The University of Johannesburg Choir won the Vryskitters Award for Best Musical Composition at the Vrystaat Arts Festival which took place in Bloemfontein from 11 – 15 July 2023. The choir performed two shows of Echoes of Heritage, a production of song and dance that celebrates the significance of cattle ownership in African culture.
The production was composed and arranged by UJ Artist in Residence Mbuso Ndlovu. It features eight original compositions and six arrangements, drawing from the lyrical beauty of seven distinct South African languages. The performance breathes life into the vibrant tapestry of practices, ceremonies, and traditions underpinned by the importance of ownership in African cultures.
“Being part of the UJ Artists in Residence Programme has provided me with unparalleled freedom to explore and expand my creativity. The collaboration with Renette Bouwer, Senior Choir Master of UJ Choir, and the talented choristers, have been nothing short of inspiring, allowing me to witness the realisation of my compositional explorations. Echoes of Heritage served as a remarkable testament to my artistic expression,” says Mbuso.
This annual arts festival celebrates creativity and cultural expression, offering diverse artistic experiences across various disciplines, including theatre, music, dance, literature, and visual arts.
“Our choristers’ already impressive interdisciplinary abilities were put on full display as they worked towards this performance. I was particularly impressed with their ability to embrace the emotional seesaw of this work and to see them feeding off the enthusiasm of the crowd.” says UJ Choir’s Choir Master, Renette Bouwer.
The UJ Choir will perform Echoes of Heritage again on 4 August 2023 at the annual Performance Studies International (PSI) conference in Johannesburg. For more information, please visit the UJ Arts & Culture website.