Colla Voce Youth Choir almost didn’t get the opportunity to show the world the talent South Africa has to offer at this year’s 67th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales. But fortunately the choir managed to raise the funds needed for their trip to the UK, where they came third in the mixed choir section. Second place went to Jinggaswara National Institute of Technology Choir (Indonesia), and in first place was the Landarbaso Abesbatza Choir from Spain.
The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, which took place from 9 to 14 July, is a festival that features choirs from all over the world competing in different sections of the competition. According to choirmaster Henk Barnard, the youngsters gave the competition their all. “The kids are the cream of the crop. I am so proud of them.”
The choir is made up of 59 choristers in the age group 14 to 24 years. The learners are from different schools and education institutions within central and southern Gauteng, as well as the northern Free State.
Colla Voce initially had 12 members who were unable to attend the festival due to financial constraints. But after singing in malls, at events and taking part in fundraising projects, the choir could finally afford to get 55 of its members on a plane to the United Kingdom.
“We did anything and everything possible to be able to raise funds,” says Henk, who’s been the choir’s conductor for 17 years. “I’m happy we had the opportunity to travel to Wales. The children really had a great time there. They got along really well with the other children. If there was a prize for the most popular choir, we could’ve taken it.”
Colla Voce has been invited to visit a choir in Alaska. No date has been set yet, but Henk says they’d love to visit North America. But for now, they’ll continue perfecting their craft every Friday afternoon at 3 pm during practice sessions.