Drawn first – not a problem for hosts CUT
09 December 2015
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Brad Brown: This is Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now and we’re still chatting about the upcoming Old Mutual National Choir Festival, it’s just around the corner, final preparations are being put on and don’t forget, tickets are available through Computicket. We’re joined now by one of the conductors, Thabang Buang. Thabang, welcome onto Old Mutual Live, thanks for joining us.
Thabang Buang: Thank you sir and thanks to our listeners.
BB: Thabang, you’ve been around this competition for many, many years, you’ve seen a change over the years?
TB: Yes, we’ve been joining this competition since 1997, till to date.
BB: Your journey into choral music, where did it all start?
My musical foundation started at primary school
TB: At school, I was still young, I started at primary school, it’s round about 1986 when I was still singing in the primary school. Then I went to High School where I started singing, it is then when the dream started now, where I see my journey now, where I see everything and I started, where my experience started. Then after secondary school, I went to join the almighty Bloemfontein Serenade, it’s where I started.
BB: When did you realise that conducting is where you want to be?
TB: It’s been long, you know, the conducting was not on my mind, but then after the previous conductor started maybe leaving me with the choir; sing Thabang, you know what, I won’t be available to attend rehearsals for so many days, so please, just be in charge for the choir, is when I started to know. Learning, because this was difficult back then, but after a long time, it’s when I see that this is something that I can do.
BB: Let’s talk about your choir that’s going to be performing on that stage, you’re from CUT, tell us a little bit about the choir.
We’re hungry to win on home soil
TB: The choir consists of students, brilliant students that are hungry on singing, that love music, that are musical in their events, that, you know, doing everything for music. Yes, and also we are not only having students, members from the entire communities, we have members from Welkom, Klerksdorp, Kimberly. Yes, so the choir, it’s doing good, they are doing well. They love music, it’s in their hearts, they’re doing what they love, it is music.
BB: You mentioned the word ‘hunger’, that they’re hungry for it.
TB: For music, very hungry for music.
BB: How important is that hunger in order to win a competition like that?
TB: You know, they have been in this competition, they never want finals, but they’ve been in the finals, but for this year, as we are hosting and as we’ll be starting the competition, as you know, from the draw yesterday, we pulled position one.
We pulled draw one that will be singing, the first choir on the stage, we’ll open the competition, but I’m telling you, they’re hungry on winning this competition and they are doing wonders. I’m telling the members, I’m telling the entire South Africa, that CUT will go on the finals, come 12th, come 13th, CUT will be there.
Is going first a positive or negative?
BB: Let’s talk about the draw because there was lots of banter around it, you’ve been pulled to perform first on both Saturday and Sunday, does that come with its own challenges or does it give you the opportunity to set the bar that everyone needs to chase CUT?
TB: Ja, you know, you do have this mentality of say, if you perform choir number one, you know, there will be these choirs that come after you. They will listen to you first, no, competition is a competition. We believe that this is CUT, because we’re the first choir and they will listen, the score, all choirs that will follow, they will follow us.
BB: The pressure of going first?
TB: Ja, the pressure is there because we do have good choirs there that are coming after us, but I’m telling you, what I’m telling you, when you come to this stage, we’ll do wonders.
BB: How much does it mean to you as a conductor to lead a choir on a stage like this, at the Old Mutual National Choir Festival? This is the best of the best, all the choirs have got as equal chance as everyone else to win on the weekend, it must be a great feeling, it must make you very proud.
Proud to be representing the host province
TB: Very proud, yes, you might say that, but the pressure is there, the pressure that you get from the audience, the pressure that you get from the choir. The pressure you get from your audience, your friends, you know, your supports, it’s very much. But it’s a great feeling to stand in front of that choir and stand on that audience of NCF, NCF is a big station that any conductor can love to stand on it.
BB: And the opportunity to work with the orchestra that’s going to be performing, I mean they’re wonderful musicians.
TB: Yes, it’s wonders, the maestro, he’s very good, he’s very patient, he sees that each and every conductor gets his chance and he’ll work with him and will understand at the end of the day.
BB: Thabang, we’re looking forward to seeing CUT perform on that stage, best of luck with the final preparation, it’s not too long to go now. Please pass on our best to the choir and we’ll see you on that weekend in Mangaung, looking forward to it.
TB: Thank you sir, and thank you to the audience and I’m saying to the South Africans, I’m saying to the audience, I’m saying to the supporters of CUT, come 12th, come 13th, CUT will make the board.