Come July the World Choir Games – the “Olympic Games” of the global choral community – will be taking place for the first time on African soil, in the City of Tshwane.
The City is proud to host the 10th edition of this prestigious event in the same month as the centenary of the birth of our first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela. To quote President Mandela: “Music is a great blessing. It has the power to elevate and liberate us. It sets people free to dream. It can unite us to sing with one voice. Such is the value of music
The Games will see 16 500 participants, bringing family and friends, arrive in Tshwane for a fortnight of music and song, from 3 to 14 July.
The World Choir Games, held every two years, is the largest choir competition on the international calendar. This year there will be more than 300 choirs from 59 countries, taking part in 500 competition concerts and 50 friendship performances.
Since its beginning, choirs from South Africa have been fascinating the audience and the singers from all over the world … South Africa is a land of choirs, a land of singing,” according to Interkultur President Günter Titsch. Interkultur is the world body that runs the Choir Games.
Music is a universally shared language that has the ability to cross all boundaries, helping to build a sense of well-being and social cohesion – a message of peace and a much-needed refuge, particularly in times of crisis and conflict across the globe.
This year, a new anthem for the World Choir Games – One Voice – will be premiered at the Opening Ceremony. One Voice was composed by the remarkable John Rutter, one of Interkultur’s honorary artistic presidents.
There will also be a special Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert held during the festivities.
The City of Tshwane focuses on building a strong, socially cohesive community and ensuring that all citizens are included in all facets of life in our city, and with some 80 000 visitors attending the Games, the City of Tshwane expects the event to have an impact on our local economy.
Apart from contributing to understanding and peace among nations, this amazing festival plays an invaluable role in celebrating arts and culture in our city. Tshwane has a rich tradition of choral music: schools, youth clubs, communities, universities all across the city have choirs. There is even a township called Mamelodi, which means Mother of Melody.
And, while the city is proud of its rich musical heritage, it has much more to offer.
South Africa is a glorious blend of different local cultures that makes for a melting pot of creativity, and the City of Tshwane reflects the essence of South Africa – it is a dynamic and cosmopolitan meeting place where cultures meet and take time to share.
The City of Tshwane has a young and vibrant student population, with four universities and numerous colleges. Our townships have a lively jazz scene, while many of our musicians are creating a unique city-sound of their own.
We are home to the official seat of government, the Union Buildings, where you are greeted by the embracing bronze statue of Madiba, and we are South Africa’s diplomatic hub with 134 embassies and high commissions based in the city.
On the urban edge of our city is the Dinokeng Game Reserve, a game reserve where you can view the Big Five as they roam free in their natural habitat.
Then there is Freedom Park, which commemorates the country’s complex and turbulent history and remembers and honours ordinary South Africans who played their part in building our country – but also melds the history of our continent.
It is fitting that we all meet in Tshwane – a city that lives by the philosophy “Re a Tshwana” (we are the same).