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Don’t curtail the curriculum vitae: Kearsney choristers ‘carpe diem’

| November 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Sue Miles

Dispelling traditionally held views regarding choir boys, many members of the Kearsney College choir play first team and provincial sports.

They are also prefects and team captains, win public speaking awards, write interhouse plays and are highly respected by their peers. The Kearsney choir emerged from this year’s World Choir Games, held in Riga, Latvia,1 as the second-most decorated choir (after the Guangdong Experimental Middle School Choir from China) that competes in this global challenge, also known as the ‘Olympics for Choirs’. Kearsney has won a total of 13 gold medals, six silvers and one bronze at the eight Games since 2000; and been crowned World Champions four times – in 2000, 2004, 2012 and 2014.

A culturally diverse, colourful choir

The World Choir Games is the largest choir competition in the world. This year’s event attracted 27 000 participants from 460 choirs and 73 countries. Kearsney competed in three categories, winning gold (for a score of 80% and above) in all three, and was crowned World Champions in the Scenic Pop category. It was a proud moment for the school and the country as the boys accepted their trophy in front of tens of thousands of spectators, with the national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika ringing out and the South African flag flying in the background. The cultural diversity of the choir is a distinctive feature and a source of great strength and pride. “The boys’ colourful exuberance, energy and vigour, matched with top-notch musical performances, highlights all that can be achieved if differences are put aside and a common goal is sought,” believes Kearsney College headmaster, Elwyn van den Aardweg.

“The pride in African culture, the passion with which it is presented, and the obvious teamwork are inspiring.”

Doing it all in a day

Kearsney College is not a specialist choir school, but rather encourages learners to develop their musical talents alongside those in the classroom, on the sports fields and in many other arenas.

Amongst the 64- member choir are the captains of the school’s 1st hockey and basketball teams, 1st team rugby, cricket, soccer and water polo players, a KwaZulu-Natal U20 basketball player and a Craven Week rugby player.2 This is proof of a timetable that works: the school’s daily schedule is designed so that boys never have to choose between sport and cultural activities.

Creating opportunity In July this year, the choir embarked on a European tour, culminating in the defence of their World Champion title at the World Choir Games. En route to the games, they were invited to represent the continent of Africa at the United Nations-sponsored Rhythms of One World Festival, involving seven choirs from around the world.3 This prestigious event included a performance at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Competing against the best in the world was a defining moment for the Kearsney choristers. “But, on a larger scale, being able to participate in a wide variety of activities develops in them a self-belief, pride and confidence that will empower them to compete in a global context as future leaders, in whichever fields they enter,” says Van den Aardweg.

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Category: Summer 2014

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