By Wendy Elliott
South African music therapist and renowned performer Sharon Katz is coming to Wolfville this week.
Through the Acadia School of Music and the Atlantic Association for Music Therapy, she will give a lecture on Oct. 24 and a keynote address/concert on Oct. 26 in the Festival Theatre. On Oct. 25, Katz will speak to the Nova Scotia Music Educators Conference.
The lecture is set for 2 p.m. and the concert will follow at 3 p.m. on Oct. 26. Katz will be on stage with approximately 140 young singers from both of the Annapolis Valley Honour Choirs.
Katz was born in Port Elizabeth, now known as Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. As a young teenager during the apartheid era, she began her lifelong mission of using music to help break down the country’s racial barriers.
Katz has just marked the 20th anniversary of The Peace Train’s original ride through South Africa to help Nelson Mandela break down the barriers that apartheid had created and to usher in the country’s 1st democratic election.
Back in 1992, she formed the country’s first-ever, 500-member multi-cultural and multi-lingual performing group to promote a peaceful transition to democracy in South Africa. The next year, Katz launched her concert tour, The Peace Train, taking 150 performers, including her friends Ladysmith Black Mambazo, on tour by train, giving concerts at every stop along their route.
A CNN news clip brought international attention, and the invitations to perform in the US and elsewhere, started pouring in and the choir became South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors. Katz and The Peace Train recorded an album with Sting, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Elton John and Madonna.
Back home in South Africa, Katz used music therapy techniques to help heal the nation from the wounds of apartheid. She has been working in other trouble spots around the world and she has established a base in the U.S., doing workshops and concerts in schools, universities and community centers and forming Peace Train projects in many cities.
The Kings-Kikima Grannies will be on hand to sell previously-loved jewelry in support of the Peace Train.
Tickets are $6 students or $8 adults for lecture or concert only and $10/$12 for both the lecture and concert. Tickets will be available at the door.