CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Photo opportunities available: the Simon Estes South African
3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8 at University of Iowa Burge
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The media will have an opportunity to meet with members
of the Simon Estes' South African Choral Group from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday,
Feb. 8 when they arrive at the UI's Burge Residence Hall, located near
the corner of Clinton and Bloomington Streets. Phillip Jones, dean of UI
student services, will be joined by UI students from Burge Residence Hall
when he welcomes the Choral Group to the UI.
The Simon Estes South African Choral Group will perform at Carver Hawkeye
Arena, Monday, Feb. 8, just prior to Archbishop Desmond Tutu's lecture
there at 8 p.m.
The 47-member high school student group from Cape Town, South Africa,
is part of the pre-lecture events that include a solo performance by Simon
Estes, the accomplished opera performer and UI alumnus.
Estes was impressed with the youth chorus when he visited their Cape
Town area high school. The poor conditions at the 4,000-student facility
that had only 60 teachers was troubling to Estes, and in 1997 he founded
the Simon Estes School in Des Moines for 150 black South African students.
"The project will greatly advance the education of the South African
youngsters and expand their realization of their musical talents and intellectual
potential," Estes said in a press release.
"It will also deepen the understanding of predominantly white Iowans
of these and other black South Africans and enhance the awareness of their
needs, interests and culture," he said in the release.
At least two of the original members will attend one of 15 Des Moines
area high schools for the 1998-99 academic school year. The schools include
Des Moines Christian, Hoover, Lincoln, and Roosevelt in Des Moines; Dowling
and Valley High Schools in West Des Moines; Johnston, Urbandale, Adel-Desoto,
Ankeny, Dallas Center-Grimes, Gilbert Community School, Indianola, and
A major portion of the costs to sponsor the Choral Group have come from
contributions, and while in the United States, the students live with host
families in the Des Moines area. While in Iowa City, the students will
stay with host families who are members of the Iowa City Rotary, the Iowa
City Noon Rotary and the Iowa City A.M. Rotary clubs, says Steven Laughlin,
president of the Rotary Club of Coralville-North Corridor.