Choir fest re­turns with a bang

Lesotho Times - - Weekender - Mo­halenyane Phakela

TWENTY-NINE lo­cal choirs are set to lock horns with three from South Africa dur­ing this year’s edi­tion of the Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank African Melody Fes­ti­val (SLB-AMF) slated for Le­sotho High School hall on 29 Novem­ber 2015.

The fes­ti­val, which is held on an an­nual ba­sis, was launched in 2003. Ac­cord­ing to the or­gan­is­ers, Choral Mu­sic Fed­er­a­tion of Le­sotho (CMFL), the fes­ti­val is also meant to cel- ebrate and pro­mote choral mu­sic in Le­sotho.

“Since its in­cep­tion, the com­pe­ti­tion has al­ways sought to up­lift the tal­ents of Ba­sotho soloists and choirs by giv­ing them a plat­form to com­pete against South African choirs,” CMFL trea­surer, Mathe Male­fet­sane, told the Week­ender this week.

“Ev­ery year, we host train­ing ses­sions for lo­cal choirs in prepa­ra­tion for this big con­test. This year we held three re­gional work­shops in Mafeteng in March for the South Re­gion, Leribe in April for the North Re­gion and Ma- seru in May for the Cen­tral Re­gion.”

He said choirs from across the coun­try en­listed for the com­pe­ti­tion.

“We se­lected the choir groups that were good enough to com­pete at the na­tional fes­ti­val and held a fol­low-up work­shop for them in May. Dur­ing the work­shop, the ad­ju­di­ca­tors ex­plained to the con­duc­tors the cri­te­ria which their choirs would be judged on,” said Male­fet­sane.

The com­pe­ti­tion, he said, would be seg­mented into two cat­e­gories as usual. The large sec­tion will see 10 lo­cal choirs com­pet­ing with SA’S Cen­tral Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy choir and Mar­vel­lous Voices while 19 lo­cal choirs will go head to head against South Africa’s Pho­mo­long In­ter-choir in the Stan­dard Sec­tion. The choirs will com­pete on eight songs.

“The Large Sec­tion con­sists of es­tab­lished choirs with more than 50 mem­bers, while the Stan­dard Sec­tion con­sists of up-and-com­ing choirs with less than 50 mem­bers,” Male­fet­sane said.

“In each cat­e­gory, the choirs have been given a se­lec­tion of four songs from which they will be judged. In the Large Sec­tion, the choirs will be judged on how well their soloists are able to de­liver the Western se­lected songs sup­ported by their choirs, while in the lower sec­tion they will just be judged on the gen­eral de­liv­ery.”

He said Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank, which has been spon­sor­ing the com­pe­ti­tion since its in­cep­tion, in­jected M170 000 this year. “Metropoli­tan Le­sotho are also spon­sor­ing the com­pe­ti­tion for the first time to the tune of M20 000,” said Male­fet­sane.

“The govern­ment nor­mally sup­ports us with vary­ing amounts that we use to in­cen­tivise the choirs that fail to win the com­pe­ti­tion. We call it the par­tic­i­pa­tion fee. But this time around, we will not be able to do so, which is de­mor­al­iz­ing for them.”

He said they were work­ing on bring­ing choirs from other African coun­tries to the next edi­tion of the fes­ti­val.

“Since the com­pe­ti­tion is now in its se­cond decade, hope­fully next year’s edi­tion will see the par­tic­i­pa­tion of choirs from dif­fer­ent African coun­tries since our aim is to reach the in­ter­na­tional level,” Male­fet­sane added.

“We are also hop­ing to com­mem­o­rate the coun­try’s 50th In­de­pen­dence an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions next year by hav­ing choirs com­pet­ing on songs com­posed by lo­cal cho­ris­ters.”

SLB-AMF win­ners’ prizes: Large Sec­tion – 1st Prize M15 000, 2nd Prize M14 000 and M13 000 for the third run­nerup.

Stan­dard Sec­tion – 1st Prize M10 000, 2nd Prize M9 000 and M8 000 for the 3rd Prize win­ner.

MASERU City Choral are lined up to com­pete in this year's edi­tion.

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