Participating Choirs for 2012 Festival
Kearsney College Choir from South Africa
Bernard Krüger, Director
The Kearsney College Choir has become synonymous with performance excellence, audience appeal and critical acclaim. With its signature blend of classical, pop and indigenous music, the choir has a growing international following with supporters from the USA, Asia, Europe and the rest of Africa.
The choir boasts with a long list of accolades to its name, including 7 Gold medals and 6 Silver medals at the World Choir Games (the Olympics for Choirs) between 2000 and 2010. The choir was awarded the “Prize of the City of Vienna” at the 33rd International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna as well as 1st prizes in various international choral competitions in Hong Kong, Germany and Austria.
Kearsney College Choir is currently ranked 17th in the Musica Mundi World Rankings and is the top folklore choir in the world. Being a multi-faceted and multi-cultural entity within the College, the choir is an important ambassador for the College, but also for the Zulu Kingdom and the Rainbow Nation (South Africa). Their commitment to perform and promote the indigenous music of our country and the rest of the continent is a clear indication of the passion and pride they have for their rich African heritage.
University of Newcastle Chamber Choir from Australia
Philip Matthais, Director
The University of Newcastle Chamber Choir, established in 1995, includes students and staff of the University along with members of the wider community. The Choir has had enourmous success, with numeruos wins in national and international competitions, performances in many of the world’s great cities and venues, and the release of six CDs.
The Choir has performed in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, Winchester and Liverpool Cathedrals, St Asaph Cathedral in Wales, and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The Choir also toured South Korea in 2004 and, most recently, undertook its first tour of the People’s Republic of China in July 2010.
In 2006, the Choir won the adult choir section in the national finals of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Choir of the Year Competition against the best choirs from each state of Australia. The Choir has enjoyed major successes at the McDonald’s Sydney Eisteddfod, including winning the Open Award for Choirs, the City of Sydney Chamber Choir Award, the Australian Choral Award and the John Lamble Australasian Open Choral Championship in 2007 and again in 2010.
The various awards won by the Choir include the Open Awards for Choirs, the City of Sydney Chamber Choir Award, the Australian Choral Award, the national TV competition “Battle of the Choirs” and the John Lamble Australasian Open Choral Championship.
The Choir’s repertoire is wide-ranging, comprising of music from the Renaissance to the 21st century, including many Australian works, which has made them very popular throughout Australasia.
Norwegian Girl’s Choir from Norway
Anne Karin Sundal-Ask, Director
The Norwegian Girl’s Choir, with its proud traditions, is globally recognized for its artistic performances. The now independent unit stems from the former National Norwegian Broadcasting’s Choir (NRK). The choir has made its mark, both domestically and internationally, by winning several prizes and awards.
The repertoire is broadly spanned, from Norwegian folk music, via classical pearls, to complex, modern compositions tailor-made for the choir. The artistic manager, Anne Karin Sundal has lead several of the country’s best choirs, merited with awards and recognitions.
Her Highness, Mette-Marit, The Crown Princess of Norway, handpicked The Norwegian Girl’s Choir to perform as the only choir on her CD-release, “Sorgen og gleden”. The choir has also performed in several TV-shows on radio. Several well-merited Norwegian singers and artists are alumni of The Norwegian Girl’s Choir, among them Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz, Hege Schøyen and Anita Skorgan.
The Norwegian Girl’s Choir is touring extensively. In recent years the choir has performed in France, Italy, Sweden, Scotland and Japan. In 2012, the choir will be touring in the US, performing a tailor-made piece of composer Ola Gjello.
Signal Hill Alumni Chorus from Trinidad and Tobago
John Arnold, Musical Director
Founded in 1984, the Signal Hill Alumni Choir (SHAC) of Tobago is now deemed a cultural institution and icon of Trinidad and Tobago. SHAC evolved from the Signal Hill Senior Comprehensive School Folk Choir, which dominated the Folk Category of the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival in 1982 and emerged as undisputed National Junior Folk Champions.
The Choir, directed by one of the founders Mr. John Arnold, ably assisted by Miss Georgina Peterkin, who handles choreography. SHAC have appeared before many world dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth 11 and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. They’ve performed at many international choral festivals and have won many awards being acclaimed Most Outstanding Adult Choir and Most Outstanding School Choir..
Consisting of Caribbean Folk, World Music, African Folk, Gospel, Reggae, Christmas, Calypso and Soca music, they perform in a’ Folk Operatic’ style as they move to every song with well-choreographed steps. The magic of Signal Hill Alumni is to experiance them in person!
Appalachian Children’s Chorus from West Virginia, USA
Selina Midkiff, Director
The Appalachian Children’s Chorus was founded in 1990 by Selina Cosby Midkiff, has grown from 12 members to more than 200 today. ACC, named the official children’s chorus of West Virginia as well as ambassadors of music of West Virginia, is considered a rich, exciting and educational experience for West Virginia’s children and around the United States.
Having music is the facilitator toward skills that will carry choristers for the rest of their lives, ACC performs for local, state and national organizations, including the West Virginia Symphony. The chorus has performed at Carnegie Hall, Washington National Cathedral, the Greenbrier Resort and Walt Disney International. Internationally, ACC has performed in England, Austria, Czech Republic, Hawaii and in 2010 took their first international solo tour to Ireland. ACC is also the proud host of the Appalachian Festival of Young Voices.
Voices International from Luxembourg
Thomas Raoult, Musical Director
Voices International a.s.b.l. was established in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 1997 by some members of the local amateur production of the musical “Oklahoma” who wanted to continue singing following their participation. Since then they have continued onward and upward. Headed by musical director Thomas Raoult, the choir has expanded and improved, and is now recognized as a highly competent, entertaining and well-respected chorus throughout the country and rest of Europe.
Voices International (VI), now in existence for over 15 years, has performed at such prestigious events as the Silver Wedding Anniversary of the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg, alongside some of the most recognized professional musical talents in the country.
VI performs 12-14 times per year, with as many as 1,200 people in attendance. In May 2012, the group was invited to play a large musical role in staging a Spanish zarzuela (a form of operetta), which played to a full house in the Grand Théâtre of Luxembourg and raised many thousands of euros for a Peruvian children’s charity.
County Town Singers from Canada
Barbara Ouellette, Director
In 1967, during Canada’s Centennial Celebration, a dozen Whitby citizens, led by Joe and Joyce Wainwright, responded to the Federal Government’s invitation to honour Canada’s 100th Birthday by forming the “County Town Singers”. They were named for the Town of Whitby which was the “county” seat in times past.
Now in existence for over 37 years, the Choir has not only become renowned for their beautiful music but also for their strong commitment to community service. Raising over $300,000 since its inception, County Town Singers have performed from senior group homes, service clubs and church fundraisers to the Miami Convention Centre, Toronto’s SkyDome, and concert halls around Canada and Europe.
Dubbed as “Canada’s Singing Ambassadors”, theyhave toured Western and Eastern Canada, England and Ireland and most recently, in Spring 2003, Eastern Europe. As the years pass, they continue to strive for choral and musical excellence, while entertaining they audiences with a wide variety of music. They truly enjoy what they do and continue to “Sing for the Love of it”