Nearly 16,000 young voices from all over the country competed last month to see who could sing the sweetest notes in the ATKV Applause school choir competition.
This popular choir competition is the oldest in the country and according to the ATKV, after 46 years, audiences still “laugh, cry and believe in the miracle of choral music”.
A record number of 225 choirs entered this year and gave each other a (singing) lesson in the final rounds which took place between Wednesday 26 July and Saturday 29 July in the ZK Matthews Great Hall at Unisa in Pretoria.
According to Bessie Keun, project organizer of ATKV-Applous since 1999, training plays a big role in the longevity of this competition.
According to Keun, his section for new choral works also helps to grow the competition. Around 700 new choral works have been added to the list of choral works for school choirs since the start of this competition.
“Many of the choir leaders who were at the helm of the choirs during this year’s final round, for example, also participated in ATKV-Applause in their school days. It gives me an incredible sense of gratitude that what you do is not lost – it is not transient; it is the building up of choral singing in South Africa.”
The actress Lizz Meiring, who has been involved with ATKV-Applous as master of ceremonies for the final round for more than two decades, was honored with a certificate during this year’s final round for her many years of contribution to the performing arts, Afrikaans and ATKV- Applause.
According to Meiring, it is important that there are organizations like the ATKV, which support the creative industry.
“How many millions of children have been through the choir festival alone, and I’m not even talking about the acting festival and other workshops? How many careers – extremely successful careers – has the ATKV built? So, it is a permanent involvement without any ulterior motives and where does one get it? It’s very rare.”
Meiring also believes that ATKV-Applous makes a contribution to participants’ lives that extends over years.
“Many of these children are not going to become musicians, or go into the music field. They may go into other professions, but somewhere in their lives they will nostalgically refer to their choir days, or the days when they did the acting festival, at a barbecue fire or at a meal or at a visit with friends, and the impact it had on their mere humanity. This is something that for me echoes in what Applous does.”
This year’s ATKV-Applause winners are as follows:
Winners: Wednesday 26 July
Merit section for non-Afrikaans school: Pinedene Primary School
Best execution of the prescribed work: Pinedene Primary School
Best performance of an Afrikaans composition: Pinedene Primary School
Best Performance of an African Song: Newcastle Senior Primary School
Open section (primary school): Elarduspark Primary School
Open Division (high school) C&N Secondary Girls’ School Orange
Thursday 27 July
Merit Division (primary school): Elarduspark Primary School
Best performance of an African song: Garsfontein Primary School
Best execution of the prescribed work: Willem Postma Primary School
Best performance of an Afrikaans composition: Elarduspark Primary School
Prestige section (primary school): Gene Louw Primary School
Best performance of an African song: Mooirivier Primary School
Best execution of the prescribed work: Eversdal Primary School
Best performance of an Afrikaans composition: Gene Louw Primary School
Friday 28 July
Best performance of an African song: Hoërskool Ferrum
Best performance of the prescribed work: Hoërskool De Kuilen High School
Best performance of an Afrikaans composition: Hoërskool De Kuilen High School
Merit Division (High School/mixed): Ferrum High School
Merit Division (High School/Girls): Hoërskool De Kuilen High School
Saturday 29 July
Best Performance of an African Song: Menlopark High School
Best execution of the prescribed work: Hoërskool Stellenberg
Best performance of an Afrikaans composition: Afrikaans Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria
Prestige section for girls’ high school: Afrikaans Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria and Hoërskool Stellenberg
Prestige section for boys’ high school: Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool
Prestige Division for mixed schools: Menlopark High School