The Hatfield Campus of the University of Pretoria (UP) was a hive of activity as choirs from all over the world converged on the Aula, Musaion and Rautenbach Hall, in the last few days, for the 2018 World Choir Games.
The Games, which are held biennially, are co-hosted by UP, and started on 4 July and will end on Saturday, 14 July. About 16 000 singers from 350 choirs came to the campus, where the air was filled with singing by participants who showed off their colourful traditional outfits. The UP Youth Choir will compete on Thursday (12 July), at Pretoria Boys High School; while the Onderstepoort Community Choir will compete at the same venue on Friday.
Choirs from countries including Russia, China, the United States; as well as local choirs including the UP Youth Choir, the Drakensberg Boys Choir, Akustika Chamber Singers, University of Johannesburg, Jacaranda Children’s Choir, the Onderstepoort Community Choir and Kearsney College visited the campus. A festive air pervaded the campus, while many of the singers and visitors took pictures and selfies in the gardens and walked around admiring the architecture of UP.
The Lobachevsky University Choir from Russia loves the weather in Pretoria, explaining that their ‘winter is much colder’. Student Lisa Ukladova said ‘the campus is beautiful. The flowers and trees are nice’. The choir sings pop songs and has competed in previous World Choir Games. Some of the songs it sings include ‘Shape of my heart’ by Sting and Alexander Rybak’s ‘Fantasy’.
Student Igor Ladenkov said ‘I love signing in the choir. It provides me with a path in my life. Music is emotional and social.’ The choir’s President, Alex Shumilov, walked around the campus, carrying a vuvuzela.
The Genesis Chorale, which is a youth choir from the New York City area, performs folk, classic and Hebrew songs, among others. Singer Sophie Makes said the ‘university (UP) is amazing. I love the culture and the food is amazing’.
Lu Zhiliang from Guangzhuo, China was part of a group that was competing in the school choir category. ‘Your country is beautiful. I love the beautiful blue sky,’ she said.
South Africa is the first country in Africa to host this event. Both accomplished and amateur choirs compete at the appropriate level in two separate competitions: the Champions Competition for choirs with international competitive experience; and the Open Competition, which allows choirs the opportunity to participate at the appropriate level. Both competitions have 27 categories and this includes Young Children’s Choirs, University and College Choirs, Jazz, Gospel, Pop Ensembles, and Pop Choirs.
Source University of Pretoria