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From rural Limpopo to the world stage, the inspiring story of Ndlovu Youth Choir

10 January 2021 8:47 AM
Tags:
America's Got Talent
Ndlovu Youth Choir
Ralf Schmitt
youth choir
music director

Ralf Schmitt, the conductor of the famed Ndlovu Youth Choir, opens up about the choral group's journey from humble beginnings to global recognition.

Conductor, composer and producer Ralf Schmitt is the man behind the world-renowned South Africa youth choir which shined on the America's Got Talent (AGT) stage in 2019.

The Ndlovu Youth Choir is the first choir in the history of the competition to reach the final.

VIDEO: Mzansi's Ndlovu Youth Choir's wows at AGT finale

The choir was scouted for the US talent show after their viral 2018 video where they collaborated with SA flautist and Grammy winner Wouter Kellerman to film their isiZulu cover of Ed Sheeran’s hit song Shape of You.

The viral video grabbed the attention of America's Got Talent producers and the rest of the world.

A year later, the choir, which hails from Limpopo, reached the final of the competition's 14th season and inspired hope across South Africa and the rest of the continent.

RELATED: Wouter Kellerman on his music, Grammy win and viral Ndlovu Youth Choir collab

Schmitt has directed the choir since its inception 12 years ago. He says working with the talented youngsters has been food for his soul.

The Ndlovu Youth Choir was born out of a childcare programme established by the NGO Ndlovu Care Group in Moutse in rural Limpopo.

Schmitt chats to CapeTalk host Sara-Jayne King about the choral group's inspiring journey, some of their popular song arrangments, the power of choir, and his own personal music tastes.

I've always loved teaching, I've always loved composing and I've always enjoyed performing. Being a conductor or musician affords you the ability to work in all those disciplines.

Ralf Schmitt, Conductor - Ndlovu Youth Choir

Many of our first choristers were kids from the orphans and vulnerable children's programme from the Ndlovu Care Group, and it's just grown from there.

Ralf Schmitt, Conductor - Ndlovu Youth Choir

We were approached by them [AGT], we released a video the previous year that went viral... They found us on YouTube and asked if we would like to audition to be on the show... before we knew it we were in LA.

Ralf Schmitt, Conductor - Ndlovu Youth Choir

It was such an incredible experience being on that [America’s Got Talent] stage and seeing these young people represent South Africa.

Ralf Schmitt, Conductor - Ndlovu Youth Choir

Listen to the discussion on Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King:




10 January 2021 8:47 AM
Tags:
America's Got Talent
Ndlovu Youth Choir
Ralf Schmitt
youth choir
music director

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