The Stirling Chamber Choir walked away with gold after scoring 87.38% at the prestigious 10th World Choir Games in Tshwane last week and clinching overall fifth place.
Stirling’s 30-member chamber choir, mainly made up of high school pupils, triumphed over fellow South African youth choirs namely the NCA North West Youth choir, UP youth Choir from the University of Pretoria and the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir, making them the best South African choir in the mixed youth choir category.
Conducted by Leoni Armour Johl, the choir was accompanied by local music guru Jacques du Plessis, who added his skills to their repertoire.
“We were up against very strong choirs from around the world who have competed in previous international competitions and have a long-standing existence and tradition of choral singing,” said Johl.
“We are a new choir of only four years, and one of the smallest, so it is quite amazing to be up there with the top.”
When asked about the experience, choir member and Stirling High School matric pupil Daniel Anderson said: “We, as a chamber choir, are so humbled by our results.
“The competition was very stiff and equally inspirational to us all. We learned so much and are excited to take this knowledge into practice.”
The competition saw over 300 choirs and 16 000 participants from 60 different countries take part, with Stirling battling it out against 15 choirs in the mixed youth choirs category and 16 in the folklore category as part of the Champion’s Competition.
In the mixed youth choir category, they wowed the 48 expert judges with excellent renditions of four high level competition standard songs, including the song Dansgebed from one of South Africa's prolific choral composers, Pieter Louis van Dijk.
“It’s a difficult and rhythmically very challenging piece, which my choir just love to sing, and we actually achieved the highest result with it,” said Johl.
The choir also bagged sixth place in the folklore category, scoring 80.5% and gaining another gold medal for an African song medley.
“The experience was one of connecting and making friendships with people from all four corners of the earth through a universal language: choral music – it is something invaluable and difficult to explain,” said Anderson.
“We wish to give all the glory to God and thank our wonderful teachers for their tireless work and input into the choir. They are remarkable humans!”