South African youth choir lights up Vancouver
University of Pretoria Youth Choir (UPYC)—South Africa’s most renowned high-school-aged choir—is coming to town for an electrifying evening of song. UPYC performs in concert (with Coastal Sound Youth Choir and Vancouver Youth Choir) Wednesday, April 27, 8:00 p.m. at St. John’s Shaughnessy Church.
With their powerful voices, UPYC embodies hope and unity for their home country. The choir combines 80 students from 33 schools, drawing together youth from every cultural and socioeconomic background, with repertoire spanning all eleven of South Africa’s official languages. Onstage, they display an intense and joyful bond that easily transcends their differences. Over the years, UPYC has amassed a huge number of national and international awards, including gold medals at the World Choir Games.
The choir is being hosted in Canada by Edmonton’s Kokopelli Choir Association, which has been “sister choirs” with UPYC since 2010. That spring, a much-anticipated UPYC Canadian tour was heartbreakingly cancelled at the last minute because of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Three years later, in 2013, Kokopelli spent a month in South Africa, finally connecting face-to-face with UPYC for an extended visit (and several performances). The two choirs have also shared several members back and forth for six-month exchanges.
Now, finally, Kokopelli can introduce UPYC to Canadian audiences. “I don’t think it’s possible to hear UPYC and not come away feeling better about the world,” said Scott Leithead, Kokopelli’s artistic director. “I can’t wait to see them on one stage with Coastal Sound and VYC, two of my favourite Canadian youth choirs. Their spirit, their optimism, and their wonderful music go straight to your heart.”
See University of Pretoria Youth Choir (with Coastal Sound Youth Choir and Vancouver Youth Choir) Wednesday, April 27, 8:00 p.m. at St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church (1490 Nanton Ave.). Tickets ($25) are available at upyc.brownpapertickets.com and at the door.