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M85 000 boost for choral music festival

Lerato Matheka MASERU — Standard Lesotho Bank has pumped M85 000 into the ninth African Melody Festival to be held at Manthabiseng Convention Centre on December 2. The sponsorship is M5 000 more than what the bank gave AMF last year.

The festival will see Maseru City Choral defending their title in the gold section with Mofumahali oa Tlholo and Sekamaneng expected to provide stiff competition to the reigning kings. The competition is organised by Choral Music Federation of Lesotho (CMFL). “Standard Lesotho Bank has been supporting the competition since its inception in 2003 and we are grateful for their consistent support,” Sam Letima, the CMFL spokesperson, told XpressPeople.

“This year we have 39 choirs fighting for first position in the gold, silver and bronze categories. This is a major increase from the 27 choirs that competed in all the three categories last year,” Letima said.
He said the increase was due to the introduction of new choral developmental programmes earlier this year. “We held music and training workshops for the development of choirs and the choral industry earlier this year for all competing choirs and this led to many choirs wanting to be part of the growth and developmental journey of the choral industry,” he said.

Letima said there will be three new choirs in the gold section. “Sediba Choral Artistes, Berea Marvellous Voices and Southern Chorus will join Maseru City Choral, Serumula Performing Arts Academy, Mafeteng Choristers, JP Choristers, Mohapeloa Singers, Maseru Vocal Waves, St Gerard Serenades and St Emile LCYM in the gold section to decide the overall winner,” he said. Letima said he expected fireworks at the festival this year because of the new choirs that will be competing in all the categories.

“Maseru Vocal Waves and Mohapeloa Singers last year failed to participate in the competition so this year we have new and thirsty choirs that will be fighting for the first position. It is going to be a competition not worth missing.” He said the prescription songs were released to choirs in May to give them enough time to prepare. Letima said choirs are supposed to choose two songs from the four that were on the prescription list. “Unlike last year where only the western piece was accompanied by a piano, this year both the western and vernacular pieces in the gold section will be accompanied by a piano,” he said.
“This is to upgrade the standard of the competition and build excitement ahead of our 10th year celebration next year,” he said.

Winners of the competition in the gold section are going to walk away with M6 000. The second and third placed choirs will win M5 000 and M4 500 respectively. The winners in the silver section will walk away with M5 000 while second and third runner-ups will each pocket M4 000 and M3 500. In the bronze section, winners, their runner-up and second runner-up will win M4 000, M3 000 and M2 500 respectively. “All choirs will also have trophies along with their prize money and this year the trophies will be of higher quality than last year.”

Letima said they are anticipating a record number of fans at the festival. “We organised a series of regional concerts to allow choirs to share the stage entertaining their supporters and a lot of hype was created so we are expecting to see a lot of spectators,” Letima said.

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