for tomorrow



Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University choir director Junita van Dijk has been internationally honoured. 

The long-serving choral conductor whose choir has already won innumerable international awards is to serve on the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) to select participants for the next World Choral Symposium in Spain in 2017.

Junita says she’s very honoured to have been nominated by the federation’s executive committee and gladly accepted the invitation.

She is one of only three conductors chosen from around the world.

“This is definitely the highlight of my choir career to achieve acknowledgement of this kind,” said an elated Junita, adding, however, that she was well aware of the great responsibility that lay ahead.

Junita and five others (three of whom will come from Spain) will help choose the best choirs and choral conductors for the 2017 World Symposium.

Every three years the IFCM presents a 10-day symposium with the best choirs and lecturers in the world. The symposium moves different parts of the world.

“I attended a symposium for the first time in 1987 in Vienna and wished that the then UPE choir could participate. In 2011, the NMMU choir was chosen to perform at the symposium when it was held in Argentina,’’ recalled Junita.

Junita was identified as an ideal candidate for the Artistic Committee. This is a group of six people, three from the Barcelona region and three from around the world), that decides which choirs and lecturers to invite to the symposium.

“The bonus, of course, is that Barcelona is a fantastic city and Spain has a strong choral tradition’’.

IFCM was founded in 1982 for the purpose of facilitating communication and exchange between choral musicians throughout the world. Through its world and regional symposia, conducting master classes, World Youth Choir, Choral Music Database (Musica), ChoralNet website, World Choral Census, International Choral Bulletin, World Day of Choral Singing and many other projects,  IFCM is the official representative of choral music on the International Music Council.

The Council recognises that there are perhaps more people in the world participating in choral music than in any other group activity and that choral musicians need an organisation such as IFCM to encourage and facilitate international communication and cooperation.

‘’The former UPE choir made its mark during the FICU university choirs festival in Spain in 1996 and 2000 and we have received many invitations then from Spain. I am pleased and proud that the management of IFCM approached a conductor from South Africa and Port Elizabeth specifically. The other two international conductors on the panel is the famous composer Ko Matsushita of Japan and Ana Maria Raga of Venezuela’’.

Between 1994 and 2013 the NMMU Choir under Junita van Dijk has enjoyed numerous national and international invitations, including:

  • 2012 Represented Africa at The 11th China International Chorus Festival and World Summit in Beinjing, China
  • 2011 being 1 of 24 choirs chosen to perform at the IFCM 9th World Choral Symposium in Puerto Madryn, Argentina
  • 2010 Performing at La Fabrrica del Canto International Choral Festival in Legnanao, Italy and the opening of the FIFA world cup festivities in Milano, Italy.
  • 2009 International Choral competition, Spittal an der Drau, Austria.
  • 2007 Endler Hall, Kuesta University Choral Festival: Stellenbosch Horizons Tour to USA - invited by the Sister Cities Association, Jacksonville, Florida and the Chicago Children’s Choir
  •  2004 The Windhoek International Arts Festival, Namibia
  • 2000 Featured in a film based on the life of Nelson Mandela commissioned by Norway and filmed on Robben Island.
  • 1999 Voices International Choir Festival: Trondheim in Norway.
  • 1998 & 2002 Grahamstown Arts Festival: Main Festival.
  • 1999 Performing before Queen Elizabeth II1998 Centennial Celebrations of Philippine Nation, Manila, Philippines.
  • 1996 & 2000 Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, Oudtshoorn: Main Festival.
  • 1996 & 2000 FICU International University Choir Festival, Valencia, Spain
  • 1996 Performing before President Nelson Mandela (Port Elizabeth)