By Lerato Matheka
MASERU — Mohapeloa Singers had to watch the man who made them a force to reckon with a few years ago condemning them to the wooden spoon this time round.
Tseliso Mokoai on Sunday led his new choir, JP Choristers, to first place in the gold section of the African Choral Festival at Manthabiseng Convention Centre.
Needless to say, Mokoai was named the best conductor in the gold category.
Mokoai and a number of singers broke away from Mohapeloa Singers to form JP Choristers in May last year.
Despite the split, Mohapeloa Singers had vowed they would reclaim the prestigious African Choral Festival crown after missing last year’s edition in controversial circumstances.
But the splinter ensemble was just too good on the day.
With 74.467 points, JP Choristers beat fellow first-timers Serumula Performing Arts (69.233 points) into second position, while Mohapeloa Singers settled for third on 68.667 points.
Last year the gold category, the festival’s top-tier competition, was won by Maseru City Choral.
Lithabaneng LEC retained their silver section championship, with St Vincent LCYM finishing second and Motsemocha LEC third.
First-timers Roma Melodies scooped the big one in the bronze category, edging NUL LEC into second and leaving defending champs Mathebe LEC in third.
The African Melody Festival is sponsored by Standard Lesotho Bank and the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture.
The competition was founded in 2006 with the aim of uplifting the standard of choral music in the country.