Wilhelm van der Nest

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Wilhelm van der Nest (19**-19**) was a baritone solo singer


Wilhelm van der Nest's baritone voice was well-known to music lovers throughout South Africa for he has often sung in broadcasts of the Port Elizabeth Oratorio Choir, the Port Elizabeth Male Voice Choir and the Port Elizabeth Salon Choir.

He started his singing lessons in Graaff-Reinet when he was taught by Edna Labuschagne.

In 1956 he came to Port Elizabeth and soon continued his singing lessons.

The following year Wilhelm van der Nest joined the staff of the Grey Junior School where he took over the duties of the singing master.

His talents were soon realised and his deep love of music in general and singing in particular became part of his life at the school where he trained the boys in minstrel shows and formed the Grey Junior School Choir.

His School Choir was well known not only for its singing but also for the correctness and etiquette of choirs which their Choir Master drummed into them.

He took long leave in 1961 and travelled overseas and continued his singing studies with Delia Woolford until 1963.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

On his return to Port Elizabeth, he appeared as a soloist in the annual Oratorio Festivals and sung the part of St. Paul in St. Paul.

Other prominent singing parts he had are Morales in the opera Carmen, the Principal Student in the The Student Prince, and Ali Ben Ali in The Desert Song – all of which were produced by Helen Mann.

In 1971, when Helen Mann produced the successful Lionel Bart production of the Dicken's classic Oliver, the 36 strong choir was trained by Wilhelm van der Nest.

Singing was not his only love; he had a deep understanding of theatre, particularly Shakespearean productions.

He played the part of the Prince of Morocco in the Leslie French production of The Merchant of Venice when it was produced in the Happy Valley Amphitheatre.

In 1972 he played Theseus, Duke of Athens in the Leslie French production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Mannville Open Air Theatre.

In 1972 he played the part of Captain George von Trapp in Helen Mann's production of The Sound of Music which was staged at the Port Elizabeth Opera House.

Awards, etc


The Sound of Music theatre programme. 1972.

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