The Wits Choir

The Wits Choir

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The Wits Choir is the essence of what the new South Africa stands for, peace, equality and diversity. Their motto is excellence in music through diversity, and damn, do they achieve it! You will be blown away with numerous genres, all of which have been perfected!

Biography

The Wits Choir is unlike any choir you have ever experienced: vibrant, young, and colourful! Membership is open to all, resulting in a choir drawn from diverse national and international cultures. We have members from as far afield as Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania. A live performance is a superb blend of melody, harmony, lyrics, gesture and dance that is a memorable experience for both audience and chorister.
The Choir was originally started in the 1960s when it was run by the Wits University Music Department. Due to various factors, it was disbanded in 1993. In 1995 a group of concerned staff and students approached the current Director, Dalene Hoogenhout, to reconstitute the Wits Choir as an independent and representative choir of high musical standard.
The Wits Choir has a large fan base and has performed by invitation at many official functions, including all important Wits University ceremonies, graduations and inaugurations. Highlights for the members have included the honour of performing for former state president, Nelson Mandela, at the South African Business Awards at Emperor’s Palace; on the occasion of his receiving his honorary doctorate from the University; and at the inauguration of current Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Loyiso Nongxa. At the opening of the Maropeng Visitors’ Centre at the Cradle of Humankind, the Choir had the opportunity of performing before former president Thabo Mbeki, and again at the memorial service for the late Helen Suzman, also attended by former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Advocate George Bizos, Justice Edwin Cameron, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Graça Machel, Professor Ramphele Mampela, and Prince Mangasotho Buthelezi, among others. The reaction to the Choir’s singing was overwhelming. The Choir managed to touch the hearts of the thousand people who were in the Great Hall for the service.
Additionally, the Wits Choir has collaborated with several nationally- and internationally-acclaimed artists including Loyiso Bala, Skwatta Kamp, RJ Benjamin, Five Men Three Missing and Dear Reader (formerly Harris Tweed), as well as hosting numerous choirs from all over the world – The Technical University of Estonia’s Male Voice Choir, Pennsylvania State University’s Essence of Joy Choir, and the Women’s Concert Chorale from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The Wits Choir has an extensive outreach programme for the advancement of choral music and conducting. Mini-tours to the Cape Platteland, Mpumalanga and to the Royal Bafokeng in Phokeng (near Rustenburg) have afforded the Wits Choir the opportunity to work with local choirs and conductors for the furthering of music education and to form meaningful partnerships. The choir also regularly holds choir festivals and workshops involving singers and conductors from church, school and community choirs.
The Wits Choir has spread the magic of South African music and culture through tours to Namibia (1998), Kenya (2001), Argentina (2003) and their hugely successful tour to the Czech Republic at the end of 2006. At the Fringe of the 2008 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the Wits Choir presented a collection of shows entitled Outlines Harmonised, Outlines Redefined and Outlines Diversified, each designed to showcase a different dimension of the Choir’s versatility and extraordinary talent, and some of the World’s most beautiful music.
In February 2008, the Wits Choir completed the recording of their debut studio album entitled Outlines Redefined, endorsed by Classic fm This album features many audience favourites, including Sizongena Laph’emzini, U Kane Kameme, Wees My Genadig, and the Swahili song, Malaïka.

Discography

'Africa - Outlines Redefined', The Wits Choir (2009)

Set List

REPERTOIRE 2009
SACRED

· Alleluia, Composed by: Father Immanuel Mlenga
· All my trials, Composed by: Trad. Bahamian Spiritual, Arranger: Norman Luboff
· Amagugu, Composed by: Trad. Zulu spiritual, Arranger: Danie Hyman
· Ave Maria, Composed by: Heitor Villa-Lobos
· Bawo Thixo Somandla, Composed by: Trad. Xhosa
· By and By from A Child of our Time, Composed by: Trad. African/American Spiritual, Arranger: Michael Tippett
· Ek slaan my oë op na die Berge, Composed by: Stephen L Carletti
· Exultate Deo - a motet, Composed by: Francis Poulenc
· I’m gonna sing ’til the spirit moves in my heart, Composed by: Moses Hogan
· Louez, le Seigneur, Composed by: Trad. Cameroon processional song, Arranger: RM Johnson
· Swing low, Sweet chariot, Composed by: Trad. African/American Spiritual, Arranger: Peter Knight
· We walk in the light of God, Composed by: Trad.
· Wees my genadig, Composed by: G Kendrick, Arranger: Ellen van Eyk

SECULAR

· Adios Nonino, Compose