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Another SA competition win for SPAA

by Sunday Express
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SPAAMohalenyane Phakela

THE choral group of the Serumula Performing Arts Academy (SPAA) notched another accolade along with other local choirs at the Lengaung Choral Music Association (LECMA) competition held last Saturday at Oppenheimer Theatre in Welkom.

SPAA was among eight local ensembles that competed in the categories of Large Section, Standard Section, Development Section and Interdenominational Section.

Competing in the Large Section, SPAA triumphed over four Free State province choirs and Maseru City Chorale in fifth position.

Mafeteng-based Sounds of the South also won in the Development Category, while Lesotho Mounted Police Service Choir landed the third position in the same section. Sekamaneng LEC and Maestro did not make it to the top three of their categories.

SPAA conductor and song composer, Lehlomela Tente, told Xpress People they were determined to win back the title which they clinched in 2014.

“Last year, we only managed to get to number five in the same competition. This time around, we researched extensively about the competition and the two songs we wanted to sing. The hard work secured the victory,” he said.

“Competition in the Large Section proved to be stiff because the other choirs also came prepared which helped us to up our game.”

SPAA has won the Gauteng Choral Music Awards twice and the South African National Choir Festival. They are also the local African Melody Festival champions.

“It’s easy for us to lose our heads in the noise of success and to think the world revolves around us. However, we always remind ourselves of the need to keep working hard,” said Tente.

He also revealed SPAA had been nominated to compete in the Melting Pot choral competition at Carnival City Hotel in Johannesburg against nine other choirs from South Africa.

However, Tente bemoaned the limited financial resources that constrained the group’s participation in choral competitions.

“Our recent trip to South Africa cost us at least M26 000 and we did not get any sponsorship. Transport costs are a major problem among other resource constraints since most of our members are still students.”

He said they had no choice but to participate in SA competitions since only a few were held locally.

“If eight local choirs travel outside the country to compete, it means there is a problem at home. It would be a travesty to practice all year round for a single competition held in December (African Melody Festival). Our choirs would then never grow,” added Tente.

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