Sunday, 8 July 2018
This last official day of tour would rival Day 1 as the longest day! We were up and having breakfast at 7 am and the boys left in their gumboots for their Scenic Folklore sound check at the State Theatre. I stayed behind at the hotel to update Facebook with the Scenic Pop videos. Shortly after returning and a short time to rest – we were preparing to leave for the State Theatre once again. Just before we left Wandile Linda and Thando Skwatsha offered their encouragement to the boys. We were to perform first in order for us to transfer to the next venue, ZK Matthews Hall at UNISA for the Music of Spirit and Faith Category timeously. The boys only had a one hour wait this time which was well-used as a warm-up period and received a pre-performance talk from Ross Arde and Hector Mnyayiza – who were both 1st XV rugby players (Hector also played KZN Schools in Brad Barrit’s team) and both jointly led the Choir in 2004. Their talk emphasised the comradery and brotherhood the choir allows which is worth far more than any achievement. The boys exploded onto the stage in their colourful costumes. The energy was palpable, each boy put in 100% and they maintained that level for the entire repertoire. The solos were sung with more feeling than we have witnessed before and the boys were moved to tears after they left the stage – they knew that this was a special performance. They received standing ovations in the middle of their performance particularly after their synchronised and vibrant gumboot dance routine. The bubbly mood continued until we reached UNISA where the boys had a few group photographs taken and changed on the bus in readiness for their performance. We performed last in this category – which was a closely contested competition between all the choirs. This category well represented the international participation of the World Choir Games. The boys gave a very different performance to the ones we viewed and once again delighted the audience. The vibrant mood of the boys continued as they left the hall singing Shosholoza. We ate dinner in the bus, sewed a couple of pairs of split pants (indicative of the energy put into the performance!) and the boys changed into their outfits for the awards ceremony. The start of the ceremony was delayed due to some category decisions still outstanding due to late starts. Music and song filled the arena which was filled with excited choirs awaiting their results. The boys fully made use of the time to socialise, with especially the Russian girls’ choir! The Awards ceremony is always very long with the every choir formally presented with their medals and certificates for each category. And so the wait was filled with adrenaline and anticipation. The Scenic Pop Category was announced first and the boys were most satisfied with their gold medal (85%) and third place. Harmonize from Korea was placed second and Bernard Kruger and his Drakensberg Choir were announced as Champions for that category. The boys (many of whom are Drakies Old Boys) celebrated the win for these young and talented choristers. The Music of Spitrit and Faith was next after another wait – to receive gold (and 4th place) in this category was a bonus! The most anticipated category of Scenic Folklore was announced last. The announcement of 78% and a silver medal (third place) was somewhat perplexing to the choir and their supporters - who knew what the presentation had cost them in energy and effort. This was a low-scoring category with the winners, St Mary’s, gaining a well-deserved champion status of 82.5%. South Africa was the country that received the most number of choirs with Champion status. Drakensberg Boys Choir (1 title) Tygerberg Children’s Choir (2 titles) St Mary’s DSG Kloof (1 title) and University of Johannesberg (1 title). The boys returned to the hotel at midnight emotionally and physically drained after a wonderful 12 day tour wherein they bonded as brothers and made the Kearsney family so proud. The boys added three medals to the Kearsney Choir treasure chest, bringing the choir’s tally to 15 gold medals.