The Mzansi Youth Choir, made up of 55 performers aged 14 to 24, put many hours of heartfelt energy into their rehearsals, and their hard work has paid off.
In December last year the Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir invited them to join them in a unique performance of “Halo” with Beyoncé at the Global Citizen Concert held in Johannesburg to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela, complete with additional lyrics in isiZulu.
And a special highlight in 2017 was performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London at the International Youth Choir Festival – the only choir from Africa that was invited.
The choir have had a fantastic start to 2019 too. To a standing ovation, they opened the first-of-its-kind Africa Play Conference at Menlyn Maine in Pretoria, something co-choir founder Jannie Zaaiman called “an absolute honour”.
The conference brought together 400 thought leaders, educators, policy makers and researchers from around the world to discuss, share insights and inspire new ideas and ways of learning that will equip children all over Africa to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners.
“Music is a form of creative learning and has instilled discipline and structure in the lives of our choristers, so this conference definitely resonated with us,” said the choir’s African music director Sidumo Nyamezele.
Then, in February, the choir mentored and worked with a local choir in the mining town of Aggeneys in the Northern Cape. Mzansi’s vocal coach Monde Msutwana conducted, and four of the choir’s choristers joined the Aggeneys singers at the official opening of the Gamsberg Mine by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. “We had an incredible time working with and coaching the choir of Aggeneys, and made new friends with this talented choir,” says Msutwana.
February also saw the Mzansi Youth Choir perform at the Sandton Convention Centre to 1 400 guests at the Chabad Miracle Drive, an annual charity event that helps raise millions for a multitude of charitable projects.
And that same week Grammy Award-winning South African flautist, producer and composer Wouter Kellerman invited the choir to join him at a performance at Hyde Park to launch streaming channel Viu, along with other top South African performers including Mafikizolo.
“Wouter is an esteemed and talented artist and it was fantastic to be able to perform with him and witness his unique abilities as a flautist,” says the choir’s music director James Bassingthwaighte.