Lesotho Times

World Choir Games beckon


. . . as local groups invited to global showcase

Mohalenyane Phakela

LOCAL choirs have been invited to register for next year’s World Choir Games in Pretoria, South Africa from 4 to 14 July 2018.

Organised by the Interkultur Foundation, the games emphasise participation above winning. The aim is to inspire people to experience the strength of interaction, develop the personality and community through song. It is mainly designed for amateur choirs from all over the world, regardless of their race, genre of music or artistic ambitions, with its motto ‘Singing together brings nations together’.

This will be the first time that the world’s biggest choir competition will be held in Africa and local choirs have been invited to participate along with those from other African countries.

Choirs wishing to participate are expected to register before the closing date of 15 September (at a discounted price) or the final closing date which will be on 1 December this year. The official registration documents and other details can be found of the website www.wcg2018.com.

The biannual choral showcase was hosted for the first time in 2000 in Linz, Austria. It was subsequently held in Busan (South Korea), Bremen (Germany, Xiamen (China), Graz (Austria), Shaoxing (China), Cincinnati (USA) and Sochi (Russia).

About 30 000 singers representing 70 countries are expected to converge in Pretoria for 11 days of unique and memorable experiences and cultural encounters.

Interkultur’s Director of Programmes, Alta Mare, this week told the Weekender that it was important for African choirs to participate in order to develop relationships with choirs from the rest of the world.

“The rights holders of the 10th World Choir Games have always had the dream to host this event in Africa,” Mare said, adding, “We have always had choirs from Africa but the representation was mostly from Nigeria and South Africa”.

The University of Stellenbosch from South Africa holds the top spot as number one choir in the world since 2012 and number three choir is Akustika Chamber Singers from Pretoria.

“Registering for the event enables conductors and choir managers to select a worthy repertoire that will be not only be representative of the choir but their country as a whole. This allows a full 10 months of preparation and hopefully performances to the standards expected by the audience.

“The choirs will be judged by some of the best conductors and composers in the world. Daily sing along sessions in the amphitheatre will allow networking with many choirs and singers from around the world and to top it all off each choir will have learned three new African pieces.”

Mare said they aimed to ensure more choirs from Africa participated and called upon the media in Africa to help publicise the event.

Mare also said that the event is open to all amateur choirs who have a passion for singing and music. The following participation options are available:

  • The Champions Competition: This is for choirs with international competitive experience and/or comparable credentials. You can qualify by participating in an evaluation performance prior to the event.
  • The Open Competition: Choirs, regardless of their present artistic level of achievement, have the opportunity to gather valuable experience in an international competition.
  • Non-competitive evaluation: This is a category for choirs who do not wish to compete. A panel of international experts will provide a joint evaluation of your 15 minute programme and then discuss the outcome with the choir in an open and amicable atmosphere. Performance coaching and recommendations will be given for future participation in international competitions. The choirs will receive an official certificate of participation.
  • Individual Coaching sessions: This allows participants to perform with their choir in a session with an internationally respected choral music expert who will then rehearse one selected piece with the choir to provide new artistic ideas and impetus. Choirs will be presented with certificates and recommendations for future participation in international choral competitions.
  • Friendship concerts: This is collaboration with other choirs in public venues in and around the city of Pretoria and even across venues in South Africa. These public concerts provide opportunity for each choir to present their musical traditions and costumes of their native land. Choirs, instrumental groups, and dance companies not participating in any other category can choose to only participate in multiple friendship concerts.
  • World Festival Singers: In the closing ceremony, under the title Choral Fireworks, a unique combination of a massed choir consisting of 1000 singers, joined by soloists and orchestra, will perform a number of folk songs from all continents, popular songs, and the Jazz Hallelujah and We are the World stimulating audience participation to conclude this brilliant event.
  • Workshops: A series of workshops, seminars and open rehearsal sessions will be on offer. During these workshops, choirs, conductors, and individuals will be introduced to international choral literature, singing styles, and performance practices. Mixing with other singers, getting instructions from renowned experts in the choral industry and performing together will expand and offer new choral experiences.
  • Special Conductors’ Programme: In the event that you cannot bring your whole choir to be part of this exceptional event, the World Choir Games team will be offering a specially designed Conductors’ Programme. This programme aims to expose the conductor to the world of international competitions and events. This will include an introduction to the World Choir Games concept, network opportunities with conductors and choirs from around the world, rehearsals of the World Festival Singers where applicable, workshops and special discussions with the world class jurors.

For his part, Interkultur’s Director of Tourism Services, Christian Grosch, said that a special package has been designed for Lesotho and Swazi choirs to prompt participation.

“Payments can be done in the South African Rand (as opposed to Euro) and packages are available are lower rates than to other international choirs. This has been negotiated to assist and stimulate participation thus enabling many singers to participate for the first time ever in an international event of this size.

“Now, that the event will be held in South Africa, we expect those choirs to receive fierce competition from other South African and African choirs. Most importantly however, it is an exceptional opportunity to form new friendships with all the singers sharing the same passion for music from Africa and the world.

“This is designed not to be a once-off event. In fact, we are gearing up to have African Choir events on a regular basis going forward. Nothing similar has ever been done in Africa – for Africa,” he said.


Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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