CHORAL training division of Serumula Performing Arts Academy (SPAA) will host a two-day choral conducting techniques workshop for junior and intermediate conductors at the Lesotho College of Education on 23 to 24 March.
The training seminar will cover among others; choral literature, conducting, and methods; rehearsal techniques and concert conducting, among others.
Speaking to the Weekender this week, SPAA’s conductor, Lehlomela Tente said the workshop aims to improve the competence of conductors who drive the whole ensemble.
“We face some challenges in the country when it comes to choir conducting because many people do not understand that this is a skill they have to acquire through learning,” Tente said.
Tente said it takes more than throwing hands to conduct a choir. “You need to have certain qualities because choral conducting is like driving a car, you need to be trained on how to make it move and be able to control it. A conductor with no skills can easily destroy the flow of the song due to failure to lead the way
“A good conductor should have leadership skills with great ability to read music and a good listening ear to know what actions to take, for example to tell when a song is out of tune and further be able to coordinate different parts of the choir (tenor, bass and first part among others) along with the orchestra when required,” he said.
The Serumula choral training division aims to equip junior and intermediate choirs with skills to conduct so that they can excel in song management.
Tente has composed several songs, and has also served as a music coach, adjudicator and facilitator at the Lesotho Schools Music Association, in addition to his involvement in the structures of different church denominations.
One of the Southern African region’s best choral group, SPAA, was formed in January 2007 with only 16 members back then. Currently, the group has grown to 130 active members with its popularity spreading beyond neighbouring South Africa.
Under Tente’s leadership, it has won quite a number of choral competitions both locally and in South Africa. Locally, the group has won the National African Melody Festival five times since 2012.
The list of South African Honours includes, the Melting Pot Choir Festival, Gauteng Choral Music Awards as well as the South African National Choir Festival and Mangaung Choral Music Association competitions.
Serumula trains its member before they can join the choir sector and has also in the past held vocal training programme for junior and intermediate choirs.
The major vision of SPAA is to become an academy and Tente said imparting skills is one strategy towards realising their vision.