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Maseru choir scoops big prize

‘Mathapelo Letsepe

MASERU — Maseru City Choral scooped the biggest prize at the African Melody Festival in the capital last Sunday as they went home with M6 000 on top of a floating trophy for winning the gold category.
The annual choral musical festival, inaugurated in 2002, was held at Manthabiseng Convention Centre.
It is organised by the Choral Music Federation of Lesotho.
A record 24 choirs took part in the competition, which was divided into three categories — gold, silver and bronze.
Last year 17 choirs took part in the festival.
The National University of Lesotho (NUL) choir finished runners-up in the gold category, earning themselves M5 000 and a trophy.
Maseru Vocal Waves took the third prize of M4 500 as well as a trophy too.
Lithabaneng LEC and Mathebe LEC managed to defend their titles in the silver and bronze categories, walking away with trophies and M5 000 and M4 000 respectively.
In the silver category, Mafeteng Choristers won the second prize of M4 000 and a trophy, while Mokhotlong LEC got M3500 and a trophy for the second runner-up spot.
NUL LEC finished second in the bronze category and walked away with M3 000 and a trophy, while St Patrick’s Youth got M2 500 and a trophy for third place.
Malefetsane Mathe of NUL choir was voted the best conductor in the gold category and was awarded M1 000.
Mokhotlong LEC’s Refiloe Tšehlana and Lebohang Moletsane of Phomolong LEC were voted the best conductors in the silver and bronze categories respectively.
Each of them received M1 000 for their efforts.
Choral Music Federation of Lesotho public relations officer, Mpiti Mopeli, said the festival was a “resounding  success”.
The participating choirs came from all over the country.
Only two of the initially expected groups — Thaba-Tseka Training Institute and Mofumahali oa Tlholo — failed to make it at the last minute due to financial constraints.
“The competition was very interesting and intense and there was a huge crowd compared to last year,” Mopeli said.
“In 2008, we had 17 groups taking part while 24 competed this year, which shows the festival has become an important feature among local choral groups.”
Mopeli said the festival — bankrolled by Standard Lesotho Bank and the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture to the tune of M89 500 — was growing in stature.
“We are happy because the festival is growing in stature and the medals did not only go to Maseru choirs but district groups as well,” he said.
“This is an improvement. It is clear there is a big development and increased interest in the festival among local choral groups.”

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