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African Melody Festival to feature SA choir

by Lesotho Times
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Mohalenyane Phakela

THE annual Standard Lesotho Bank African Melody Festival, which will be held on 30 November at Lehakoe Club in Maseru, will feature up to 25 choirs with the added twist of a South African-based choir.

The festival, held on an annual basis, is meant to celebrate and promote choral music in Lesotho. According to the organisers, Choral Music Federation of Lesotho (CMFL), the fete’s followership has grown over the past 11 years of its existence.

The competition has previously only been participated by local groups, but for the first time, this year’s edition will feature a South African choir, CUT Choral, from the Free State Province.

CMFL said the reason behind the move is to forge cross-border relations and assess the competency of local choirs.

“Our vision as Choral Music Federation of Lesotho is to grow the competition to an international level and a point where we will be hosting choirs from different African countries as the name of the festival suggests,” said CMFL Public Relations Officer, Sitsane Letsie, in an interview with the Weekender on Tuesday.

“The reason we have invited CUT Choral is because it is one of the toughest choirs in South Africa, so we would like to weigh the competency of our choirs against such giants.”

One other reason for hosting a South African choir, continued Letsie, is to prepare local choirs for international competition.

Home grown group, Serumula Performing Arts Academy, acquitted themselves well earlier this year in Bloemfontein and came out victorious, which Letsie said shows growth in the local choral music scene.

Letsie further revealed the competition will be in two categories as usual. The guests will take on about 14 choirs which are in the large section and community choirs. The other category is the standard category which comprises mostly of church choirs and in this edition there will be 12 of them.

“We normally have more choirs in this annual competition, but some will not be able to compete due to some of their members being away because of work commitments,” went on Letsie.

”Our vision is to see the choral industry become one from which the singers can live from, rather than side-gig as we are passionate about it.”

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