Our Choral Director

Jan-Erik Swart is a conductor, music educator and motivator par excellence, with a passion for developing young people to enjoy making music of an excellent standard.

His love of choral music was shaped as a member of the North Primary School Choir (Ms Hobbs), the Sasolburg High School Choir (Annatjie Strydom) (1978-1980) and Free State Youth Choir (Danie Hyman) (1980-1982), and as a scholar, directed his school marching band (Sasolburg High School) to victory when there was no teacher available. He conducted productions of the Sasolburg Dramatic and Choral Society, and directed the Sasolburg Methodist Church Choir, as well as the SASOL/ISCOR Symphonic Brass Band.

Whilst completing a B.A. Mus (H.E.D.) Teaching Degree (Musicology and English) at the University of South Africa, he undertook vocal studies with contralto Julia Bekker-Delport, and well-known baritone, Professor Werner Nel, He also received vocal coaching from world-renowned tenor, Deon van der Walt. Jan-Erik completed his M.Mus (cum laude) in choral conducting, from NMMU Port Elizabeth. His M.Mus treatise: "The projecting of musical and extra-musical elements in constructing choral identity with specific reference to three South African regional children's choirs" has been published in the Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa Volume 13 (2016).

Jan-Erik has 20 years of experience teaching music and music appreciation to primary and high school pupils. He was musical director for various schools' productions, including “Grease,” “Aladdin,” “Copacabana,” “Oliver” Disney’s “High School Musical” (2008) "Oklahoma!" (2011), and "From Broadway to Bredasdorp" (2013). He directed the Vaal High School Naval Brass Band, a 45-piece A-Class marching band, to national victory for two years running (1994/1995), As a past citizen-force officer of the South African Navy, and qualified bandmaster (WITCOM), he was awarded the Chief of the Navy’s Commendation (1994) and Pro Patria medal for good service to the Navy (1996), in the field of military music development, working with various South African Navy bands and naval cadet schools. In 1997 he took up an NGO position as National High School and Youth Coordinator for the READ Educational Trust.

In 2000, Jan-Erik was seconded as principal of a Christian Private School in Arcon Park, Vereeniging, after which he spent four years in full-time Christian music ministry at Delta Community Church, Vereeniging, developing a team of 23 musicians and singers as the head of their music ministry.

In November 2006, he was appointed musical director of the South Cape Children’s Choir which, in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, received gold awards at the ATKV ANIMATO Competition's National Finals, ranking it as one of the foremost amateur children's choirs in the country, as well as South African champions of 2010. In 2014 the SCCC won the Open category "Musica Sacra with Accompaniment" at the 8th World Choir Games and attained a 2nd place for Children's Choirs. In 2014, the SCCC also won all the categories of the ATKV Animato Choir Competition Finals, and was awarded the title "Choir of the Competition", competing against adult and specialist choirs. In 2016 the SCCC was national runners-up of the competition, against 23 other choirs.

Jan-Erik has collaborated with a vast array of prominent artists and personalities such as Dana Winner, Sandra Nel, Richard Cock, Jannie Moolman, Chris Chameleon, Ockie Vermeulen, Charl du Plessis, Rina Hugo, Zanne' Stapelberg, Cutt Glas, Danie Niehaus, Fanie Smit, Jannie Moolman, Annake de Villiers, Emile Minnie, Loveline Modumo, Dalene Brits, Elisabeth Potgieter, Olive Sandilands, Olga Schoeman, Karol Legierski, Marianne Legierski, Michael Lindt, Petronel Baard, Noluvuyiso Mpofu (ATKV Muziqanto 2015 winner), clarinettist Junnan Sun (ATKV Muziq 2015 winner), Elna van der Merwe and Voldi George.

The SCCC has performed under his direction with world-renowned choirs such as the World Youth Choir (2007), the Glynn Ellen Children's Choir, the Halle Children's Choir (2008, 2013), the Estonian TV Children's Choir, the YIP Children's Choir, (Taiwan) the Ruamjai Finnish Youth Choir, (2009), the St Andrew's Cathedral Choir (Sydney, Australia), the Washington Children's Chorus, the Aachen Cathedral Choir, the Texas State Chorale (2010), the Tygerberg Children's Choir (2011), the Colorado Children's Chorus, the Coro Calicantus (Locarno, Switzerland) (2012), the Los Angeles Children's Chorale, the North Florida State University Chorale, the Prague Philharmonic Children's Choir (2012) the Copenhagen Royal Music Academy Chapel Choir (2013), the Hamburg Girls' Choir, the Pro Musica Choir (2014), the Kettering Children's Choir (Ohio, USA - 2015) the Main Street Singers (California), and the Edmonton Youth Choir (2016).

Jan-Erik co-founded the South Cape Symphony Orchestra (2006), attended the 2008 IFCM World Symposium on Choral Music, in Copenhagen, Denmark (2008), the "Voices of South Africa" Choral Symposium at the University of Stellenbosch (2009), and Andre' van der Merwe's annual training courses for choral conductors. He composed the music and wrote the lyrics of "The Glenwood House School Anthem" for an IEB independent school in George. He conducted the George Male Voice Choir, one of the oldest and best-known male voice choirs in South Africa, from 2012 to 2015. He was an adjudicator for the George chapter of the South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod 2012, and served as Classical Music Curator of the ABSA KKNK and Klein Karoo Klassique 2013 National Arts Festivals. His joint-production with Chris Chameleon (Misa Creolla & Dreams" was awarded a prestigious KKNK "Kanna" Award for best musical production at the ABSA KKNK 2013.

Jan-Erik founded the Glenwood House Music Academy in 2013, with an enrolment of 160+ students providing music tuition in singing, piano, drums, harp, saxophone, brass, strings and theory of music. He undertakes an average of 30+ concerts per year. He teaches Music as a Subject at Glenwood House College, a prestigious IEB private school in George.He was a member of the opera quartet "Appassionata" during 2014. Also during  2014, he conducted the 50 years reunion concert of the Free State Youth Choir in Bloemfontein and the ATKV "AMEN" production with Rina Hugo and Zanne' Stapelberg, at the 20th KKNK in Oudtshoorn. In 2014, he also led the SCCC to victory at the 8th World Choir Games Open Category and was awarded winner of the competition at the ATKV Animato Finals Competition 2014, with seven category wins.

Jan-Erik was awarded the George Music Society's George 200 Award for outstanding participation in and development of the music culture of the city of George (2012). He was honoured for his service as George municipal ward committee member for culture (2015). In 2016 he received an Illuminated Address for excellent service to the city of George in maintaining outstanding musical  standards.

 

Jan-Erik conducted the 2014 and 2015 Music Montage, is currently developing the NMMU Saasveld Campus Choir to an international standard. He has adjudicated the East London Eisteddfod, the Knysna Eisteddfod and the ATKV Applous finals for non-Afrikaans speaking choirs - 2015 in Port Elizabeth.

In 2015 , collaborating with the George Municipality and South Cape Sport Tours, Jan-Erik successfully launched and presented the annual "Cantamus!" national choral arts festival and competition in George.