With South Africa still in a state of lockdown, having to follow strict social distancing rules, the award-winning Stellenbosch University (SU) Choir has decided to continue bringing music of hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The choir recently released a new virtual music project, 'Die Donker', on its YouTube channel. All 119 choir members participated by recording individual home videos along with a metronome soundtrack to ensure synchronized recordings.
SU Choirmaster André van der Merwe says that the music project gave the choir the opportunity to function as a team again in a time when they cannot be physically together.
“With the global pandemic, society became more complex almost overnight. At first, the choir members and I were very sad about the events. We missed a great opportunity to take part in the World Choir Games in Belgium in July this year. This video project is a small consolation prize and it also allowed the choir members to re-evaluate what is really important to them."
The music for 'Die Donker' is an adaptation of two iconic Afrikaans songs, 'Die Gang' (Christopher Torr performed by Laurika Rauch) and 'Klein Tambotieboom' (Die Heuwels Fantasties).
Gerhard Roux mixed the sound for the choir and Regardt Visser edited the 119 videos together.
According to Van der Merwe, the virtual music project has been an interesting medium through which the choir can still communicate with their audiences.
“I believe that artists should re-invent themselves and must re-evaluate themselves regularly within a socio-political context. The project is not trying to compete with organic choral singing and it will never replace it either. We still have a voice and we still want to share it with our fans," says Van der Merwe.
The Stellenbosch University Choir has toured overseas extensively and won critical acclaim for its performances. The choir is the oldest and most celebrated university choir in South Africa. William Morris founded it in 1936.
At least three songs by the SU choir have exceeded the million views mark on YouTube. These include:
- Say Something (Pentatonix) at 5,5 million views,
- Baba Yetu (Christopher Tin) at 2,6 million views, and
- All of Me (John Legend) at 2 million views.
Click here to watch more performances by the SU choir on their YouTube channel.