When Speech Is Not Enough

When speech is not enough, when our emotions are too profound to be expressed in mere words, we sing.


This has been true across all cultures throughout history. Singing is intrinsic to human nature, transcending the boundaries of language and culture. Folksongs convey sentiments that resonate in spite of divisions imposed by politics, language, and religion. Experiences like a mother's love and childhood excitement, the comfort and beauty of home, grief and loss, joy, love and celebration bind us together.


In arranging pieces from 17 cultures in 16 languages by theme, we let the music tell the story, providing space for individual interpretation.


Saeculum Aureum, an ensemble of six singers, was founded in 2015 and has built a reputation as Makhanda’s leading small vocal ensemble. For this production, they are joined by Theresa Dwyer, a local pianist and music teacher. Their previous National Arts Festival performances were “Better Times” (Fringe 2019), in commemoration of the Centenary of Armistice Day and “Oratorio at Home” (Spiritfest 2023), a small-scale performance of big works. While they are all (relatively) young, between them they have five music degrees and 125 years of choral experience.

Production Credits

Caitlin Webb: Soprano

Jessica Lloyd-Jones: Soprano

Glyn Lloyd-Jones: Alto

Charles Antrobus: Tenor

Jonathan Hughes: Bass

Theresa Dwyer: Piano

Iain Webb: Stage Manager

About the Artists

Saeculum Aureum is a five-part vocal ensemble based in Grahamstown/Makhanda in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. They perform music from the Renaissance to the 21st Century, in a wide variety of languages, styles and genres. For this concert, they are accompanied by Theresa Dwyer, an accomplished pianist and close friend of the group.


The group celebrates their region by working with locally-based musicians and performing in a variety of historical venues. Their home city is fortunate to be a centre for the arts, hosting the National Arts Festival annually and being home to an extraordinary number of talented performers, including students and staff from the Rhodes University Department of Music and Musicology. In 2023, Saeculum Aureum started a concert series “Saeculum Aureum and Friends”, in which they are joined by other soloists. Grahamstown/Makhanda and its surroundings are historically important in South Africa, and the group performs in many of the buildings which form part of this rich heritage.


In addition to their other repertoire, the group is privileged to perform pieces composed or arranged specifically for the group. Their alto, Glyn Lloyd-Jones, composes and arranges many of the items in their repertoire. Other composers who have written for the group include Andrew-John Bethke, Ben Ryan and Cameron Luke. As part of the 2018 concert for the centenary of Armistice Day, Simthembile Xeketwana was commissioned to write a poem about the troopship SS Mendi, which was set to music by Glyn, using “Troyte’s Chant” – the tune which formed the basis of the song “Senzenina”.


Many of their concerts raise funds for local causes, including Food4Futures (a local feeding scheme), Ikhaya Lethu (a local orphanage), the renovation of St Bartholomew’s Church and towards the qualifications of women in music education.

  • Venue: Beethoven Room
  • Location: Rhodes Music Department
  • Ticket price: ZAR 80.00
  • Programme type: The Fringe
  • Genre: Music
  • Duration: 55 min
  • Ages: ALL AGES
    • Suitable for All Ages

There are no performances for this show.