Village Harmony has pledged to support Cape Town musician Bongani Magatyana as he organizes the first “Village Harmony Choir Festival” to be held in Cape Town on September 24, 2016. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to fully fund this year’s festival promoting traditional black South African community choral singing.
Help us meet our $10,000 goal by making a tax-deductible donation now.
In recent years South Africa’s choral scene has increasingly been dominated by choral competitions prioritizing the performance of the music from the western classical cannon. Preparing for round after round of competitions leaves little time or incentive for black choirs to perform their own traditional choral music for the local community or to create new folk compositions in the old style. This means that a lot of young black South Africans are now missing out on exposure to the rich repertoire that we’ve been so privileged to learn in our Village Harmony camps and choruses through the years.
The festival, which is intended to be annual, will provide an essential new venue outside of the pervasive competition choir scene and will offer financial incentives for black South African composers to write new “traditional” songs for choirs. Bongani is hoping that a successful first festival will attract local private and government funding for future years.
Ten Cape Town high school, university and church choirs have been invited to participate. Each ensemble will prepare a set of older folk songs and will be given funds to commission new songs composed in the traditional choral folk style, which they will also perform at the festival. The choristers will receive free transportation to and from the festival and free meals, and the choir organizations will receive honorariums for their participation.
An internationally-acclaimed director-composer, Bongani has been teaching Village Harmony groups in South Africa and in the United States since 2012 . Deeply moved by his experiences with Village Harmony, Bongani also wants the event to to expose singers to other folk music genres. He has asked Village Harmony directors Larry Gordon, Patty Cuyler and Mollie Stone to come to Cape Town a week in advance to rehearse a special world music ensemble with three singers chosen from each of the participating choirs.
If you make a donation of any size, we will send you a download link to recordings from the festival when it is over.
Or, you can send your check donation to:
Village Harmony, 5748 Hollister Hill Road, Marshfield, VT 05658