Very young, talented singers, aged 6 to 11 years, find a home in the Eastern Cape junior Children’s Choir (ECjCC), the only regional junior choir in South Africa. Here, the young voices are nurtured and developed in a serious, but natural and playful manner by acclaimed musician and conductor, Hanlie Young.
Members of this multi-cultural choir eagerly accept the challenge of singing complicated multi-part music in familiar or foreign languages. Listening skills are developed alongside their singing skills. Interesting repertoire sung by the choir is often arranged by their own gifted conductor.
This is a regional choir with approximately 65 choristers representing the Nelson Mandela Metropole and other towns in the Eastern Cape Province. Choir rehearsals take place on Wednesdays between 16h00 and 17h30 at Cillié High School in Port Elizabeth and performances are mainly on Wednesdays or weekends.
The ECjCC is a non-profit organisation. Choir fees are kept to a minimum in order to allow children from all walks of life the privilege of singing in the ECjCC.
The positive impact of choir singing on the development of all aspects of a child’s life is widely acknowledged and appreciated. While experiencing the choir as a binding factor in a multicultural society and learning the importance of team work, dedication, discipline and respect for others, choristers grow as human beings while enjoying the hard work towards perfecting their music performances.
Auditions, held annually in November, offer successful candidates the opportunity to join the choir.
Annually, the choristers’ love for singing and fun culminates in the Bamba Festival, presented by the ECjCC. The official choir teddy bear, Bamba (a Xhosa word meaning to cuddle), uses this opportunity to invite choristers (and their teddy bears!) from 5 junior school choirs to participate in the fun-filled day of choir singing.
The founding of the ECjCC in November 2008, was the brainchild of Lionel van Zyl, the conductor of the Eastern Cape Children’s Choir (ECCC). He was inspired by the Estonian TV Children’s Choir during his choir’s visit to Estonia. Appropriately, the ECjCC’s very first performance in 2009 was with the visiting Estonian TV Children’s Choir and the ECCC. Since then the ECjCC has shared the stage with the Stellenbosch University Choir (World Choir Games champions), the ECCC, the Eastern Cape Youth Choir (ECYC), the South Cape Children’s Choir, several other choirs and well-known South African singers.
The ECjCC regularly performs at music festivals, church services, retirement villages and other venues following invitations. The choir is especially sought after for Christmas performances.
The choir's first DVD, an Afrikaans Christmas song, 'n Kind is Gebore, composed for the ECjCC by Annelie Oosthuizen, was recorded at the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth in 2013 with soloist Anthonie Bougas.