The 10th ennial Word Choir Games will be taking place in Pretoria from 4 to 14 July 2018 with Tuks Camerata and Stellenbosch University Choir as hosts. South Africa will be the first African country to host this prestigious choral competition. Perdeby sat down with Tuks Camerata conductor Dr Michael Barrett and third year BMus student and Tuks Camerata chairperson James Paradza, to talk about the inner workings of the World Choir Games. At the World Choir Games more choirs are given the opportunity to participate, making it the biggest choral event in the world. Choirs apply to compete instead of needing to qualify as for other competitions. Both accomplished and amateur choirs compete at the appropriate level in two separate competitions. “It is […] the most organised and inspiring event. It is a wonderful idea to base the World Choir Games on the Olympic ideals of competing for bronze, silver and gold and there is something for everyone to work towards.” Dr Barrett adds.
There will be 15 000 singers performing in over 160 concerts, competitions and friendly performances. The Games will also feature a variety of workshops, providing an opportunity for choirs from all over the world to sing, socialise, and learn from one another. All this adds to the variety of events and lends the Games a special flair above other choral competitions. More choirs allow for a greater diversity in music range and increased interaction between passionate music lovers from around the world. Paradza emphasises how this accessibility will have many South African choirs participating in this year’s Games. He is particularly excited about this because according to him, “South African choirs are some of the world’s finest.” This year’s World Choir Games boasts four participating groups dedicated to only South African choirs. So, even with the formidable international presence, South Africa is definitely represented well with its multifaceted cultures and styles.
Because Tuks Camerata is the hosting choir, Dr Barrett is on the Artist Committee for The Games. Thus, he is actively involved with the organising of the event. He explains, “We started the planning in mid-2015, as we needed to present a massive preparation in order to apply to host the event. Shortly after July 2016, when it was announced that we had won the bid – the work accelerated and it has not slowed down. There is still so much to do – but we are working diligently every day to ensure the best World Choir Games to date.” Further Dr Barrett mentions how great it is to work with the like-minded members of the Artistic Committee and the organisers, Interkultur. He finds their passion and sheer dedication encouraging.
Tuks Camerata get to be part of the opening and closing ceremonies. They have already pre-recorded the anthem for the World Choir Games: “One Voice”. The British composer John Rutter wrote the anthem which will premiere with choir and orchestra at the Opening Ceremony of the World Choir Games 2018.
When asked what people can look forward to at the World Choir Games, Paradza mentioned the “great music” that will be featured. With 15 000 performers from all around the world coming together to sing their hearts out, it is hard to disagree. The World Choir Games will expose both seasoned and novice music lovers to music of many vibrant cultures in a beautiful musical celebration.