Long hours spent rehearsing, passion and fundraising led to Kensington Chorale Girls’ Choir winning at national level last weekend.They won awards at the ATKV Animato competition in Johannesburg last Sunday.They brought home gold in the community choirs category for Best Rendition of a Prescribed Piece. They were then announced as best community choir in South Africa. It is the choir’s first big win.The choir has 27 singers from various suburbs from as far as Somerset West between the ages of 12 and 19.To qualify for the national competition, the choir won the regional competition in July.Choir conductor Lizl Gaffley has led the choir since its inception ten years ago. She says winning the competition caught her by surprise and made her appreciate the good results of working with determination and discipline with a group of people who share the same interest. She says the journey to their success was not easy and they had to make sacrifices.“It took long hours of rehearsals, serious fundraising concerts, selling food on Fridays and Saturday rehearsal sessions. I am ecstatic with the girls’ performance. They were focused and rendered a well-executed performance. They have brought me many accolades. This award, however, is the first serious competition in our run-up to the World Choir Games taking place in Tshwane next year. A good result makes it easier for the way forward to the World Choir Games. It makes us realise we are capable of being successful. It is not easy to travel for nearly 20 hours on a bus, preserve your voices or give up your favourite snacks to prevent phlegm. Looking after your voice is the most difficult on the road,” she says.Gaffley says the choir has a mission to share their love for music with communities by teaching each other tolerance, respect, dedication and discipline.She says members learn to apply what they learn in the choir to all aspects of their lives. Singer Jaihne Magerman says she has been with the choir for three years and winning at a national level is the greatest achievement they have ever achieved. She says it proved that hard work paid off and they could achieve whatever they put their hearts on. Keyla Gaffley, the oldest member of the choir, says she is proud of the girls who made it possible for them to reach this achievement. She says it was amazing and exciting to hear that they had won. “We deserved it. It is really a great achievement for us. We worked hard for it,” she says.