Inspired music for festival

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His faithful love endures forever.

This is the refrain of Psalm 118 on which the composition This Is The Day, by young composer Christo Jankowitz, is based.

This Is The Day is one of the highlights of the 2008 Transnet Foundation, SABC and Sowetan Massed Choir Festival at the Standard Bank Arena in Doornfontein, Johannesburg, on Sunday from 2pm.

"When I was about 15 I came across Psalm 118 and thought it could be a great musical piece one day because it is a positive, hope-filled and forward-looking passage," says award-winning composer Jankowitz.

"The song has no political, social or any other barriers or agendas and I wanted to share the dire need to build a future where all are accommodated ... a future filled with hope."

The apt song of celebration is part of the rich repertoire marking the 20th anniversary of both the Massed Choir Festival concept as well as the 100th anniversary of legendary South African choral music composer and arranger JP Mohapeloa.

Jankowitz is the 2006 winner of the Samro Overseas Scholarship. The runners-up are Sabelo Mthembu and Evans Netshivhambe.

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

Mthembu's Ongilondolozayo (isiZulu for he who leads me) will be featured in the 2009 Massed Choir Festival and Netshivhambe's Lotsha (Tshivenda for give thanks) will be included in the repertoire of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund-sponsored provincial version of the festival to be held in Limpopo next year.

Other attractions on Sunday are mezzosoprano Nonhlanhla Yende, bass Timothy Matlala, soprano Pretty Yende and tenor Monwabisi Lindi.

Guest artists include Pastor Benjamin Dube, Danish vocal music group Papaya, the Nation Building Orchestra, featuring mainly seasoned professionals of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Also performing will be classical music instrument students from tertiary institutions, the Mvezo Community Choir from Eastern Cape and the Chitungwiza Harmony Singers from Zimbabwe.

Local choirs include Bonisudumo Choristers, East Rand Chorale, Kathorus Choristers, Mogale City Chorale, Soweto Songsters, Vaal Choristers, African Sweet Melodies, Gauteng SAPS Choir, Mangaung SAPS Choir from Free State, Gauteng Choristers,

SABC Choir,

Amazwi KaNtu Choir,

Garankuwa Community Choir, Mamelodi

Philharmonic Chorus and Shalom Chorale.