KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir
The KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir is the oldest youth choir in South Africa, founded by Mr. Hein de Villiers in 1968 – celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2012.
As its name depicts, the choir consists of choristers from the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. Though based in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, it attracts talent from across the province, reaching as far south as Port Edward and Kokstad, Richards Bay in the north and inland to Mooi River and Newcastle.
Gérard’d du Toit has been the Artistic Director for the choir since 1996. He is supported by the board of the choir, which is elected annually. The board comprises chorister parents from the various regions in KwaZulu-Natal, and the choir’s Student Council.
The choir is a non-profit organization and relies on membership fees from every chorister with no additional income from government or sponsorships. This makes it difficult for many potential choristers to be a member of the choir, particularly for those from previously-disadvantaged backgrounds.
The choir does not discriminate in its membership. Hundreds of applicants, ranging in age from 15 to 25, audition annually in August and September. Only the top 70 are annouinced in October to represent the choir – based purely on the merit of their audition. During the following summer vacation, a choir camp is held where the choir members meet each other and start practicing their programme for the new year.
Rehearsals take place on Friday evenings during the first term of school in the new year. Pre-scheduled performances and tours take place during the second and third school terms.
The KZN Youth choir has travelled locally and abroad, aiming to continually raise the standard of singing by competing in International Choral Competitions in Europe every second year.
Locally the choir is well known and has toured to Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria on at least four different occasions, the highlight being the selection to perform at the opening ceremony of the International Philip MacLachlan Choral seminar in 2004 in Stellenbosch, an event which attracted more than 250 conductors from South Africa and abroad.
The choir was invited to participate in the International Johannes Brahms Choir Festival & Competition in Wernigerode, Germany for 2005 – the first South African choir to have been invited to this prestigious competition. It achieved first and third places for the Mixed Youth Choirs and Folklore, respectively, and was also awarded two gold medals for its performances.
Furthermore, the KZN Youth Choir received multiple awards from the South African Choral Society. This included Best Youth Choir for 2005 and Best CD 2004 and 2006.
The aims of the choir, which is representative of all sections of KwaZulu-Natal’s rich cultural diversity, are:
- To build the choral tradition in the KwaZulu-Natal province
- To enrich the community through concerts and cultural development
- To promote stylistically correct choral singing
- To engage the youth in a worthwhile activity in an organization based on a Christian ethos and an atmosphere of encouragement.
Published 31 May 2012
- Contact Person:
- Durban / Pietermaritzburg
- Postal Address:
- PO Box 22578, Margate, 4275
- +27 (0)39 312 2810
+27 (0)39 317 3812
- +27 (0)82 462 1932