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The Odeion – music for the masses

I’ll be the first to admit that while living in Bloem I never made enough use of this musical facility (except when taking part in Spanish dancing concerts at the amphitheatre). I’d drive past the Odeion at the University of the Free State everyday on my way to class for three years, and never once thought of looking up the programme of events and expanding my musical horizons. But I made up for it last night when I attended a concert by the Free State Symphony Youth Orchestra (FSSYO) – mostly because my sister used to play the double bass in this orchestra when she lived in Bloemfontein, but also because I’ve started to take note of the wide variety of events advertised in the Volksblad, this being one of them.

Unfortunately the FSSYO is about half the size of what it was when my sister belonged to the group, due to lack of funding in previous years (come on government, pump more money into the arts!), but it was wonderful to see the racial diversity in this newly established group. Directed by Alex Fokkens, and led by 16-year-old violinist Bonolo Kgaile, the FSSYO (mostly made up of string instruments) is a showcase of passionate young people keen to jam some classical music. My favourite part last night was during the last item (name? Well, sorry, I didn’t have a programme and I’m new to this classical music stuff!), when the entire group plucked their instruments with great gusto.

Although I paid for this show (tickets were R20 and R50), the Odeion also hosts a lot of free concerts. They’re ususally an hour long, so it’s a great way to escape from the everyday routine and just cosy up to some good tunes. Even the M.Mus. and Ph.D. students at the university give public examination recitals in the Odeion, and there are lunch hour and sundowner concerts by other talented musicians throughout the year. Keep your ears open for the next concert by the Odeion’s own popular string quartet and look out for the Odeion Spring Festival.


Sista, this one's for you!


The details

Visit and click on ‘calendar’ for upcoming and past events.


Upcoming events

17 June, 19:30 UFS Jazz Ensemble

R50 for adults; R30 for pensioners, students and learners

Call 051 – 4012504


23 June, 19:30 Jean-Pierre Calitz piano recital

Free admission

Call 051 – 4012810


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