AN Imbali songstress is flying the city’s flag high after being selected to join the award-winning contemporary gospel music group – Joyous Celebration.Snenhlanhla Mncwabe (26), from Imbali Unit 1, on tour with Joyous Celebrations said it feels surreal. “I auditioned in June last year and got a call back for a second audition. Thereafter I waited a couple of months before I got the call that I had made it. “At first I thought that I probably didn’t make the cut, but I was excited when in May they called and said I was in.”Mncwabe said joining the choir is a huge accomplishment for her career. “I still cannot believe that I’m on the same stage with some of the artists I grew up admiring. It is a dream come true to get an opportunity to work with people like Linde-lani Mkhize and Jabu Hlongwane. I still wake up in the morning and pinch myself to see if I am not dreaming.”Her career began as a pupil at Fundokuhle High School and she said some may know her from Sound of Salvation, which won the best newcomer award at the Crown Gospel Awards in 2007.“I have been a back-up singer for many well-known gospel musicians, including Ntokozo Mbambo, Mahalia Buchanan and Sibusiso Mthembu. “As fate would have it I was also part of the Joyous 20 recording at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban last year as a backup singer.“Working as a back-up artist for some of the biggest artists has groomed Mncwabe for her journey with Joyous Celebration. “I think all those years of being a back-up singer were preparing me for this, I learnt a lot while backing up and it also exposed me to more opportunities as an artist.”Mncwabe praised artist Malusi Ndimande, also part of Joyous Celebration, for always encouraging her not to give up on her dreams. “He would always tell me to continue being a backup singer and that things will eventually look up. Even my family was very supportive because they knew how badly I wanted to join the group.”She said her biggest challenge right now is learning the 30 songs of the Joyous Celebration latest album that the group will be performing on tour.Joyous has produced artists such as Ntokozo Mbambo, Nqubeko Mbatha, Khaya Mthethwa, Swazi Dlamini and many others. The group is touring the country and has a performance in Mpumalanga this weekend.