Choir fest world class

2015-11-11 06:00
VUYISILE KOKO, the provincial general manager of Old Mutual, during the launch and draw of the National Choir Festival in Bloemfontein last Friday. Photo: Sidwell Guduka

VUYISILE KOKO, the provincial general manager of Old Mutual, during the launch and draw of the National Choir Festival in Bloemfontein last Friday. Photo: Sidwell Guduka

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PERFORMANCES by Bel Canto Voices, the Central University of Technology (CUT) and Matlosana Melodies are in store for choral music enthusiasts in Bloemfontein next month.

The three groups are among 22 choirs that will be battling it out during the Old Mutual National Choir Festival Finals to be hosted at University of the Free State’s (UFS) Vista Campus from 12 to 13 December.

Speaking at the launch and draw of the event at Protea Hotel Willow Lake in Bloemfontein last Friday (06/11), Old Mutual’s provincial manager Vuyisile Koko, said: “We are excited to be holding the finals of this competition in Mangaung this year.

“Music lovers will not only have the pleasure of experiencing awesome choral renditions, but they will also get to enjoy the generous hospitality of the Free State.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the conductors and their choirs the best of luck in the finals. May the best choir win the competition,” said Koko.

To kick-off the final leg of the 38-year-old event, all conductors from participating choirs were put through their paces during a two-day training session in the Free State capital last weekend.

It was hosted by Graham Scott, who is regarded as one of the finest musical directors of his generation.

Every single conductor was given a master class on conducting an orchestra and a book on music notation, with the courtesy of the University of South Africa (Unisa).

“The conductor’s briefing has proven to be an invaluable exercise over the years, as the conductors make use of this informal briefing to network and learn from each other, as well as pick up invaluable tips from the orchestra,” said Bandile Mngoma, Old Mutual sponsorship manager.

Mngoma said this year had been a ground-breaking year for the competition as more than 1 000 voices from different corners of South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Zimbabwe belted out songs that melted the hardest of hearts during the regional championships.

“This has been a very successful year for the biggest choral music competition in Southern Africa.

“Choral music plays an important role in the lives of many communities – it is a proud part of our cultural heritage and helps to build bridges and strengthen networks,” he said.

“Significantly, the festival brings economic and social benefits to choristers and their communities,” he added.

) Standard category choirs:

Simon Estes Alumni Choir (Western Cape), Chitungwiza Harmony Singers (Zimbabwe), St Florence Catholic Choir Church (Swaziland), Matlosana Melodies (North-West), Prince Mshiyeni Choir (KwaZulu-Natal), African Melodies (Gauteng), Bel Canto Singers (Free State), CUT Choir (Free State), Northern Cape SAPS Choir (Northern Cape) and African Serenade Project (Mpumalanga).

) Large category choirs:

Kopano Chorus and Gauteng Choristers (Gau-teng), Zwelitsha Adult Choir and The Matthews Singers (Eastern Cape), North West University (NWU) Serenaders and Bagale Chorus (North-West), Mbabane Methodist Church Choir and His Majesty Correctional Services Choir (Swaziland), SA Singers (KwaZulu-Natal), Bel Canto Voices (Free State).

) Joyful Harmonies from the Western Cape won the standard category in 2014.

) Voices of the Nation from Gauteng won the large category last year.

) The winning choirs in the large category will take home R100 000, while the choir finishing second and third will receive R90 000 and R80 000, respectively.

) The winner of the standard category will walk

away with R74 000, while choirs finishing second and third will receive R64 000 and R54 000, respectively.

) Each of the finalists have already received R11 000 from the elimination stages.

Tickets are available at Computicket from R120.

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