The sound of music

This local choir has progressed to become one of the top 500 choirs internationally.

09 November 2021 | Art and Entertainment

Wilna Liebenberg; Cgals; “… new members need to be able to sing…”

Swakopmund • [email protected]



The Cgals Chamber Choir consisting of 23 singers, is part of the Wilna Music School which was established in 1998.

Liebenberg says that what makes the group so unique is that the age span of singers is from 12 to 71 years old. Members live in two coastal towns. Since being established, the singers have moved from being a laid back social group of friends to a choir that prepares and participates in international competitions. Over the years, the choir has travelled to Norway and competed in the ATKV Animato competition in South Africa where they won second place. The choir passed the Advanced Trinity Choral examination with 91% at the UNISA Advanced choir examination in 2014 and 2017 achieving 97% both times, as well as passing the Advanced Choral examination with an A-symbol.

Furthermore, the chamber choir represented Namibia at four World Choir Games. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the choir participated virtually in October 2021 at the 11th World Choir Games hosted in Belgium. Their proudest achievement was winning the Musica Sacra with accompaniment division in Sochi at the ninth World Choir Games in 2016. They also returned from Tshwane in 2018 with a silver and two bronze medals. “We are very proud of this achievement, as this was our first time participating in the Championship division,” Liebenberg said.

Auditions

When asked why more members should audition for the choir, Liebenberg said that choirs evolve every year. Liebenberg is a trained singing lecturer, so she tests the candidates on their singing abilities herself. “We are enrolling for Spain 2022 ‘Singing for Gold’ in a week, so we having auditions and there are only two more spots available.” Nine members auditioned so far and three passed the audition. “As this is a choir ranked amongst the Top 500 in the world, new members really need to be able to sing and they become students of a private music school. Moreover, since this a chamber choir, the numbers of new singers is limited.”

Liebenberg herself is a performer, teacher and choir conductor. She was born in Namibia and after matriculating in 1984, enrolled as a Bachelor of Music (BMus) student at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. As a student, she received the Niki Antoniadis Prize for Singing and the Het Jan Marais Prize, allowing her to study singing in Italy. She holds Royal Schools, Trinity and UNISA Licentiates in Singing and a Trinity Guildhall Licentiate in Vocal Teaching, all passed with distinction. Bursaries, solo singing and choir singing have taken her all over the world, performing as a soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City, Utah, studying choral music in Wales, and performing in Cairo Opera House. Another personal highlight was taking the National Youth Choir of Namibia to Norway in 1994 and conducting the Swakopmund Men’s Choir during their 100-year Jubilee tour to Germany in 2002.
Contact Wilna Liebenberg on [email protected] for more information.