Chance of a lifetime

JOYOUS Celebration is hitting the road in April on their annual nationwide concert tour. This year the concert is tied in with auditions for the gospel group.

JOYOUS Celebration is hitting the road in April on their annual nationwide concert tour. This year the concert is tied in with auditions for the gospel group.

Presented by Old Mutual for the third year running, the cross-country tour will take in the country's major centres between April and August.

This not to be missed musical treat will feature the three founder members, a six-piece band and a cast of 35, who are all united in uplifting, stirring and soul-nourishing song.

But that's not all. As part of the group's ongoing drive to uncover new talent, aspiring gospel singers have a chance to show what they're made of with a view to joining the group next year.

The n tour kicks off with performances at the South African State Theatre in Pretoria from April 1 to 4. The choir then moves to Cape Town for a concert at His People Centre on May 1 and then to the Mmabatho Convention Centre in Mafikeng on June 5.

Their next stop is Durban on July 31 at the International Convention Centre. The tour winds up with a performance at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's Missionvale Campus in Port Elizabeth on August 7.

Jabu Hlongwane, who founded Joyous Celebration 14 years ago with Lindelani Mkhize and Mthunzi Namba, explains: "The theme of this year's concerts is 'moving people towards worship without losing the normal Joyous feel' - and audiences can expect to experience the outfit's original music together with traditional favourites and laced with various languages and rhythms."

For those who wish to join in and sing along during the show, song books will be on sale because, as Hlongwane points out, "Singing along is at the core of what we do. There is no Joyous without singing along."

Joyous Celebration's membership is fluid, changing at least once every two years. It is not so much a group as a concept or project to groom singers to enter the music industry independently.

"Our tradition has always been to look for new talent and develop and nurture it on the country's biggest gospel music platform. That's at the heart of what Joyous is all about," Hlongwane says.

"People see Joyous on TV or DVD and think it's a glamorous life, but when they join us they realise that you have to put in a lot of hard work to be successful.

"They emerge as well-rounded, multidimensional, versatile artists, who can return to their communities with skills. They also become quite desirable to other productions or artists as musical directors and backing singers, or even start their own music projects," Hlongwane says.

Auditions will take place from 9am to 3pm on the day before each concert. A passionate singer who stands out might even be co-opted into the next day's show.

To audition, log on to www.joyous.co.za for more details head along to the venue on the days of the auditions and fill in an application form.

Booking is open at Computicket. Tickets are between R150 and R300.

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