SPAA choir appeals for sponsors


 Mohalenyane Phakela

THE choral division of the Serumula Performing Arts Academy (SPAA) is appealing for sponsorship to participate in Saturday’s Old Mutual National Choir Festival qualifications at Sand Du Plesis Theatre in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

SPAA will be competing under the Free State province region with fellow choral outfit, Maseru City Chorale, South Africa’s Bel Canto Voices as well as Free State Choristers in the Large Category in order to qualify for the national finals which will be held in Gauteng in December this year.

SPAA conductor, Lehlomela Tente, this week told the Weekender that they needed funds to book a South African pianist as well as catering for choir members.

“It is quite a challenge for local choirs to compete in South Africa as we have to book a professional pianist from South Africa a week ahead of any competition and assist members who cannot pay for their own uniform as well as transport, food and accommodation bills,” Tente said.

He said they had to pay for the accommodation (M500 per day) and food expenses of the pianist who has been in the country since Tuesday.

The pianist also charged M3800 for his services bringing his total costs to M6500.

“This is the money we have to cough out of our pockets as we lack sponsorship so we are asking people to help us in any way they can so that the choir can perform at its best and make the country proud as it has done in the past.”

The National Choir Festival is a South African choral music competition which begins at district, then regional/provincial level culminating in a national final every December.

It also features neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Zimbabwe. It will be commemorating 40 years of changing people’s lives through choral music this year.

Serumula first competed in the contest in 2013 under the Standard Category where they won the regional event as well as the finals. In 2014 they finished third in the same category.

They moved to the Large Category in 2015 where they finished second at district level and third in 2016. The choir has set its sights on winning this year’s edition.

“We have not won in the Large Category but we have invested all we have in preparing for this contest.

“Although we will be meeting the same choirs we have competed against, we are not taking any chances.  So we are treating this as our first contest and we will perform as though it were a matter of life and death.

“Only 10 choirs with the highest marks go through to the finals irrespective of whether or not whether a choir came out tops in its region. If there is a choir in another region with greater score then it cannot go through to the finals. We are aiming for the highest marks as possible.

He said they would sing two prescribed songs, one in Zulu and another in the Italian language, adding they had practised the Zulu song to avoid a scenario where they lost out to native Zulu choirs from South Africa.

The 10-year-old Serumula choir has participated in and won several South African choral competitions, including the Melting Pot Choir Festival, Gauteng Choral Music Awards and Mangaung Choral Music Association competitions.

Locally they have won the Standard Bank Lesotho African Melody Festival.



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