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True Namibian voicesÔÇÖ journeyÔÇÖs begun

by Debisa Cooper



The Voices of Namibia choir finally leaves for the USA to represent Namibia at the World Choir Olympics in Cincinnati county seat of Hamilton County, Ohio State, starting tomorrow, 3rd of July.
Numerous choirs from various countries around the world will be competing in the two-week 7th World Choir Olympics. With their vibrant Namibian tones, the Voices of Namibia choir hopes to sing it’s way to victory as they will be competing against top choral music choirs.
Voices of Namibia will be dazzling the world with various songs from around the world ranging from traditional Khoe-khoegowab songs to medleys of African folksongs and classics like ‘The battle of Jericho’ by the famous African-American arranger of choral music, Moses Hogan.  
Rayno Burger, Voices of Namibia choir conductor says that, “We have received sponsorship from different individuals, as we have had various fund raising events to date to fund the trip. Each one of the choir members donated about N$15 000 from their own pockets.
“Other donations came from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture that donated about N$41 000, Nedbank Namibia gave N$200 000 while many other individuals donated money and various items and have made it possible for us to go to the States.”
The choir will also be joined by the COTA Youth Choir from the College of the Arts from Windhoek. They will be participating in an open competition to qualify for the World Choir Olympics that are slated for 2014. Namibia is one of the three African countries to participate in the games together with South Africa and Nigeria.
“The choir will be participating in two categories, which are the mixed choir and the folklore categories. The biggest completion for us in these categories will be the University of Stellenbosch choir, which is the reigning champion in the mixed choir category.
“It will be very different this year compared to 2010, as we are more prepared now and know about the standards and requirements as well as the completions,” he says optimistically, adding: “We have been preparing aptly, with six-hour rehearsals every week, which is about 57 rehearsals overall for three to four hours daily.”
There are 23 musical categories – 11 during the first week of competition (July 5-7) and 12 during the second week (July 11-13). There is the Champions Competition for choirs that qualify in their respective categories and then there’s the Open Competition for choirs apply and are accepted by INTERKULTUR; a German organisation that originates from the World Choir Olympics.
The Champions Competition is judged by a panel of seven international adjudicators. Based on the scores, a choir may receive a gold, silver or bronze medal. The gold-medal winner with the highest score is named the champion of the World Choir Olympics in their categories. These are announced at the various award ceremonies.
While the Open Competition is judged by a panel of five international adjudicators, based on the scores, a choir may receive a gold, silver or bronze diploma. These are also announced at the various awards ceremonies.
Impressively, the Voices of Namibia at the 2010 World Choir Olympics came home with one gold and two silver medals in their categories and can only hope for the same or much more.
“Namibia should keep us in their prayers as it is a long way from home and wish us well, as we hope to bring back the gold medals. We will keep the nation posted,” Burger concludes.