Watch out – the Swazi’s are coming to take the crown
16 November 2015
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Brad Brown: You’re listening to Old Mutual Live and joining us now is one of the conductors who will be performing live during the finals in Mangaung in December, Thando Zwane. Thando, welcome onto the podcast, thanks for joining us.
Thando Zwane: Thanks, it’s my pleasure.
BB: Thando, your choir is from Swaziland, they were joking at the conductors briefing that it’s the 10th province of South Africa. You studied at TUT, before we get into the choir, tell me a little bit about yourself, how did you get involved in choral music?
Making that dream a relality
TZ: I started, okay, first of all let me just greet the listeners at home. Firstly, I started singing at age seven, that was 1999, in a primary school choir, I was just a boy soprano, regular singer. Then at around 2010 when I was doing my matric I decided, you know what, let me just go and study music outside the country because in Swaziland we didn’t have any music institutes.
So I decided to go and study at TUT, under the mentorship of Thami Zungu who is one of the adjudicators at the NCF. From there, it was both singing and conducting until we actually made a deal with St. Florence Catholic Church Choir in Swaziland, that I can come and assist and conduct in the choir. So that’s how I actually became a conductor in my country.
BB: You obviously come from a musical background, you love singing, what do you prefer, the conducting or the singing?
TZ: Some people will tell you that you can’t have both, but unfortunately for me I love both, so if it’s singing, I just make sure that I excel in the singing, if it’s conducting, I make sure I excel also.
BB: Tell me a little bit about your choir that’s performing at the finals.
St. Florence Catholic Church Choir’s challenge
TZ: Florence Catholic Church Choir was formed in 1987 under the baton of Joseph Dlamini so conducting the choir, he’s a high school teacher and also a preacher in the Roman Catholic Church. They qualified and then they were just, I think two years ago, 2013, they also made it for the national competition of which they got portion four in the African piece, not so well in the Western piece, but ja.
BB: As far as this competition goes, the Old Mutual National Choir Festival, the standard every year just gets higher and higher, you must be pretty proud to be able to perform with that choir on the stage.
TZ: I am very proud, very proud, because it’s one of the oldest choirs in my country, so just raising the country’s flag is part of our job this year.
BB: Looking at the competition, who you’re up against, it’s not going to be easy is it?
TZ: Not at all, it’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be tough, very tough. But I think one should approach the competition in a healthy manner, I think it can actually reap us good results.
BB: Looking at the running order on the weekend of the finals, are you happy with where you guys have been drawn to perform?
TZ: I’m 100% happy, toss number two on, oh, toss number four on Saturday in the African piece and then number two on Sunday. I love Sunday, especially because the first, toss number one will be doing the first song Ndorno and then they’ll be introducing their own song and then also on my side, because I’ll be doing the waltz chorus, I’m also happy to be actually the first person to premier it at the final stage.
Festival will be a celebrations of music
BB: That’s fantastic. What are you looking forward to most, the weekend of the finals? I mean it’s a great weekend, it’s a weekend away for everyone. But it’s winding down the year, it’s almost Christmas, but it’s just a great celebration of wonderful musical talent.
TZ: What I’m hoping for is that at least let us be in the top three overall, obviously and then just also get to know other conductors, other singers and whatever. Because that’s what NCF strives to do also, besides the music, let’s also socialise and get to know each other. Basically, but then the first priority is actually going to compete and make sure that we get a prize for our country.
BB: For you, on a personal level, what do you still want to achieve in your career as a singer, not necessarily as a conductor?
TZ: As a singer, I’m just hoping next year to go to France, Italy to further my studies, hopefully it’s going to work out.
BB: Thando, thank you so much for joining us on Old Mutual Live.
TZ: My pleasure.
BB: We look forward to seeing you perform in Mangaung in December and best of luck for those aspirations, I hope they all come through.
TZ: Definitely, I hope so too, thank you.