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Choral giants pull out of contest

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — Choral music giants Mohapeloa Singers have pulled out of this year’s African Melody Festival competition scheduled for next month.
The festival is due to take place at Manthabiseng Convention Centre on December 4.
Mohapeloa Singers’ president, Thabo Mokhutsoane, said the decision to pull out was purely a business-driven one.
“We have two projects that need to be completed by this month so looking at our time, we won’t be able to participate at this year’s AMF,” Mokhutsoane said.
He said the two projects were of a higher priority because they could generate some cash for the choir.
“We have to release a CD for one of the local banks and a DVD for Mohapeloa Singers. The two projects have consumed much of our time but we are happy because they have injected a lot of money into the choir,” Mokhutsoane said.
“We will be done two weeks before the AMF but we feel the time is not enough to practise and compete. We normally need two months to perfect our performances so we will be missing from this year’s competition.”
He said this decision had however upset some of their singers.
“But we had to explain to them that it is for the long-term sustainability of the choir and they eventually understood,” Mokhutšoane said.
He said they were aware that the competition was the only big channel for their fans to watch them perform “but the fans just have to wait until next year”.
“We apologise to our fans who were looking forward to watching us at this year’s competition.
“But we urge them to understand it’s only business. Next year we will be back,” Mokhutsoane said.
The choir’s conductor, Motseko Mafantiri, said they were merely prioritising events to ensure the survival of the choir.
“After weighing the strengths between a competition and a money-generating project, we had to settle for the project,” Mafantiri said.
“A competition has a win-lose probability which may cause instability within the choir but a project is a win-win situation where everyone would stay happy while making the choir sustainable,” he said.
Mafantiri said unlike competitions which are only hosted once, projects are long-term.
“We are working towards releasing a CD for a local bank and our DVD titled Tseba Lesotho le Mohapeloa.
The two will see us living not only in the memories of our fans but in their everyday lives.
“It is a shame we won’t be competing this year but we will not miss any competition next year,” he added.
Mohapeloa Singers have won the AMF six times since the competition began in 2003.
They however lost their title in 2009 after they refused to audition for the festival.
Last year the competition was won by JP Choristers, a breakaway group that split from Mohapeloa Singers two years ago.

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