DBCS executive head, Dave Cato, highlights that the school's internationally acclaimed programme combines the art of choral singing and performance with rigorous academic training. The boys who leave DBCS do so as well-adjusted young men who are adequately equipped to face the challenges of their late high school years and beyond. According to Cato: "Nothing unites a nation like music. The Drakensberg Boys' Choir, a truly South African culture asset also fondly known as Drakies, is blessed and fortunate to bring choral and music lovers across the globe the most beautiful and entertaining music, either through live performances, streaming or recordings of their outstanding work."
We are very excited ... to return this year to present a vibrant, bigger and better show for our Joburg audiences.– Vaughan Van Zyl, artistic director, Drakensberg Boys Choir School
Last year, the choir returned to The Mandela stage at the Joburg Theatre after a few years of absence due to the impact of Covid-19. What a triumph the return turned out to be! Audience members were astounded at the world-class excellence of our proudly South African national treasure. The Mandela at Joburg Theatre is ideally suited to the varied choir repertoire. The Drakensberg Boys Choir Music in the City 2023 promises to be even bigger and better. Patrons will be treated to a wide variety of music, from the classics and modern pop with unique Drakie arrangements to the foot-stomping, drum beating, dancing, and pulse of Africa second half of the show.
Many individuals and families have supported the school, enabling it to grow into a world-class institution. Today the Drakensberg Boys Choir School is acknowledged and respected nationally and internationally for its exceptional work ethic, music, musicians and learners. Jointly hosted by the Drakensberg Boys Choir School Parent Association, the school and the Joburg Theatre as a fundraiser, the celebratory Drakensberg Boys Choir Music in the City 2023 aims to strengthen the DBCS's bursary fund for talented boys to join the choir.
"We are very excited, after our successful performances last year at the Joburg Theatre, to return this year to present a vibrant, bigger and better show for our Joburg audiences. We have a diversified programme ranging from classical choral work to popular contemporary and energetic afro-pop works," says Vaughan Van Zyl, artistic director, Drakensberg Boys Choir School.
The programme's first half includes numbers like Mozart's first movement from Regina Coeli in B flat major, Eric Whitacre's Fly to Paradise and Amigos Para Siempre, the official song of the 1992 Summer Olympics. After the interval, the afro-pop second half tells the story of South Africa through music. A live band will accompany the choir as they perform unique arrangements of hits by among others Miriam Makeba, Mango Groove, Johnny Clegg and songs from Ipi Ntombi and The Lion King. The audience is encouraged to sing along, get out of their seats and enjoy the spirit and vibe of South African music with us.
"We enjoy partnering with the professional and talented team at the Joburg Theatre and look forward to a continued strong relationship with what we hope will become an annual favourite in patrons' calendars. Drakensberg Boys Choir Music in the City 2023 will deliver outstanding performances, invitational choir concerts and workshops and a chance for the Drakie boys to enjoy time in the City of Gold doing what they love on the iconic Mandela stage," adds Van Zyl.
"Attending this world-class choir school is often a life-long dream fulfilled for many of our talented boys. The blessing of talent does not only come to boys from families who can self-fund their children's unique schooling in the Drakensberg. It is sad if world-class talent cannot be harnessed due to financial constraints. The bursary fund plays a critical role in giving deserving boys the opportunity to make their bow on the world choir stage, an honour that they would not have had without generous donations into our bursary fund," explains Mervin Naidoo, chairman of the Drakensberg Boys Choir School Parent Association.
The DBCS mission is to prepare boys for life and leadership through excellence in music, academics, sport, and social enrichment in a Christian environment. The school firmly believes that every boy's physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is paramount and is committed to upholding that as a priority.
The Drakies always inspire and delight. Whether performing in front of international royalty, in a stadium packed to capacity or in the school's own Valley of Music auditorium, audiences can always expect to be delighted by their varied repertoire, ranging from world-famous classical choral pieces to afro-pop favourites. The Drakensberg Boys Choir Music in the City 2023 extravaganza promises to be a world-class experience, featuring the most beautiful and entertaining music from the internationally acclaimed Drakensberg Boys' Choir.
"We are proud of the young men the school produces, and the benefits of choral music as part of the educational curriculum are well known. As evidence of this, our boys regularly win scholarships and are sought after by schools of a high calibre when they leave the school after grade nine. We are a middle school, ending in grade nine," concludes Cato.
Drakies old boys have excelled not only in the music industry but also in the sports field and business. The calibre of our old boys speaks for themselves. To name but a few that made a name for themselves in the music and arts field alone: Deon van der Walt (tenor), Mark Behr (author), Deon Lotz (actor), Terence Bridgett (actor), Jacques Imbrailo (baritone), Dawid Kimberg (tenor), Clint Van Der Linde (countertenor), Willem Vogel (impresario), Vaughan van Zyl (conductor), Nicholas Nicolaidis (tenor), Zwai Bala (baritone), Hilton Marlton (tenor), Paul du Toit (author), Phelo Bala (baritone), Loyiso Bala (tenor), Dawid Boverhoff (musician), Jean-Philip Grobler (vocalist), Ferdinand Liebenberg (bass), Michael Barrett (conductor and lecturer), Gareth Dry (conductor), Ralf Schmidt (conductor), Xander Kritzinger (tenor), Walter Butt (conductor), Hugo Roodt (percussionist), Marshell Lombard (conductor) and Jurgen Hellberg (director/producer).