The university’s seven choirs sing together for the first time in two years to celebrate six decades of harmonious melodies. 

The Great Hall steps were buzzing with song and dance as the Wits Choir invited everyone to join its impromptu performance on Wednesday, August 10 in celebration of the choir’s 60th birthday.  

Bongi Sithole, project manager for the choir’s 60th celebration events and second-year architecture student, said the performance on the stairs served a dual purpose. 

The first was to bring all seven university choirs (Jubilee Diamonds, SMES Choir, Holy Trinity Choir, Wits Choirs, Mighty SDASM Choir, CEM Choir, Afrikariz) together to rehearse in person for the first time since 2019. During the pandemic, practices were done via Zoom which Sithole said was “messy” as it was hard to sing together remotely. As a part of its celebrations, the choir will be performing in the Great Hall on Wednesday, August 17.  

Second-year construction studies student and choir member, Phillip Jongile, said singing again with other people “was a great experience because I got to hear how other people sing” and “learn about other people’s backgrounds regarding music”. 

The second purpose of the performance was to give the larger Wits community a chance to join in the festivities. “People who don’t have the opportunity or time to join the choir could be a part of it today,” said Sithole. He added that this was one way to make the rehearsal “more quirky”. 

A crowd gathered to watch the Wits Choir rehearse on the Great Hall steps for its 60th birthday concert on August 17. Photo: Tylin Moodley

Choir member, Tau Khakhu explained that one of the songs they sang, Bonk’abaphandle (all those outside), was to “invite everyone to come in and enjoy what we have for them”. 

Upon seeing the crowd that had gathered, Jongile said, “It was nothing I expected to see given that we haven’t performed for people in a long time, but it was great, and I enjoyed myself.” 

Tshepang Sethole, who was dancing along to the choir’s singing, said he was passing by when he heard the choir singing. The theatre and performance student said he loved choir as he would “always watch his aunt’s concerts” when he was younger. This helped him develop a love for choir and singing as he enjoyed the “different aspects” (tenor, soprano, alto) that choirs had to offer. He was not aware that Wits had a choir and, after watching the day’s performances, said he would “definitely join”.  

The Wits Choir has six events to celebrate each decade. The main event, called Choir on a Hill, will take place in October at Constitution Hill. Sithole said people can expect pieces sung by the choir 60 years ago in 1962. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits Choir sings on the Great Hall steps to celebrate its 60th birthday. Photo: Tylin Moodley