South Africa scoops an impressive 76 medals at World Choir Games

2018-07-17 16:00
Drakensberg Boys Choir were champions in the scenic pop/show choirs category at the World Choir Games.

Drakensberg Boys Choir were champions in the scenic pop/show choirs category at the World Choir Games. (Supplied)

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South African choirs, who participated at the recently-concluded World Choir Games, amassed a whopping 76 medals.

In second place were China with 25, Russia with 17, the United States with 15 and Germany with nine.

The Drakensberg Boys Choir struck gold with their amazing performance of ABBA’s Does Your Mother Know?, which also earned them the scenic pop champions title.

It was the first time the choir, led by artistic director, Bernard Krüger, had performed at a World Choir Games in its 51-year history.

When the result was announced the boys ran to the stage cheering and shouting. After accepting the trophy, Krüger said: “Music can take you anywhere ... singing together brings nations together.”

In addition to scenic pop, the choir school, based in the foothills of Cathkin Peak, competed in the children’s choirs section, winning a gold medal.

And many of the school’s former pupils showed they still had the ability to wow audiences when the Drakensberg Old Boys’ Choir, conducted by Herman Swanepoel, won gold in the male chamber choirs section.

KwaZulu-Natal’s other champion choir was St Mary’s DSG in Kloof, conducted by Lindy van der Meulen, which took top honours in the scenic folklore section.

One of the stories of the Games, which were being held in South Africa for the first time, was the first ever appearance of Vox Amicis.

The choral group, formed just a few months ago and comprising of KZN Midlands residents (and a few friends from Gauteng and the Western Cape), won two silver medals in the “Musica sacra a cappella” and “Musica Contemporanea” categories.

Conductor William Silk said: “The choir is made up of people who have a passion for choral music; basically anyone interested in taking part was invited to do so.”

What makes Vox Amicis’ success more remarkable is that they did most of their rehearsals using Skype and Facetime, as they couldn’t get together very much.

As for what it had been like to perform and be part of the Games, Silk said it was “wonderful to see so many South African choirs singing together”, adding that the opening and closing ceremonies had been “electric”.

And the good news is that local residents will have the chance to hear the choir perform in the coming months.

Another choir showing off their skills to local residents will be the Midlands Chamber choir which won silver in the mixed chamber choirs category.

Chairperson Etienne Grobler said they were thrilled with the result as they had presented a challenging programme which had included Hedrik Hofmeyr’s Pie Jesu and JS Bach’s Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn.

“We all felt that that performance was our personal best, so we definitely peaked at the right time,” he said, adding that the members were looking forward to present a programme of ABBA and Paul Simon songs later this year.

Epworth sent two choirs to the Games, its Prep School Senior Choir and the Cantabile Choir.

The former participated in sacred music with accompaniment and children’s choir winning two silvers.

The Cantabile Choir won silvers in sacred music unaccompanied, contemporary music and folklore with accompaniment.

Spokesperson Vicky Crookes said: “It was an amazing experience for all involved, meeting new people, hearing new music from all around the world, singing in some beautiful venues, developing teamwork and experiencing enormous growth, both artistically and personally.”

This year marked the 10th edition of the World Choir Games, which united more than 300 choirs, and over 16 000 participants from more than 60 countries, in choral singing.

The next World Choir Games will take place in 2020 in Flanders, Belgium.

  • Key results for KZN choirs

• Mixed youth choirs: KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir (silver).

• Musica Sacra a cappella: KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir (silver).

• Musica Sacra with accompaniment: The Wykeham Collegiate Choir (silver); Drakondale Girls Choir School (silver); Durban Girls High School Choir (silver).

• Music of spirit and faith: Kearsney College Choir (gold); St John’s DSG Choir (gold).

• Scenic pop/show choirs: Kearsney College Choir (gold); St Mary’s DSG Choir (silver); Drakondale Girls Choir School (silver); Maritzburg College School Choir (silver); Hilton College Choir (silver).

• Children’s choirs/mixed boys choirs: Drakondale Girls Choir School (gold).

• Vocal ensembles: Voices of Hilton (gold).

• Scenic folklore: Hilton College Choir (silver).

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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