MASERU — Choirs aspiring to compete at this year’s African Melody Festival (AMF) will be subjected to a rigorous elimination process in a move that is likely to improve standards, the Weekender has learnt.
Over the last nine years, choirs simply registered with the Choral Music Federation of Lesotho (CMFL) to take part in the festival without having to undergo any qualification process.
The AMF is held annually every first week of December.
CMFL spokesperson, Sam Letima, told the Weekender the new requirement will mean only the best choirs will take part in the festival.
“Choirs will this year be competing in the standard and large categories as opposed to the gold, silver and bronze sections as was done in the past,” he said.
“There will also be a Champ of Champs category where past years’ gold section winners will battle it out for the number one spot.”
Letima said the shake-up is part of celebrations to mark the AMF’s 10th anniversary.
“The regional eliminations will take place between August 1 and the second week of October in the four regions of North, South, Maseru Centre and Southern Maseru with only positions one and two qualifying to compete at the finals in December.”
He said position one winners of the 2012 AMF silver and bronze categories will automatically qualify to compete in the large and standard categories respectively.
“Apart from trying to manage the number of choirs competing at the finals of the AMF, we experienced a large number of choirs pulling out at short notice because they failed to retain their choristers but with the eliminations, choirs will be kept on their toes until the finals.”
Letima said the music prescriptions for eliminations and the finals will be the same to ensure quality performances from choirs.
“We have about 42 choirs registered with CMFL and we expect the number to have increased by end of March in time for the eliminations but for the finals we are expecting approximately 18 choirs to compete in the large and standard categories,” he said.
Letima said CMFL will hold workshops on music development and choir management for conductors.
“The shake-up is going to help choirs produce and perform at a high quality level as well as enabling them to evaluate their performances,” he said.
He said the eliminations will also help CMFL to give a broader platform to their sponsors and help them raise extra money towards other activities for the tenth anniversary.
“We are going to collect gate-takings from the elimination competitions and organise more activities which will be announced in due time,” he said.