‘Var­sity Sing’ looks set to hit the high notes

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JAN CRONJE

FOR­MER Spring­bok rugby cap­tain Fran­cois Pien­aar may not or­di­nar­ily be as­so­ci­ated with singing, but he has in­deed turned his at­ten­tion to univer­sity choirs.

Now, thanks to Pien­aar’s Var­sity Sports, which has al­ready worked to raise the pro­file of univer­sity rugby, net­ball, soc­cer and other sports, South Africa’s best univer­sity choirs are set to com­pete in a new tele­vised choral com­pe­ti­tion, Var­sity Sing.

Twelve uni­ver­si­ties from around the coun­try are com­pet­ing for the prize of best choir in the 13-week singing con­test, be­ing broad­cast on kykNET.

Pien­aar, the for­mer Spring­bok cap­tain and now chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ad­vent Sport En­ter­tain­ment and Me­dia, which runs Var­sity Sports, said mu­sic was a nat­u­ral fit along­side sports such as rugby and soc­cer.

“The nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion was to also pro­vide a plat­form for arts and cul­ture, to see what cul­tural tal­ent we have at our uni­ver­si­ties.”

And of course there will be celebrity judges: R&B singer Loy­iso Bala, con­duc­tor Christo Burger and Cape Town Opera’s chorus master Marvin Ker­nelle.

“If this is the way the com­pe­ti­tion is go­ing, we are in for a great time,” said Bala, of the pop­u­lar group The Bala Broth­ers, after the first round of per­for­mances.

The judges will be joined by a celebrity guest judge in each episode.

The 12 univer­sity choirs have been di­vided into four re­gions of three choirs for round one.

They have to per­form three songs per episode, cov­er­ing new and tra­di­tional mu­sic.

And the three songs have to be per­formed in three of the coun­try’s of­fi­cial lan­guages.

After the pi­lot episode broad­cast last week, Var­sity Sing kicked off in earnest on Thurs­day evening in Cape Town, with Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity, the Univer­sity of the West­ern Cape and UCT com­pet­ing for places in the semi­fi­nals.

It then moves to Port El­iz­a­beth, Jo­han­nes­burg and the Free State.

From each re­gion in round one, two uni­ver­si­ties will pro­ceed to the semi-fi­nals, or eight uni­ver­si­ties in to­tal.

Four choirs will pro­ceed to the fi­nal, which will be broad­cast live from Jo­han­nes­burg on Oc­to­ber 13.

For the fi­nal, view­ers can help chose the over­all win­ner by vot­ing on the Var­sity Sports app, which is avail­able for down­load on Ap­ple and An­droid phones.

Var­sity Sing is broad­cast at 8.30pm on Thurs­days on kykNET.

In other choir- re­lated news, the Cape Town Male Voice Choir has called for com­posers to en­ter its choral com­po­si­tion com­pe­ti­tion and win two R10 000 and four R5 000 prizes. For more in­for­ma­tion on en­try dates, guidelines and rules, call 082 860 0402 or email info@ ct­mvc.org.za.

jan.cronje@inl.co.za

PICTURES: VAR­SITY SING

The Univer­sity of the West­ern Cape choir looked the part as they com­peted against UCT and Stel­len­bosch.

The choir of the Nel­son Man­dela Met­ro­pol­i­tan Univer­sity per­forms dur­ing Var­sity Sing, a new knock-out choral com­pe­ti­tion on kykNET.

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