Drakensberg Boys' Choir School

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Drakensberg Boys Choir School

Coordinates29°01′20″S 29°26′08″E / 29.02222°S 29.43556°E / -29.02222; 29.43556
School typePrivate
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
FounderJohn Tungay

Drakensberg Boys Choir School is a choir school located near Winterton, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, at the foot of the Central Drakensberg mountain range. Performing in a variety of genres such as jazz, pop and African music, the choir is based in South Africa but also tours internationally.


The school was established in 1967 by John Tungay with assistance from his family.[1] Typically, enrollment is about 120 boys, all aged 9 to 15. The school admitted its first black student in 1988, six years before the end of Apartheid. It has an extensive campus, including a 600-seat auditorium constructed in 1995, and holds weekly concerts for the local population. The Choir has toured internationally.

Concert tours[edit]

The Drakensberg Boys' Choir performing at the Media24 Centre in Cape Town in 2015.

The choir has presented concerts in the United States and across Europe and, by Papal request, at the Vatican City.[2] They have also performed with South Korean artist Lee Moon-se.[3] Every year, boys from the choir embark on an international tour. Recent locations for tours have included the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan. While on tour, they often collaborate with other local youth choirs.

Notable alumni[edit]

The Bala Brothers, the South African vocal trio, attended Drakensberg Boys Choir School in the 1980s and 90s. In 1988, six years before the end of Apartheid, the oldest brother, Zwai, was the first black student admitted to the school.[4]

Jean-Philip Grobler, an indie electronic synthpop artist, sang in the Drakensberg Boys' Choir[5] before moving to Brooklyn, NY to make music as St. Lucia.

Ralph Schmidt went on to become the director of the Mzansi Youth Choir, which appeared in America's Got Talent.[6]


  1. ^ "Artist: Drakensberg Boys Choir". The Coca-Cola Company. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  2. ^ Pope John Paul II (20 July 1983). "Address at a General Audience". vatican.va (in Italian). Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  3. ^ Lee Moon-se (27 August 2012). "이문세와 떠나요! 비밥바룰라". Chosun Broadcasting Company (in Korean). Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  4. ^ Powell, Alicia (14 May 2015). "South Africa's Bala Brothers set sights on U.S. music market". Reuters. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^ Cragg, Michael (9 May 2012). "New music: St Lucia – Before the Dive". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  6. ^ "The head chorister of the Mzansi Youth Choir on performing with Beyoncé: 'We couldn't believe that Queen Bey came to us!'".


External links[edit]