Male choir aims to put Bay talent on the global map

Lynne Gadd-Claxton

MABUDLA Street in Zwide, Port Elizabeth, is often filled with the majestic voices of the Viola Men’s Chorus as they prepare for an international choral festival later this year.

The choir, established 22 years ago, will give its first international performance when it travels to the United Kingdom to take part in the Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival in May.

The Viola Men’s Chorus musical director, Makhaya Msizi, said the festival, the largest of its kind in Europe with over 60 male choirs participating, would give the Port Elizabeth-based choir an opportunity to “compete at an international level”.

Msizi said: “This festival creates a huge opportunity for choirs from across the world to meet each other. We take it as a great opportunity to showcase our unique style of singing and our culture.”

The choir, established to keep young men and boys off the streets, is fundraising to send the 35 men to the festival. The choir’s managing director, Patrick Jaji, said: “We are just waiting for possible sponsors to respond to our proposals. We have lined up a few performances in the coming weeks leading up to our departure which could bring in further funds.”

Msizi, a founding member of the choir

in 1991, added that he believed in his choristers.

“This is our World Cup and Olympics. We want an opportunity to represent South Africa in a worldwide competition.”

As the only male choral group in the Eastern Cape the Viola Men’s Chorus believe it brings hope to the youth of Port Elizabeth.

The choir has won numerous awards, and with its first international competition only a few weeks away, the choir has faith it will place Viola Men’s Chorus on the global map.

Viola Men’s Chorus will be performing at the Opera House before its departure on April 28. They are also available to perform at churches, schools and any institution seeking entertainment. Contact Msizi on 073-231-2890 or Jaji on 073-718-3830.

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