The soaring harmonies of South Africa come to Oxford on Monday, with Bloemfontein Children’s Choir joining Oxford Youth Choirs for what promises to be a rousing performance at Oxford Town Hall.

The African Skies concert will bring together cultures, communities and genres in an exciting show designed to celebrate diversity in youth music.

There will be contributions from East Oxford Community Choir, Littlemore Parish Choir and Oxfordshire County Music Service.

The concert will be compèred by operatic baritone, composer and BBC presenter Roderick Williams.

Oxford Youth Choirs, a registered charity, is appealing for donations to cover the more than £2,000 accommodation costs for the 50-strong tour group from the Rainbow Nation, through a Crowdfunding initiative.

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“Our choir is based on the idea that each person is special and deserving of love and respect,” says a spokesman for Bloemfontein Children’s Choir. “We strive to give our children not only a rich and diverse education in music but to enrich them by cultural experiences and development of essential life skills.”

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Richard Vendome, Musical Director of Oxford Youth Choirs, said: “Touring abroad is aspirational for any young musician – as we know from our own exhilarating visit to Malta last year. It is the gift of confidence, personal development and experience to last a lifetime. This is an ethos that unites our two choirs and we are delighted to welcome these young South African singers to Oxford.

“We value this opportunity to share in music making and cultural exchange, and hope we can build on this in the future.”

Roderick Williams said: “When I first toured with a Bach Passion to South Africa in 1995, an outreach visit to Soweto to work with a male-voice choir was added to our itinerary almost as an afterthought. It turned out to be a profoundly inspirational meeting of musical cultures, culminating in life-long friendships, a continuing exchange of musical ideas, and a collaborative album which toured live in both the UK and South Africa”.

“Bringing things right up-to-date, I am so pleased to be presenting this concert here in Oxford where the spirit of collaboration, exchange and cultural enrichment is flowering. I am sure the connection these young performers will make across continents will have a long-lasting effect.”

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Bloemfontein Children’s Choir

Bloemfontein Children’s Choir is an amateur youth choir comprising boys and girls from Bloemfontein, South Africa, and surrounding areas, who are between the ages of 8 and 16.

Dr Huibrie Verster founded the choir in 1987 and has been conducting it ever since.

Although singing is obviously very important, the choir also offers its members – and often their families too – so much more than just a shared enjoyment of great voices and music. The choir has a strong nurturing ethos and is committed to enabling cultural and personal development opportunities for its children.