Young Bloemfontein choir ready for festival finals
09 November 2015
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This is Old Mutual Live, welcome to it and I’m Brad Brown and with me is Edward Shago. Edward, welcome, it’s good to have you here with us today, thanks for popping in. Let’s talk about the Old Mutual National Choir Festival, the finals are not long to go now, are preparations for you and your choir on track?
Edward Shago: Ja, the preparation is on track, given the fact of the pressure, because of the choir, people that I am conducting that are school kids, therefore they’re writing exams, but the choir is on track.
Excitement of first time participation
BB: Are they excited?
ES: They are excited and the mood is high, given the fact that it will be for the first time for them to compete at that level.
BB: Tell us a little bit about the choir, how long has it been going?
ES: The choir, it’s almost been a year, that consists of students, therefore it’s a challenge given the fact of all of them, they’re not from around Bloemfontein, from other districts. Therefore we struggle, given the fact that money-wise and other stuff, but we are progressing.
BB: You must be pretty proud, for a choir that’s that young to be able to get to this level so soon it must excite you?
ES: Ja, I’m excited, given the fact it was a challenge, given the face of organising people. Organising people is very tough, therefore it requires a lot of things, commitment and other stuff, but now we are here now and we are waiting for the moment of the competition.
BB: Tell me a little bit about your journey into choral music, where did your love for choral music come from?
Edward’s journey into music
ES: I have almost 15 years in choral music. I started music, I have grade four in music and therefore I was conducting previous years, therefore I was conducting other school, I’m a teacher at school. I’m a teacher, then I conduct at my school and I conduct a church choir and it has been a journey. Then my father was a conductor also, therefore it’s inherited from my family.
BB: Did you grow up in a house where there was always music playing?
ES: Exactly, my father was a conductor and my mom was a singer, even though she didn’t like music, but given the fact my father was a conductor, he would always tell her that she must go and sing.
BB: And you were destined to follow in those footsteps.
ES: Exactly, hence I’m saying it was inherited from my family, therefore I’m here as a conductor, continuing on from my father.
BB: I love that. Tell me about the Old Mutual National Choir Festival, it’s been around for a long time, 38 years, it’s an incredible competition and as far as choral music goes, this is where you want to be. It’s a wonderful competition, isn’t it?
Choir Festival is a milestone for conductors
ES: Old Mutual, it has been there even before I was born, even when I remember when it was called Caltex by that time and it has been there and I’ve been following it, my father was a conductor, it’s a very nice competition to attend.
BB: Looking at the draw, there’s always lots of banter around the draw, are you satisfied with where you are performing?
ES: What I can tell you about the draw, it’s going to be fireworks and it’s very frightening, given the fact of, my choir is a new choir in this industry and will be competing with very big choirs, but we’re going to enjoy the music. Hence a great author said that if music be the food of love, Shakespeare said, if music be the food of love, play on.
BB: I love it and being in front of the crowds with this orchestra, how much pressure does that put on you as a conductor?
ES: It’s not the pressure as such, but it’s a very good experience. It’s for the first time standing in front of the orchestra, then I’m enjoying it.
BB: Who do you think are going to be the biggest challenges for the title in 2015?
ES: What I can tell you, there won’t be any challenge, the music will always be a winner.
BB: I think that’s a perfect note to leave it on, I love that, the music will be the winner. We look forward to seeing you on that stage in Mangaung, thank you so much for your time Edward, best of luck with the final preparations.
ES: Thanks, we are still working hard and we’ll rock the world.
BB: We’re looking forward to it.