Bloemfontein Childrens Choir

...where singing is pure joy

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Dr. Huibrie Verster

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Dr Huibrie VersterHuibrie's love for choir singing and the development of her skills in this field began during her early student years (1964 - 1967) while she was under the direction of Philip McLachlan.

Although her other great love while she attended Stellenbosch University was Afrikaans literature, Huibrie decided to focus on music and has since been a dedicated music educator in the world of choir music.

Huibrie obtained her M Mus degree while teaching at Sentraal High School and conducting various choirs in the Western Cape and Orange Free State. During this time her choirs won several prizes and awards. From 1986 to 1990 she was a lecturer in Choral Directing at the University of the Orange Free State. In 2009 she completed her Ph.D at the UFS.

Huibrie is still an active member of the choral scene in South Africa – as choir leader, clinician and adjudicator.

As teacher and lecturer she has directed and conducted numerous high school, college, university and youth choirs. She has also been involved with various performances, such as the Brahms Requiem by PACOFS. In 2002 she was responsible for the rehearsals of a choir that performed works by John Rutter and which was conducted by Rutter himself during his visit to Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Huibrie has acted as an adjudicator at choir competitions, eisteddfods and festivals in just about all the provinces of South Africa and in Namibia. She also sometimes acts as a guest lecturer / conductor at various workshops and choir events, as was the case at the National Youth Choir course held at the Drakensberg Boys' Choir School in April 2002.

Huibrie has represented the South African Choral Society as both member and president at various occasions in foreign countries.
*In April 2001, she attended the World Symposium on Children's Choirs in Vancouver, where she also acted as a clinician.
*In 2002 she delivered a lecture at the International Federation for Choral Music’s first International Symposium for Children’s Choirs, in Vancouver, Canada.
* The McLachlan Choir Workshop in September 2002 marked the end of her second term as President of the South African Choral Society although she continues to be an active member.
* In April 2004 Huibrie delivered a master class lecture on Indigenous Music of South Africa at the International Festival América Cantat IV held in Mexico City.

Huibrie has also been a member of the American Choral Director's Association (ACDA) for many years. In order to remain abreast of the latest choir trends she has attended most of the World Symposia of the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) inluding those held in
* Vienna, Austria(1987),
* Stockholm and Helsinki, Sweden(1990),
* Vancouver, Canada (1993),
* Sydney, Australia (1996) and
* Rotterdam, Netherlands (1999).

In February 2003 she attended the National Symposium of the American Choral Director’s Association held in New York City, USA.

In 1996 and again in 2002 Huibrie appeared as a guest conductor - the first woman ever to be granted this honour - of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City, USA. The 1996 concert, in which the Bloemfontein Children's Choir appeared on invitation with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, was part of a television broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word, which was televised world-wide. The audience of 6 000 gave the choir and Huibrie a standing ovation and prompted Jerold Ottley, the conductor of the Mormom Tabernacle choir to comment: “Not many in the entire world are so favoured.“

Huibrie is the founder of the world-renowned Bloemfontein Children’s Choir and has been its director since its inception in 1987. This choir has enjoyed great success under her leadership and has participated in numerous contests and festivals both in South Africa and abroad. The choir has a national and international reputation and has broadcast on radio and television locally and abroad on various occasions. Dr Gene Brooks stated that "In my opinion this is one of the best children's choirs in the world." (Click here to see some of their achievements and awards.)

From 1990 to 1992 Huibrie also conducted the Pro Ecclesia univesity church choir.

Huibrie constantly strives to create opportunities for the development of new knowledge by means of interaction with national and international choir leaders, arrangers and composers.

The dedication of Huibrie towards the development of children and her view of “Music for every child, every child for music” came to fullfilment in 2014 when she was awarded the Chancellor's Medal by the University of the Free State for her life-long contributions to the development of children and choral music on a national and international level.

Dr Verster in 2017 received an Award from Radio Rosestad as the overall Winner of the Arts Culture category. thumbnail IMG-20170330-WA0000