Spier Festival of White Lights

Each December, Spier Wine Farm is transformed into a light-filled, multi-sensory cross-cultural wonderland for the annual Festival of White Lights. Ushering in the festive season, this performance arts procession on the Werf is led by the Spier Angel of Light on stilts. A dazzling display of light – fire dancers, sculptures and lanterns – with a diverse collection of artistic performances amidst the oaks is choreographed by the acclaimed Jay Pather.

  • In 2018, for the third year running, VOX Cape Town again sang under the stars at the opening night of the Festival of White Lights. VOX presented a diverse selection of choral music from four different countries: South Africa, Spain, Iceland and England.
  • In their second year at the Festival of White Lights (2017), VOX presented a selection of music loosely connected to Christmas including works by Franco Prinsloo, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Peter Gritton and folk carols from Spain and Poland.
  • VOX’s offering in 2016 ranged from “Stars” by Ēriks Ešenvalds (under the stars) to the unleashed kinetic energy of “Cloudburst” by Eric Whitacre, accompanied by a thrilling video installation. Finally, in a moving tribute to Leonard Cohen, VOX’s singers were joined by Magdalene Minnaar, floating gently in an illuminated pool, who together sang his most famous number, “Hallelujah”.

Spier Light Art Exhibition 2018

From December 2018 to January 2019, recordings by VOX Cape Town featured in the Light Art Exhibition at Spier Wine Farm. Every evening during those two months, visitors were treated to a dazzling array of interactive light and sound artworks throughout the historic Stellenbosch farm, free of charge. VOX’s musical contributions were accompanied by evocative digital projections against the lush bamboo forest, created by Berlin-based artist noël labridy in collaboration with Ryno Keet and Jay Pather.


As part of the Light Art Festival at Spier Wine Farm, VOX Cape Town sings five works that represent a diversity of choral styles. The first piece, Pula, Pula! (meaning “Rain, Rain!” in Setswana), was composed by Pretoria-based composer Franco Prinsloo who writes, “Water is more than an essential resource required for survival. It is a symbol of cleansing and purification that moves beyond the physical.”

The next three pieces hail from Spain, Iceland and England, respectively. The first – Ríu Ríu Chíu – is a lively “villancico” (“carol”) that describes how “God protected the precious ewe-lamb [the Virgin Mary] from the wolf [the Devil]”. This is contrasted with a modern setting of an ancient Icelandic hymn, Heyr, Himna Smiður. Written on the eve of battle, the hymn calls for God’s aid. Afterwards, we present a barbershop-style close-harmony depiction of the Wise Men who Follow That Star to Bethlehem.

VOX Cape Town’s final offering is a beautifully atmospheric work by Eric Whitacre called Sleep. “The evening hangs beneath the moon; a silver thread on darkened dune. With closing eyes and resting head, I know that sleep is coming soon…” Eventually, the choral voices fade away to merge with the sounds of the night.