The East Rand Youth Choir came into being in April 1978 through the Transvaal Education Department with Jean van den Berg as first choir leader. Although the choir was still young, they were the only youth choir to have been invited to the formal introduction of the new F.A.K.

Songbook in Bloemfontein in July 1979. A special composition “Rondo Aljander” has been composed for the choir by Mr. Pierre Malan, director for Music, at the T.E.D., to be sung at the festival. In October 1979 the choir took part with other regional choirs and the SABC orchestra under Anton Hartman, in a concert in the Aula and Johannesburg City Hall, for the “Jeugweerbaarheidsjaar”.

Sonja van der Walt took over in 1980 and the first long play record was released. In 1981, the choir took part in the festival for the Republic in Durban and toured to Greece and Israel - t the opening of the State Theatre in Pretoria and won the first International trophy RIESA. A second record has been released.

During 1983, they toured Italy and Israel and took part in the Zimriya World Choir Festival. They had various performances in Jerusalem and the St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. In 1993, Sonja moved to the University Choir of Stellenbosch.

During 1993, Johann van der continued. In 1994, the choir won the 2nd prize in the category Youth Choirs at the 16th International Béla Bártok Choir competition in Hungary.

During the competition, the choir as appointed the best Folk music group amongst 30 participating choirs. At the same event, Johann van der Sandt received the prize as the second best conductor at the competition. Frequent domestic tours were undertaken which included a tour to the Eastern and Western Cape during April 1998, where the choir also performed at the Klein Karoo Art Festival (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn.

During 1999, Johan Bester took over as choirmaster and the choir toured North West, Northern Cape, and Namibia. The choir also recoded the CD mibian tour.

The choir continued the tradition of organising and hosting the annual National Youth Choir Festival where the Coastal Youth Choir from Namibia joined the South African Youth choirs in concert. In 2001, Johan Bester moved to a music teaching position in Australia.

Richter Grimbeek took over in March 2001 and in October the choir performed the Mass in G Major from F. Schubert together with the Barrat Due Norwegian Youth Orchestra. During December 2001, the choir undertook a tour through Europe where they participated in the 11th International Festival of Advent and Christmas Music and Petr Eben Prize competition in Prague. Kyknet TV made a programme about the choir and their visit to Europe that was broadcasted in January 2008.

They gave several concerts in Germany and the Netherlands and the choir released its 14th CD during the tour. Richter is currently doing his Doctorate in Austria.

Gert Pottas is a young passionate choir conductor. He grew up in the Eastrand and finished his school career at Hoërskool DR. EG. Jansen. He started conducting from the age of 19 and began his studies in music at the University of Pretoria. Gert sang in various choirs throughout his teenage years. From 2004-2007 he was a member of the Colla Voce Youth choir under the direction of Henk Barnard. Gert completed his Bachelors Degree in Music (BMus) at the University of Pretoria. He is undergoing jazz vocal training with Barbora Tellinger and did classical piano training with Prof. Ruth Guveia. 

Gert aims to complete his Bachelors Degree in performing arts with choral conducting as major. He is also looking at pursuing a Masters Degree (MMus) in both Performance and Choir Conducting. He is a passionate musician that enjoys the beauty of making music. In 2010 he was chosen to represent South Africa at the World Youth Choir summer session.

For a detailed year by year history, you're welcome to download it here:   1978 - 1988      1993 - 2003     2004 - 2008