The Choir won first places and gold medals in three categories. In the category for sacred á Capella, it received a score of 92%; in the category for Spirituals 94%; and, in the category for contemporary music 98%. This is the highest score awarded in any of the 27 categories in which choirs competed in over the last ten days. With this achievement, the SU Choir keeps its first place on the Interkultur list as best international non-professional choir – a position the Choir has been holding since 2012.
A further bonus was the special CD contract for the coveted Choirs of the World series.
“The win is a bonus,” said Van der Merwe. “My point of view is always that winning is not the only goal. To me it is much more enjoyable to challenge myself and the team to explore the music with integrity. When the music comes first, it communicates in a powerful way. In the end it is all about challenging oneself to experience how your culture takes shape in the international context.”
The International Choir Games are held biannually and this year more than 300 choirs from 36 countries competed. This is the biggest choir competition in the world. Interkultur earlier announced that the ninth International Choir Games in 2018 will be in Tshwane, South Africa.
The SU Choir consists of 120 students and André van der Merwe has been leading the choir for 12 years. “The choir members were true ambassadors for Matieland and South Africa,” Van der Merwe continued. “Choir music does not only bring our own cultures together, but also demonstrates to international audiences that music brings people closer to one another. I am immensely proud of the choir – success is never a one man show. Hidden behind the glory of achievement is a system of outstanding management, team work and commitment.”