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SA Singers from KZN take top honours at the 2015 Old Mutual National Choir Festival


To thunderous applause from 4 000 choral music enthusiasts, KwaZulu-Natal’s SA Singers clinched the coveted title of the best choir at the 38th Old Mutual National Choir Festival this past weekend.

More than 22 of Southern Africa’s top choirs focused on lifting the beauty of song to new heights as they competed for top honours in the Festival, held this year at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein.

As the deserving winner of the large category, the SA Singers received R100 000 and the winner’s trophy. Western Cape’s Simon Estes Alumni was crowned the National Champion in the standard category, collecting the trophy and winning prize money of R74 000.

“Old Mutual has proudly supported this beautiful cultural event for the past 28 years and it’s been thrilling to watch it grow into the spectacular showcase of choral art that it is today,” said Karen Thomas, Head of Brand at Old Mutual.

“Choral music has a huge following in Southern Africa and we are excited to be a part of something that is so inspiring and touches so many people’s lives in such a positive way,” added Thomas.

Conductor of SA Singers Vumile Nomanyena said: “We are over the moon, completely overwhelmed. We never expected it because we were competing against the best choirs in the field.”

Nomanyena credited their success to hard work, commitment and determination.The KZN choir performed Addio mia patria/De profundis …1 Vespri Siciliani in the Western section and Umthetho in the African section to claim the prestigious title.

For the first time in the competition’s history, the digital radio platform Old Mutual Live broadcast live from the event. Choral music lovers were able to tune into the station and follow their favourite choir online.

“Old Mutual Live has been a hit at the endurance sports events we support, so we’re very happy that we could introduce it to the choral music fraternity too,” said Thomas.

Pretty Yende, one of the world’s most renowned opera singers and a former performer on the National Choir stage, posted on Facebook and praised the opportunity to listen to the competition from Geneva, Switzerland. Other choral music enthusiasts tuned in from Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Botswana, Kenya, Germany, Sweden, China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

During the course of the year, more than 300 choirs from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland took part in this competition. It started with the district elimination in March, followed by regional championships, and culminated with the national finals.

Kopano Chorus and Gauteng Choristers from Gauteng came second and third in the large category, winning R90 000 and R80 000 respectively. Second in the standard category and winning R64 000 was Prince Mshiyeni Choir from KwaZulu-Natal, with Chitungwiza Harmony Singers from Zimbabwe placed third and taking home R54 000.

The choral festival enthralled music lovers from start to finish, with additional entertainment provided by flamboyant choreographer Somizi Mhlongo and guest performances by the Johannesburg Music Initiative Orchestra.

OLD MUTUAL NATIONAL CHOIR FESTIVAL RESULTS – 2015 FINALS (TOP THREE)

LARGE CATEGORY 

OVERALL

NO CHOIR MARKS
1 SA Singers 90.80%
2 Kopano Chorus 90.50%
3 Gauteng Choristers 87.90%

 

CHOICE PIECE

NO CHOIR MARKS
1 His Majesty Correctional Services 88%
2 North West University Serenaders 86%
3 Zwelitsha Adult Choir 79%

 

AFRICAN PIECE

NO CHOIR MARKS
1 Kopano Chorus 93.20%
2 SA Singers 88.20%
3 The Matthews Singers 86.60%

 

WESTERN PIECE

NO CHOIR MARKS
1 SA Singers 93.40%
2 Voices of the Nation 92.20%
3 Gauteng Choristers 89.80%

 

STANDARD CATEGORY

 

OVERALL

NO CHOIR MARKS
1 Simon Estes Alumni 86.20%
2 Prince Mshiyeni Choir 82.90%
3 Chitungwiza Harmony 82.80%

 

CHOICE PIECE

NO CHOIR MARKS
1 Simon Estes Alumni 84.60%
2 Prince Mshiyeni Choir 84.40%
3 African Serenade Project 80.20%

 

AFRICAN PIECE

NO CHOIR MARKS
1 Simon Estes Alumni 86.20%
2 Chitungwiza Harmony Singers 83.60%
3 Prince Mshiyeni Choir 83.00%

 

WESTERN PIECE

NO CHOIR MARKS
1 Simon Estes Alumni 86.20%
2 Prince Mshiyeni Choir 82.80%
3 Bel Canto Singers 82.80%