‘Varsity Sing’ looks set to hit the high notes
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.
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.