The 2nd International Choral Conductor’s Seminar

The 2nd International Choral Conductor’s Seminar

The 2nd International Choral Conductor’s Seminar will be presented at Bishops College in Rondbebosch, Cape Town from 12 – 15 May 2016. Presented by the Cape Soloists Choir, spoke to the organiser, Jaco Dippenaar.

For those who do not know you, please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am the conductor of the Cape Soloists Choir, and consequently the organiser of the 2nd Choral Conductors’ Seminar. My music career started at Outeniqua High School in George and has led me via the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School to Hilton College where I currently am the Organist and Choirmaster.

My passion for the art of choral conducting stems from my experiences whilst doing a Masters’ Degree in Choral Conducting and spending time in Norway for this. I believe that my involvement as adjudicator of Eisteddfods and choir competitions, as well as attending international symposiums and seminars serves as valuable reference in the design of conductor seminars that would offer the ideal opportunities and exposure to South African conductors and choral music lovers. I enjoy creating learning opportunities for fellow South Africans to add quality to the lives of the South African people.

How did the Cape Soloists Choir come into existence?
I founded the Cape Soloists Choir with the help of a friend, Antoinette Blyth, based on the Norwegian Soloists Choir founded by Knut Nystedt. Our dream was to form a specialist choir of soloist voices that would allow us to perform rewarding and challenging programmes throughout South Africa.

How is the Cape Soloists Choir linked with the choral conductors’ seminar?
The aim of the choir is to promote choral singing nationally and internationally, as well as the creation of inclusive educational opportunities for singers and choral conductors. The seminar will be the ideal platform to do so.

To organise a seminar involving an international faculty requires some doing. What is your experience in this regard?
My involvement in organizing learning opportunities for others has always been part of my 20 years as a teacher. It started with organising opportunities for my own students by organising lessons for them with specialists in their respective instruments. I soon started to invite my colleagues from other schools to benefit from the specialists I hosted, and loved being in a position to do so.

When I left the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School to take up the position of choirmaster at Hilton College, my focus naturally shifted to creating learning opportunities for the singers’ vocal technique and sight singing. This eventually led to me organizing a vocal ensemble festival with the acclaimed Nordic Voices - the ultimate experience in ensemble singing which involved groups from all over South Africa.

After I completed a Masters in Choral Conducting with Norwegian, Kåre Hanken, I felt so empowered that I wanted to share my unique experience with everyone. So I attended a choral seminar at Yale University in the USA, and was so inspired that I planned and organised the 1st International Choral Conductors’ Seminar in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands. The feedback and gratitude from the participants was so encouraging that I had to plan a second one!

What can people look forward to at the 2nd Choral Conductors’ Seminar?
They can look forward to wonderful concerts by the Cape Soloists Choir, Tygerberg Kinderkoor, Tygerberg Stadskoor, Cape Town Youth Choir, and the Cape Town Chamber Choir. The masterclasses will feature selected conductors giving all involved the opportunity to experience and witness sound principles in choral conducting and choral music performance.

Lectures by Kåre Hanken, Zimfira Poloz, Erik Dippenaar, Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg and Antoinette Blyth and members of the Cape Soloists Choir will feature topics such as ‘Repertoire decisions for your choir’, ‘The Business of the Arts’ an introduction to Arts Entrepreneurship investigating the opportunities for creative industry practitioners to create their own business through leveraging the five ecologies model, to name but a few.

Is there a closing date for choral practitioners to register for the seminar?
Yes, the 29th of February.

Where can people find out more about the seminar?
They are welcome to visit our website,

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