Stellenbosch University Chamber Choir (SUCC) is set to represent their university and country in Hong Kong at the World Youth & Children’s Choir Festival.
The choir’s conductor and founder, Professor Martin Berger, says he is very proud of this achievement.
The choir was invited by the World Youth & Children’s Choir Association to perform in Hong Kong with other aspiring choirs and choral music professionals.
“We are the artist-in-residence, that means the choir is there to give an example of what South Africa is about and that makes us very proud,” says Berger.
The choir has 45 members and includes students from various faculties, as well as working young adults.
This is the first overseas tour for the SUCC, which was founded in 2014.
“I am hoping we can give a good example of what we are doing here at the university and enrich Chinese learners. I am sure the choir will also get a lot of important things back by linking with a totally different culture and being enriched by Chinese ways,” says Berger.
The festival aims to promote choral exchange and create a platform for the exposure of singers and conductors alike.
In addition to concerts and competitions, a programme of choral workshops and clinics, as well as master classes by world-renowned experts in choral music, is being offered.
Maria Stallman, a first-year student and a member of the choir says:“It will be my first time in the East, so I’m really excited.”
Nontsikelelo Gumede, a second-year BCom Management Science student, says she is excited to find out more about the tour: “We don’t know everything yet. They’re still going to let us know closer to the time.”
Berger says: “The Chinese have sponsored a lot of money to get us there. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us that everybody can travel and it’s not depending on the social backgrounds.”
The choir will meet a week before their departure to Hong Kong to put in a few more hours of practice.
According to Berger, the choir will be ready to perform at the festival by July.
“The choir is in good shape but we need to shine in Hong Kong. If you have such a generous invitation and you are picked as artist-in-residence you need to shine. We’re striving for excellence and we will do our very very best to represent our university and our country in the best possible way.”
“This is about choral music and social justice. It is a reality in South Africa that some need support but this choir also strives for social justice.”
The funding from China extends to accommodation, food and sight-seeing, but the choir is still currently aiming to raise funds for the flights.
Donations can be made at https://gogetfunding.com/help-succ-get-to-hong-kong/.
More information about the choir can be found on their Facebook page.