SU Choir thrills around the world

The internationally celebrated Stellenbosch University Choir has embarked on a concert tour which will take them via London and Wales to the 2018 World Choir Games in Tshwane.

The tour kicked off this week with a concert in the newly refurbished Purcell Room in the London Southbank Centre – Europe’s largest centre of the arts.

From London the choir travels via Bath to Wales where they will take part in the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod until the 8th of July. This festival yearly attracts around 50 000 visitors and 4 000 participants, including 150 choirs, from across the world. The SU Choir is one of only four choirs invited to perform in the International Celebration Concert in front of an audience of 2 000. This concert is the official opening of the Llangollen Eisteddfod and is broadcast on British TV.

The SU Choir will also take part in the colourful International Parade through Llangollen which sees the participating choirs walk through the city as representatives of their countries. The highlight of the Llangollen Eisteddfod is the Choir of the World competition concerts. The SU Choir will compete in three categories – Youth Choirs, Mixed Choirs and Open Choirs.

The choir will then return to South Africa for the 2018 World Choir Games in Tshwane in which more than 300 choirs from across the world will participate. Because André van der Merwe, the conductor of the SU Choir, is chairperson of the artistic committee of the Choir Games, the choir is not allowed to participate in the competition. It has, however, been invited to perform as demonstration choir at the Choir Games. Tickets for the SU Choir’s Celebration Concert at the Choir Games in the Universiteitsoord on 12 July is available through Nutickets.

The SU Choir has been number one on the Interkultur ranking list of a 1 000 international choirs for the past five years, but André van der Merwe emphasises that it is never about winning or losing:

“For me and the choir there is nothing ‘at stake’ on this tour. My choir members know the result of a competition – win or lose – must never be allowed to determine who you are. We are here for the music. We take part in a competition to challenge our own standards and to perform the music as beautifully as possible. Everything else is a bonus.”

A choir tour like this one is a great opportunity, says Van der Merwe:

“For every artist it is important to test his work on the international stage. It is a wonderful opportunity for growth to see how your own culturally specific repertoire is received in an international context. We perform interesting music, and I am curious to see how audiences respond.

“The SU Choir will be exposed to international choirs at the top of their game. We will share ánd learn! And I am excited to show how choirs make an important contribution to nation building in our country.”

Van der Merwe says he is very much looking forward to the concert in the Purcell Room of the Southbank Centre in London on the 1st of July: “It promises to be a special experience attended by many Matie alumni.”

  • Tickets for the London concert is available on Computicket. More than half the tickets have already been sold.
  • Click here to see the Stellenbosch University Choir performing John Legend’s “All of Me”. Legend was so taken with their version of his song that he tweeted about it earlier this year. Since then the video has been viewed more than 889 000 times on YouTube.
  • For more information, contact Khanita Rhode at the Woordfees office: or 021 886 5036.