Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) put their arsenal aside and took to the podium at the Johnson Ngwevela hall in Langa to showcase their vocal talents. At least 10 choirs from different army bases around the country battled it out for honours during the South African Army Choir Competition finals last week. The two-day event, on Wednesday 15 October and Thursday 16 October last week drew a lot of attention from the local community. Locals came in numbers to listen to the soothing music from the defence force members. Event organiser Colonel Reverend Kingsely Masemola said the choirs were divided into seniors and juniors categories, with four senior choirs and six junior choirs. “Our objective is to change the perception that people have about army members,” he said, adding that some people describe soldiers as murderers. “So, we want to integrate with the communities in an effort to create a good relationship,” said Masemola. He described music as a universal language. “When people are happy they sing. And when they are sad they also sing. So, music helps us to uplift our spirit and express our emotions,” he stated. Aphiwe Weni, a member of the 9 South African Infantry Battalion in Town Two, described the competition as entertaining. “This year the competition is on another level because it also includes people from outside. Some of the choir members are not members of the army,” she said. She thanked the community for the support. Senior choirs that attended included Army Support Base from Western Cape, Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth), Bloemfontein and 6 South African Infantry Battalion (Grahamstown). The junior choirs were 9 South African Infantry Battalion, 1 South African Tank Regiment (Bloemfontein), 4 Artillery Regiment (Potchefstroom), Army Support Base from Mpumalanga (Nelspruit), Headquarters Choir (Pretoria) and 9 South African Army Infantry School (Oudtshoorn).