Elsies River-based community arts organisation, celebrates 10 years - a decade of "joy, revival and upliftment" for many past and present residents.

Thanks to Associate Professor Virginia Davids, head of vocal studies at UCT's South African College of Music, and her husband and colleague, John Davids, community members in the area from as young as 10 and as old as 70 have found a place in the organisation.

ComArt Choristers, directed by Davids, forms the core of the group.

"The group speaks to everybody. It brings joy to people and helps them to relieve stress," Davids explains.

The couple started ComArt to provide access to arts, culture and heritage resources in the community.

With the help of colleagues and students from UCT, ComArt works with local and international partners to present a range of programmes and education opportunities in the community, including music, dance, youth development, yoga, environmental awareness, creative writing, international interaction and heritage initiatives.

In addition, it has raised funds to benefit other community organisations and supported families and individuals in need, such as those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Davids, an opera singer, choral music director and national adjudicator, said after all her roles and accolades, she and her husband felt a desire to contribute to community development and upliftment, utilising art as a vehicle.

"We wanted to make a contribution to restoring what was there many years ago. So much is already gone and we needed to initiate a process to revitalise the arts because it feeds the soul, brings hope, restores dignity and pride."

Now the sky seems to be the limit for many people. ComArt Choristers produced a CD and several young members are studying at UCT. In addition, a group of youth choir members will visit the UK in June.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.