Local schools have scooped gold in multiple categories at the prestigious World Choir Games held in Tshwane. St John’s Diocesan School for Girls won gold in the music of spirit and faith open category for performing an original piece composed by the school’s music department.Joining them was Drakondale Choir School, in Hilton, which took three awards, including a gold in the children’s choirs open category, and silver awards in scenic pop and sacred. Hilton College took gold in vocal ensembles and a silver in scenic pop in the open category.Kearsney College also performed well at the event, scooping gold in the scenic pop and the music of spirit and faith in the champions category. They also took a silver in the scenic folklore category. The medals were awarded at a ceremony on Saturday night. The competition is highly regarded in choir circles, and is being held on African soil for the first time in its 18-year history. It features more than 300 choirs from about 60 countries. Joshua Boudan, a staff member at St John’s music department, said choirs had to submit a recorded audition and sheet music for the performance to a panel in order to be considered for the competition. The school performed an original composition, Ntisakana’s Prophecy. Fifty pupils from the school took part. “We submitted our proposal last year, so it was a nine-month process for a 15-minute performance, but we’re very happy.“We’ve been practising from January. We have weekly rehearsals, weekend workshops, and practice after school,” he said. CEO of Drakondale Wendy Clarke said pupils had practised seven hours a day for the competition, and also on weekends and during holidays. Nineteen pupils from the school took part, and performed four songs for the three categories they were in. “Our school only opened last year, so to win these awards is amazing. I’m ready to pop; I’ve never been so proud in my life,” Clarke told The Witness.“Our choir conductor left us three weeks before the competition. So for three weeks it was hectic because we had to make sure we were prepared.”Kearsney headmaster Elwyn van den Aardweg said he was proud of the choir’s achievement. “It’s been wonderful to see so many South African choirs participating in a global event and the number of this country’s choirs which are winning their categories.”The school’s choir has now taken 15 gold medals and seven silvers since the competition began in 2000. The competition runs every two years. It will be held in Belgium in 2020.