Highlights of Choir Festival

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

A choral music composition by a young musician will be among the highlights of the 2008 Transnet Foundation, SABC and Sowetan Massed Choir Festival.

The festival, launched 20 years ago, will be held at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg on November 9.

It is one of the community development events marking the 20th anniversary of Sowetan's nation-building concept, philosophy and work - falling under the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation - whose founding father is the paper's late former editor-in-chief Aggrey Klaaste.

In April the South African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) Endowment for the National Arts and Massed Choir Festival's organisers - Transnet Foundation, SABC and Sowetan - called on emerging choral music composers to enter their work for a commemorative choral composition competition.

Four young soloists, mezzo soprano Nonhlanhla Yende, bass Timothy Matlala, soprano Pretty Yende and tenor Monwabisi Lindi, will be there

They will lead the 20 choirs that form a formidable 1000-voice chorus, backed by the Nation Building Orchestra.

This festival is a deserving home for budding composers, arrangers, conductors and choristers.

Just like Sowetan's nationbuilding programmes, it emerged as a catalyst at a time of heightened political intolerance, racial division and economic instability in South Africa more than two decades ago. It continues to unite South Africans of all races and is a symbol of goodwill.

Over the years guest artists have included brothers Loyiso and Zwai Bala, Tsepo "The Village Pope" Tshola, Vicky Sampson, the Sibonile School for Visually Impaired Pupils and the St Vincent School for Speech and Hearing Impaired Pupils, hip-hop star Tumelo Kepadisa and the Botswana Choral Society.

Pioneering festival leaders Richard Cock and Mzilikazi Khumalo have been replaced by young, versatile choral musicians Ludumo Magangane, Thabiso Mosabala, Mokale Koapeng, Danny Pooe and Thulasizwe Nkabinde.