He's been referred to as an "enigma in the global choral tapestry" and ''arguably one of the very, very best leaders of children’s choirs in the history of choir singing" (Artsvark). "
Hennie Loock's talent for leading the Tygerberg Children's Choir to unsurpassed heights is the hallmark of the man who started off the choir 46 years ago. Under the passionate conductor's watchful eye and dedicated guidance, more than 3 000 children have been inspired to sing.
Loock will finally be laying down his baton next year in March but it's doubtful he'll rest on his laurels after a lifetime of mentoring and passing on his consummate passion to the next generation.
In two of his final concerts, Loock will be conducting the choir this weekend and the following weekend at the Endler Hall in Stellenbosch.
Loock has taken countless groups of children overseas to delight foreign audiences, performed at hundreds of concerts and put his own personal mark on the harmonious and magical sounds of young voices coming together in perfect synchronicity.
Speaking on the phone, he relates that several defining moments in his youth led him to his calling: hearing the Drakensberg Boys Choir more than half a century ago could have been one of the first seeds that grew the passion as well as growing up in a very musical family. And maybe serendipity led to the fact that playing tennis gave Loock the sense that the sport's own rhythm could be found in music and "in both you have to have stamina", he says.
Over the decades in which he has been at the helm of the well-loved choir, Loock's travels all over the world with the children, from Australia to the Americas to the Far East, to St Petersburg, Budapest, major European capitals and centres have all rubbed off on him.
"From that I have learnt that in order to enjoy yourself you need to pick up from other people. You steal with your ears and your eyes and yes, I can say that what I have done has been entirely fulfilling," he said.
Loock lost his beloved wife Theresa earlier this year, who was a leading light of the children's choir. Referring to the choir as his "family"he relates, "people were so kind to me. My wife and I led such a full life in our 42 years together and I still feel her warmth in the house but yes, I have to face life."
Hennie Loock will be conducting the much-loved Tygerberg Children's Choir in two Christmas concerts at the Endler Hall, University of Stellenbosch. The first concert will be held this Sunday, November 25 from 4pm to 6pm and the second, the following week, on Sunday December 2, also from 4pm until 6pm.
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