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Zengeza 2 High crowned music champs

Zengeza 2 High School choir Pic: LM Creative

ZENGEZA 2 High School choir from Chitungwiza has been crowned champions after coming tops in a choral music competition organised by the Zimbabwe College of Music (ZCM).

The choral music competition makes a return after a four-year sabbatical due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

It was pomp and fanfare over the weekend as both primary and high schools showcased their singing talents at the choral music fete sponsored by bottled water company ZLG in Harare.

Zengeza 2 High School came out tops after shrugging off fierce competition from five other choirs during a music festival held under the theme Fighting Drug Abuse Promoting Substance Use in Free Zimbabwe.

For its efforts, the winning choir received a trophy and US$500 prize money.

Rufaro High School from Masvingo province came second and received a trophy plus US$400, while Zengeza 1 High, which came third, took home a trophy and a US$300 cash prize.

Nyamatikiti High School (Mashonaland Central) came fourth, while Gifts Academy High School (Ruwa) and New Hope Academy (Chitungwiza) were adjudged fifth and sixth, respectively.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style on the sidelines of the festival, Zengeza 2 High choir director Paulgracia Mupariwa said the victory was a result of a continuation of the great works that were embarked on by the late former choir director Mandlayenkosi Gangarabwa.

Gangarabwa was Zengeza 2 High choir director from 2015 up until his time of death in May this year.

“We are happy to have won this competition in memory of the previous choir director (Gangarabwa), who passed on May 13, may his soul continue to rest in peace. After his death, the choir was left with a huge void which I committed to try to fill since he (Gangarabwa) was my friend. I am happy to have won it for him,” Mupariwa said.

“The victory came because of a carryover of the great works Gangarabwa has been doing with the choir. He has been the pillar of this choir as he was able to motivate these children, mould and teach them to understand music all in an effort for them to appreciate that there is much that can come out of them from the extra-curricular activities.”

Mupariwa said there was need to support choral music from the grassroot level noting that the genre was not being treasured in the community.

“Choral music is a genre which is not being much appreciated in schools as the general biases are towards churches. This choral music festival for schools is a stepping stone that helps to expose the talents we have in schools that seriously need to be supported and nurtured to bring out the musicians that can fit in all other genres,” he noted.

“The majority of these children who participated in this festival have a musical ear, but they might fail to fit into the music world because there is no one to support them or to give inspiration to take their careers further.”

The festival’s head adjudicator Thulani Zwana said schools that participated proved to have an understanding of the choral music genre.

“As the adjudicators, we were looking mainly at the correct interpretation of the song. A song has its dynamics, performance direction, what is supposed to be done like where there was need to lower or increase volume. Those were the basics that we were firstly looking for to say have the choirs managed to do this,” Zwana explained.

“Also, we were looking at the interpretation of the song, the mood of the song to say were the choirs able to produce the mood. For instance, if we look at the set piece, the introduction that was talking about fighting drugs, it’s a war, we wanted to hear that heavy sound that people are talking of the war.

“Then, there was a section with tranquillo that needed to be calm and soft, we wanted to hear that this mood expression has come out.

“For Zengeza 2 High, they managed to showcase those performance directions and all the required dynamics and they also tried to showcase the other hidden art that was within the music.”

ZCM executive director Rachel Jera-Chigwanda told NewsDay Life & Style that before the sabbatical, the festival had become a permanent springboard for developing talent.

“The choral music festival has continued to develop talent from grassroots and uniting high school choirs as well as providing an interaction platform,” she said.

“As a way of promoting choral music in the country, the first day of the festival featured primary schools, while the second day was for high schools, with the churches choral festival set for July 8.”

Jera-Chigwanda said ZCM was committed to hosting the choral music festival in line with the college’s vision.

“The festival is a platform for interaction through choral music. The main drive of the choral music festival is for choristers to share ideas as well as learn from each other so as to improve their skills,” she said.

“As we make a return from the COVID-19 pandemic, we promise better improved editions appreciating that choral music is now the main medium for transmitting messages that uplift and enlighten the main soul, while giving better placements for psychomotor abilities, immune boosting, wellness and entrepreneurial activities.”

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