Massed choir in top form again

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

South Africa's foremost choral, classical and contemporary music showcase - the 2008 Transnet Foundation, SABC and Sowetan Massed Choir Festival held in Johannesburg at the weekend - surpassed expectations.

Its featured acts were gospel music star Benjamin Dube, Danish vocal music act Papaya, andmezzo sopranos Nonhlanhla Yende and Teresa de Wet, bass singers Paul Madibeng and Timothy Matlala, sopranos Pretty Yende and Xoliswa Nogwam, and tenors Monwabisi Lindi and Donald Majosi.

Dube wowed the crowd with timeless pieces - Where You Lead Me and I Feel Like Going On.

Another celebrant was African choral music icon Joshua Polumo Mohapeloa, who would have been 100 years old this year.

A token of appreciation for his artistic excellence and immense contribution to the South African and African cultural heritage was accepted by Mohapeloa's grandson, Polumo Mohapeloa.

Other honoured achievers were Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo and Richard Cock, who helped mould the festival into what it is today.

Khumalo and Cock also mentored rising composers, arrangers and conductors, who are the festival's current leaders, namely Ludumo Magangane, Thabiso Mosabala, Mokale Koapeng, Danny Pooe and Thulasizwe Nkabinde.

We also honoured young composer Christo Jankowitz, whose piece This Is The Day, was inspired by Psalm 118. His runners-up were Sabelo Mthembu with Ongilondolozayoand Evans Netshivhambe with Lotsha.

Forming the festival's 1000-voice chorus were Mvezo Community Choir, the Chitungwiza Harmony Singers from Zimbabwe, Bonisudumo Choristers, East Rand Chorale, Kathorus Choristers, Mogale City Chorale, Soweto Songsters, Vaal Choristers, African Sweet Melodies, Gauteng SAPS Choir, Mangaung SAPS Choir, Gauteng Choristers, and the SABC, Amazwi KaNtu, GaRankuwa Community Choirs, and the Mamelodi Philharmonic Chorus and Shalom Chorale.