The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Choir took part in the 10th World Choir Games 2018, hosted by the City of Tshwane, South Africa, from 4 – 8 July, scooping wins in two of its categories.
More than 300 choirs from 60 countries took part in the international event, with over 16 000 singers judged by some 60 national and international judges in the single-biggest choral event in the world. UJ Choir was one of 155 South African choirs that took part in the games.
Choirs could enter in the Open Category (any choir was accepted if it adhered to the repertoire specifications) or Champions Category (only choirs that have proved their excellence in previous competitions were allowed to enter here). UJ Choir qualified to enter the Champions Category, based on its excellent achievements in Bratislava in 2015.
The UJ Choir took gold in both it’s categories – with 85% for Mixed Choirs (Western Music repertoire), and in Folk Music A Cappella it received a whopping 95% score, to be crowned world champions.
Choral Director Renette Bouwer said: ‘I am so proud of my team; it was so rewarding to see the fruition of their hard work. They proved that they can compete against the best in the world in Western and African music. To win such high marks at an international level like this is a huge accomplishment for these young singers. I am excited to see what the future holds for this group of lovely and talented students, and it’s a privilege for me to be a part of it. Hats off to our Conductor of African Music, Sidumo Nyamezele, who was the creator of the African repertoire that blew the audience and judges away.’
The 60-member UJ Choir is no stranger to competitive platforms, such as the World Choir Games. Besides its live performances in South Africa and production of numerous CDs, the award-winning UJ Choir has also performed internationally in countries such as Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, Poland and (as previously mentioned) Bratislava.
Later this year, from 15–21 October, the UJ Choir will make its way to China, to take part in the Beijing International Chorus Festival. The Choir then concludes its winning year with the annual celebration concert held in Johannesburg on 26 October. Tickets for this concert can be purchased on www.uj.ac.za/arts.