From sharing stage with Beyoncé to top honours: Mzansi Youth Choir wins huge international award

The Mzansi Youth Choir perform onstage during the Celebrate Africa The Grand Finale at the Coca Cola Dome on July 9, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Michelly Rall/WireImage)
The Mzansi Youth Choir perform onstage during the Celebrate Africa The Grand Finale at the Coca Cola Dome on July 9, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Michelly Rall/WireImage)

The Mzansi Youth Choir has once again made South Africa proud by walking away as the winner in the category “Choirs with Accompaniment” at the 2020 World Choir Games.

The World Choir Games is an annual musical highlight that is organised by Interkultur, a worldwide organisation that represents approximately 120 000 choirs from 80 different countries.

The event was planned to take place in Belgium this year but due to the global Covid-19 pandemic the 10th edition of the competition was held virtually.

The Mzansi Youth Choir’s video submission A Million Dreams by Benj Pasek, arranged by James Bassingthwaighte, was recorded with the team in isolation and was one of 128 videos from 44 countries that were presented on Interkultur’s platform and social media pages between 5 and 15 July.

Video submissions were judged on creativity, production, and choir quality and entries were made in two categories: Choirs a Capella and Choirs with Accompaniment, in which the local favourite walked away as the winner.

“This is an amazing achievement by wonderful, motivated choristers and it has been a privilege to fly South Africa’s flag high amidst very difficult times during this Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sidumo Nyamezele, the musical director of Mzansi Youth Choir.

The TU Wien Chor from Austria walked away as the winners in the a capella category and the Little Singers of Armenia group was recognised for the most encouraging video in times of Covid-19.

Taking to Facebook, the team congratulated their competitors and fellow winners and said they are looking forward to taking to the stage in the future, adding, “for now — we are celebrating safely social distanced!”

The Mzansi Youth Choir was formed in 2003 to provide a platform to talented and vulnerable teenagers and young adults to perform locally and abroad and to foster an appreciation for African music.

They featured alongside Shakira at the 2010 Fifa World Cup and have performed with the likes of Beyoncé, Andrea Bocelli, and our Grammy-award winning Soweto Gospel Choir.


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