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Opera student, Mr Ndumiso Nyoka.

Opera student Mr Ndumiso Nyoka is to participate in the Music Opera Graduates’ Programme at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, under the leadership and guidance of Barbara Hill Moore, Meadows Foundation Distinguished Professor of Voice in Meadows School of the Arts.

‘This will be my first visit to the US and SMU – I am very happy and grateful for the opportunity. I’ll be able to learn even more about opera and production and the vocal art,’ said Nyoka.

Through the programme, Nyoka will be able to develop the breadth of competencies required to function as a well-rounded music opera professional and will further learn about performance, research, pedagogy, music history and music theory. This will be aligned to what he has studied at the Opera Studio and Choral Academy (OSCA) at UKZN.

Nyoka, from a small rural village near Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal, never dreamed of becoming an opera singer, but through exposure at his church choir he says ‘music chose me’ and has never looked back.

A farewell concert, organised by his Clermont choir, ensemble and his group, Durban Tenors, was held recently at the Howard College Theatre.

Mr Wiseman Mkhize, Chief Executive Officer for the Clermont Choir Foundation, wished Nyoka well. ‘He has made it to the States to finalise his master’s degree! This does not happen every day and you can imagine the excitement we feel, considering Ndumiso’s background. But we are proud of him and wish him everything of the best. He deserves it,’ said Mkhize.

Nyoka will spend two years at SMU in the graduate programme and believes that being at SMU will allow him to expand his career as an opera singer. Upon his return to South Africa, he hopes to expand the opera music scene and ensure it becomes recognised in the country.