Monday, 12 January 2009

CPUT sings up a storm at the 2008 Old Mutual National Choir Festival Finals


For the past thirty-one years, thousands of cheerful choristers have gathered annually in one national venue to participate in the Old Mutual National Choir Festival.

This year’s competition was no different, with the CPUT choir making its mark in the standard section of the competition.

The Old Mutual National Choir Festival Finals took place at the Heartfelt Arena in Tshwane on 6 and 7 December 2008.

The City of Tshwane became a hive of activity in the days leading up to the highlight of the choral music calendar, as the CPUT choir, accompanied by Choir Manager Thobeka September, prepared tirelessly to defend their previous year’s accolade.

Known as South Africa’s oldest, largest and most prestigious choral music competition, the festival celebrates over three decades of playing a part in developing musical talent in this country.

The purpose for this annual event is to encourage and promote choral music excellence, while providing memorable musical moments for participants and audiences alike.

More than 5 000 choral music supporters filled the Heartfelt Arena to witness the region’s top choirs challenge each other from for the top positions in the 31st Old Mutual National Choir Festival Finals.

Over 300 choirs took part in this year’s the choral competition, which began with the district eliminations in March, followed by workshops in each province and the regional championships, and culminated with the national championship, which produced two overall national winners.

In total, 23 choirs competed for the chance to be champions in their respective categories, namely, the large category, where 12 choirs competed for the title, and the standard category, where eleven choirs took part.

CPUT’s choir gave sterling performances in the Western and African/vernacular section of the standard category of the competition, winning fifth place for Best African Piece and third place for Best Western Piece.

The Mayibuye I-Africa choir from KwaZulu-Natal was crowned the 2008 National Champions in the standard category, winning prize money of R27 000 and a trophy for their incredible renditions of How Lovely Are The Messengers from St. Paul by F. Mendelssohn in the Western category and Unwel’ Olude Mahatma Ghandi by Q. Sibisi in the African/vernacular category.

Some feedback received from the choir members was that “standards were extremely high this year” and in general the events were a great success in terms of boosting the provinces’ micro-economies in the various host regions.

CPUT choir member and Graduate Marketing Student Zuko Mbolekwa said that he was “very impressed with choir’s performance; we just need to polish up our act for next year’s competition”.

He added that he wished that the choir could receive added support from students, staff and management of the institution to boost the members’ morale.

A KwaZulu-Natal choral ensemble, African Chorus, performed as the guest choir, after being crowned winners of the ‘Champ of Champs’ category at 2007 National Finals.

According to the competition’s organisers, the aim was to allocate prescribed songs that were varied and challenging, while highlighting the choral music talent that the country has to offer.

The competition also provides the competing choristers with an opportunity to develop and expand their choral abilities. During its 31 years, the festival has built up a large following of choral music lovers who form part of the audiences in all the regions.

The competition dates for 2009 are to be announced in February.

By: Thando J. Moiloa, Marketing and Communication Department

Photograph: The CPUT Choir

Written by CPUT News