Norfolk soprano offers concerts for churches
Norwich-based singer Emma Nuule is offering concerts to help churches raise money and to simultaneously launch a performing school in a shanty area of Namibia.
Having used her remarkable gift to help churches in Norfolk and Suffolk raise money for good causes, Emma began to open her heart to a vision which she felt God was giving her – to launch a school of performing arts for the deprived children of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.
At Blofield parish church she pioneered the idea of sharing the proceeds of a concert equally between the church and her own embryonic project. After an uplifting evening of music each party took home £220. Her next concert will be from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday March 6 at St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Watton, IP25 6DQ. Tickets are available at £8 each from St Mary’s Church after services, and from Adcocks on the High Street or contact 01953 881252,
The vision for the performing arts school began back in Emma’s childhood home, where her parents had a painting on the wall of a desert and a pair of sandals. “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,” said the accompanying verse (Psalm 25:4). “The desert really resonated with me as a child,” said Emma. “I realise now that Namibia is a desert, and that God was speaking to me back then.”
It was when she met her husband-to-be Josef, who was visiting from Namibia, and married at the age of 18, that the vision began to become reality. Josef bought a piece of land in a shanty area of Windhoek. “One day as I was praying,” said Emma, “I felt God saying: ‘You’re going to create a singing school in Namibia. It was overwhelming. He even gave me the name: Praise and Perform.
“In big contrast to most places in Windhoek, the area where we bought the land is so run down,” she went on. “They don’t even have electricity. People can’t stay inside because the little metal shacks get so hot that you burn your skin if you touch the walls.
"Other areas of the city have shopping malls, cinemas and even performing schools. But here there is nothing to do, and the kids are just walking around barefoot in the mountains, where there are snakes. Yet the way they move and sing – they are so talented.
“There is little employment, and at a certain age the young people just start drinking. My vision is to create a school where they could do singing, drama and painting. It would be quite simple – just a tent roof and an amphitheatre for the audience.”
Emma had been working as a cleaner at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital but really wanted to be a singer. One day she prayed about it earnestly in the toilets, and as she came out someone passing in the hospital corridor mentioned a Global Talent Competition; she entered, and won the UK and global competitions. After the competitions she was put in touch with a private singing tutor in London to develop her technical skills and enlarge her range.
“I am a cross-over soprano,” explains Emma, “which means I can sing in different styles. I have a belt voice which comes from the chest and which I use for theatre and popular music, and a head voice which I use for opera. It comes naturally to me to want to be glamorous, but I don’t want all just to be ‘me, me, me’. I want to use this gift to do something amazing.”
That ‘something amazing’ is increasingly coming into focus in Namibia. The family currently attend an African congregation, an outreach of the Redeemed Christian Church of God which meets in the afternoon at St Anne’s Earlham in Norwich. The routine works for deep-thinking Kleophas (15), for upbeat Taleni (12), who has a football appointment on Sunday mornings, and for happy Faith, who is just three.
And yet Africa calls. “The children are happier there,” said Emma. “They feel free. Josef has always worked with cars and would like to start his own company. I’d love to move for him. I couldn’t do any of this without my husband – he is amazing, a good man.”
The family just have to work out God’s timing as Emma continues to share her singing gift and cast her vision.
If you would like Emma to put on a concert at your church, on her own or with your own musicians, please contact her on email@example.com. She is also hoping to start a small UK charity to promote the project, which would allow donations to be gift aided. If you are interested in Africa and have organisational skills which could support this, please get in contact with her for a discussion.
Pictured top is Emma Nuule, and centre is a concert in Blofield church. Below is the shanty town in Windhoek where Emma hopes to create the Praise and Perform school.