How we can keep choristers singing in the North West
24 June 2015
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Old Mutual Live, I’m Aphiwe Mohono. Today I speak to North West University chorister, Kehilwe Manyate. Kehilwe, you might find this weird, but I actually recently just spoke to a chorister from the North West who tells me that he feels that there isn’t enough funding for choirs in the North West. What is your take on this?
KM: I can add on that. Due to Old Mutual competitions that we have, we really need to be funded because some of the times we are busy with our studies. So there’s only during the holidays where we can at least focus on the music. The problem is that when the conductor or the committee goes to the management, to plead for some funds so that they can fund us due to the camp that we’ll be holding on campus. You’ll hear stories that no, that okay, the school doesn’t have money and all that. But we do need, so we are the university choir, we’re not an outside choir or a community choir, so we are expected to be funded. It really has been a very big challenge to some of our choristers. I also hear from other choristers that some of them just decided to stop singing for the choir because they have struggled so much.
Funds are sorely lacking for Varsity choirs
You can just imagine that you’re here for the camp, but then you’re just having breakfast. Then you don’t have lunch, you’re not supplied with lunch. So how are you supposed to sing and how are you supposed to have energy through the music process.
AN: I understand that, it’s actually quite worrying. How long has this been going on for?
KM: I started university last year, so when I joined the choir, cause I was singing for Voices of the Nation but then as I came to North West University, I joined this choir. So I think it’s been happening for years. Some members who have been here for more than three years, they have been having the same problem.
AN: Well, let’s not dwell too much on the negative. It seems like it’s only happening in the North West and we are going to look into that and possibly try to find funding for the North West. Hopefully, with these podcasts that we’re uploading on the Old Mutual site. But Kehilwe, just tell us how you got into the choral industry, what made you fall in love with choral music?
Junior choirs are so important for the industry
KM: It started when I was in primary school. You will hear that there are rehearsals for the choir, so I just went there and then that’s how I started joining the choir. I started joining the choir, I think I was in Grade 5, then it all started there. I just found out that I really have talent and it’s something that I can do, it’s something that makes me happy.
AN: That has been a long time from when you were in primary to a now second year North West University student. What have been the highlights of your choral career thus far?
KM: One thing I know is that choral music is not something that is really considered by most people, but one thing that I love about it, it’s just a unique music. It’s really nice to listen to choral music because I’ve been in the experience of; like it’s also giving some of the young generation who are growing up, like us, also as a youth, opportunities not to be involved in negative things that you can do outside. But rather it can give you discipline, that’s what I want to say.
A passion for singing never dies
AN: You’ve taken a break from that because you want to focus on your studies, but do you think you will eventually get back into choral music and when?
KM: I’ve been very heavy with my studies this year in which I decided the choir, just to take a break. It’s not that I’m no longer going to sing or something, but then I think next year I will also be starting to go on with singing.
AN: All right, thank you so much for your time Kehilwe and thank you so much for joining us and all the best with your studies and we will talk to you, you’re obviously going to attend the National Choir Festival this year?
KM: Actually I am going to attend, but I’m not going to sing.
AN: Okay, I’ll probably see you there.