Legato Choir Festival spreads its wings to Mauritius in 2024


After a successful presentation of the second Legato Choir Festival, the organizers recently announced that this initiative will spread its wings to the beautiful island of Mauritius next year for the first International Legato Choir Festival and Awards.

Local amateur choirs can now also register for the third choral festival which will be presented again in Pretoria next year.

Thanks to the Legato Choir Festival, new energy was unleashed in the South African choral landscape this year with the presentation of 14 festival concerts in which a total of 53 amateur choirs participated.

The cream of local amateur choirs gathered with pomp and elegance last week for three awards events.

According to Elmi Kruger and Siswe Modlane, two of the choir festival’s advisory panel members, it was a pleasant experience to be able to experience the particularly high standard of the choirs and conductors.

“The quality of the work of the singers, conductors and accompanists was outstanding and therefore it was difficult to single out just one choir in each category. For me it was also so wonderful to be able to experience a relaxed and empathetic atmosphere with the choir singers, as well as with the audience,” says Kruger.

Modlane agrees that there was exceptional talent on display at this year’s choir festival.

“We were blown away by the amount of talent and the hard work that choirs put in. This was evident in the quality of nominees, accompanists, conductors and the choir members’ performances.

“The Legato Awards really make a difference by recognizing choral excellence at every level. It was excellent.”

Stefan Venter, chief financial officer of the choir initiative, says that the choir festival was a highlight on his cultural calendar. “It was like being at the Oscars. It was truly an experience.”

Two special awards were presented during the 2023 Legato Choir Awards events. Maralie Theron received the prize for exceptional contribution to the South African choral music landscape, and the Legato FP Production Prize was presented to Laerskool Tygerpoort Junior Choir.

Here is the full list of winners:

  • Legato Choir Award for exceptional performance of a contemporary classical choral composition

University of Pretoria Chorale for “Tyger” (conducted by Raine Pienaar)

  • Legato Choir Award for exceptional performance of a choral work in any South African cultural heritage or tradition

Potchefstroom High School for Girls Choir for “African Medley” (conducted by Netanja Brink)

  • Legato Choir Award for exceptional performance of a spiritual choral work in any choral musical tradition, style or language

Magaliesberg Children’s Choir for “Ave Maria” (conducted by Hanneli van Sittert)

  • Legato Choir Award for exceptional performance in ensemble singing

Constantiapark Primary School Senior Choir for “J’etends le moulin” (conducted by Annelie van Rooyen)

  • Legato Choir Award for excellence in choral conducting

Raine Pienaar (University of Pretoria Chorale)

  • Legato Award for excellence in choral accompaniment

Betsie van Schaap (Constantiapark Primary School Senior Choir)

  • Legato Award for exceptional musical achievement

University of Pretoria Chorale for “Dirait-on” (conducted by Raine Pienaar)