Shallaway Youth Choir, Newfoundland and Labrador’s award-winning cultural organization, will travel to South Africa from August 15-25, 2018 to honour and celebrate its 25-year anniversary. Approximately 100 choristers, faculty and friends will participate in the tour.
“This tour will be a cultural and spiritual experience of a lifetime,” said Richard Gosse, Chair of the Board of Directors. “With the world celebrating what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday recently, the Shallaway family will have a rare window into the nation’s experience and history of apartheid and Mandela’s mission to end it.”
Gosse states that these cultural learning opportunities are grounding and impactful for our young people, noting the choristers will travel to the Robben Island prison where Mandela was held for 18 years of his 27-year long prison sentence, for advocating for racial harmony and equality. “Just like Mandela said, we can change the world and make it a better place, we teach our choristers to be participatory citizens.”
“Choral music is the instrument through which we develop empathetic, respectful young leaders in our Province,” said Kellie Walsh, Artistic Director. “We are so proud to be celebrating 25 years at Shallaway of fostering a deep love for our people and our place. It is this affection and understanding of who we are which allows us to engage in intercultural outreach and exchange around the world.”
Walsh said the choir will participate in concerts and workshops with world-renowned conductors such as Lhente Mari Pitout and the University of Pretoria Youth Choir, Marijke De Villiers Roos of the University of Cape Town, and the University of Johannesburg’s conductor, Sidumo Nyamazele. Shallaway will perform at a variety of locations in the Johannesburg and Cape Town areas, including primary schools, University of Pretoria, and Regina Mundi Church. They will also visit Ndebele village to see the Lesedi Cultural Show, Hector Pieterson Museum, Pilanesburg National Park, an orphanage, the Apartheid Museum, and will participate in an interactive Djembe drumming and dancing session.
“Musical excellence and cultural leadership have been the hallmarks of our organization since it was created in 1992,” explains Susan Knight, Founder and Artistic Director Emerita. “The imposition of the cod moratorium resulted in economic and cultural devastation, producing an urgently felt need to guard and protect our heritage. Our young people, with their passion and capacity, were ideal to lead this charge; thus, Shallaway was born. I could not be prouder of our 25-year history and I wish the choristers, artistic faculty and friends all the best as they embark on Shallaway’s first adventure on the African continent.”
The choir has traveled annually for the past 25 years to countries such as Nicaragua, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Argentina, many American destinations and twelve European countries. They have sung across Canada from coast to coast, including across NL and Labrador, to share music and culture with their peers. In 2015, the choir was named Children’s Choir of the World at the prestigious Llangollen Music Festival in Wales. Shallaway alumni report that their learning from these travel experiences has been inestimable and long lasting.
Hundreds of youth from Newfoundland and Labrador are part of the Shallaway Youth Choir. Graduates of the program live in many countries around the world, and work in a variety of sectors. Some continued their musical studies after graduation while others are regularly drawn to business, science, the humanities, medicine and law, among others. All agree that their experience with Shallaway has provided them with a better understanding of our Province and its place in the world.
*Press Release Courtesy of Shallaway Youth Choir