The University of Stellenbosch choir has returned home to a hero’s welcome at the Cape Town International airport.
The 120 -member strong choir was the biggest winner at the International Choir Games in Russia, clinching gold in three categories.
Over 300 choirs from 36 countries across the world participated.
It was a triumphant arrival as family and friends welcomed back the successful songbirds. The Choir won gold medals in three categories.
Clinching 98-percent for contemporary music, the highest awarded in any of the competition’s 27 categories.
“You know the most magnificent thing about winning a competition in the choral context is that every year I start with almost half choir new, it’s not just going overseas every year and winning competitions. You have to re-invent yourself, there is always a new group,” says Choir Master Ander van der Merwe.
Choir members expressed their happiness about the win.
“We really are just a family orientated choir and we just love each other all so much, and there’s a lot of support,” says member, Loren Lindoor.
“It has been a really amazing experience as a choir in general, being such a diverse group of people coming together and making music, touching people and affecting people with music,” says another member, Jerobiam James.
“I can’t believe how much time we put in, with regards to practice, at least 5 hours a week, like grinding the music, and our secret (don’t tell anyone) is that we practise when the academic year starts, we practice before,” says member Luthando Siboya.
The achievement secures the choir first place on the Interkultur list as best international non-professional choir.
“It is really a wonderful, wonderful day, a fantastic performance by the choir and we are excited for them. They did us proud as the university but they did South Africa very proud and I am so pleased with it,” says Stellenbosch Professor Wim de Villiers.
As a further bonus, the choir also clinched a special CD contract for the coveted Choirs of the World series.
The ninth biannual International Choir Games are due to be held in South Africa in 2018.