By Brian Kemp
Travelling to South Africa? Well, you’re going to Cape Town, right? And you want to see if you can get the Big 5? Here’s something that’s better than Cape Town. Better than the Big 5. And it’s the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir.
There are quite a few things that are unique or world class in South Africa, and the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir is one of them.
Doors opened in 1965 to the first 20 pupils. The dream was of a multi-racial, multi-cultural Choir School to rival the Vienna Boys. Not in the middle of a history-rich, ancient European city. But in the boondocks. In a beautiful, rural, sparsely populated valley in the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The first and only one of its kind on the continent.
Today the annual intake is 100 boys between 9 and 15, and auditions are held nation-wide. Can you think of anything more sublime than crisp, mountain air, majestic mountains, azure skies and natural beauty as far as the eye can see, complemented by the pure tones of counter-tenor harmony?
The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir tours overseas every year and is internationally recognized as one of the best in the world. And they aren’t just holier that thou brats either – after hours they’re into rapids tubing, abseiling and hiking in their Drakensberg paradise. They work hard and play hard.
Be prepared for diversity. If you like a good dirge, stay away. The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir has very catholic tastes. The first half of the concert is classical. You might hear Bach or Beethoven or Mozart. The second half can be anything. It could be Queen. (Freddie Mercury would have loved it). Or folk, or jazz, or sacred music. Or African harmonies you’ve never heard before that will bring tears to your eyes.
Come with tissues. And a jersey, for the goosebumps. But whatever you do, BE THERE. The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir performs most Wednesdays during term time at 3.30 p.m. There is a world class auditorium on campus.
So if you’re coming to South Africa – sure Cape Town’s good and you need the Big 5. But you really shouldn’t miss this. Sublime Drakensberg experience!
Brian & Janette Kemp own Halls Country House, a 4-star retreat in the foothills of the Drakensberg in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Article Source: Travel Article Library.com
The Choir is representative of the multi-faceted cultures that make up South Africa. It has created a new trend in the international choral scene that transcends the conventional. A unique style of diversity – Bach, Beethoven, Freddie Mercury, African sounds, Jazz, Folk, etc.
The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir captivates audiences with its unique and diverse style of music, which demonstrates the versatility and depth of the Choir’s ability. This can be especially seen and heard with the recent addition of more modern art music. The Choir is internationally acclaimed for its unique African repertoire, containing various traditional works like ‘Shosholoza’, and ‘Night Sounds’ where the boys imitate the sounds of the African Bush. They also perform a ‘Gumboot Dance’, which originated on the South African mines. Using authentic African instruments and body percussion as accompaniment, the boys perform traditional African works as have never been experienced before!
The Choir also excels in music such as Handel’s “Messiah”, Mozart’s “Requiem”, Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms”, Bach’s “Magnificat”, and many more works of this stature. [wikipedia]