24 June 2017

Lesotho: SPAA Choral Group Flies High in SA

THE choral division of Serumula Performing Arts Academy (SPAA) continues to make waves on the regional scene after securing a second place finish at the recent inaugural South African OR Tambo DSACR Choral Eisteddfod competition in Bloemfontein.

The competition was organised by South Africa's Ministry of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation in honour of the late Oliver Reginald Tambo who served as the ruling African National Congress party's president from 1967 to 1991 when he was replaced by the late Nelson Mandela. He died in April 1993.

The choral outfit, which participated in the event along with Maseru City Choral, walked away M35 000 for their efforts in the competition that was won by South African choir, Bel Canto who received M50 000 plus a brand new piano.

Another South African choir, Free State Choristers finished third and received M30 000.

The 10 year-old SPAA choir has won several competitions including the Melting Pot Choir Festival, Gauteng Choral Music Awards as well as the South African National Choir Festival and Mangaung Choral Music Association events.

This was their first loss to Bel Canto but despite this, SPAA conductor Lehlomela Tente this week told the Weekender that they were pleased with the results.

"This was not the first time competing with those Free State choirs and we had never lost to Bel Canto, making the Saturday experience the first," Tente said.

"We believe they managed to study us in the past encounters and developed a tactic to beat us.

"South African choirs have an advantage over Lesotho choirs in that they use singers from established music institutions who get continuous assessment of their singing skills whereas in Lesotho the choir is mandated to train its own members. That is not done on a constant basis for our members are committed to different jobs therefore have little time to rehearse."

He said their past successes against such established musicians or finishing second "proved that we are working very hard and if we had the same resources we would be unstoppable".

He further revealed that they had a chance to avenge the loss when they clash again in the South African National Choir Festival featuring choirs from South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland on 5 August.

"Preparations are underway for the August event from which only 10 choirs will be selected for the finals in December.

"We will once again compete with the Free State choirs on 5 August since we are regarded as part of their province and our goal is to have the highest score in the competition," he said.

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