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2013 Old Mutual National Choir Festival

Universtiy of Western Cape choir emerged victorious at the 2013 Old Mutual National Choir Festival as tributes to Nelson Mandela lifted the standard.

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) Creative Arts Choir were crowned the best large choir in South Africa, beating off fierce competition from 10 other choirs and pocketed R50 000 to claim top honours at the 2013 Old Mutual National Choir Festival finals held this evening at Durban’s International Convention Centre (ICC Durban).

UWC’s win comes against the background of a festival and competition that became a dignified and rousing tribute to Nelson Mandela.

The spirit of Mandela prevailed over the ICC Durban, stirring choristers to up the standard to unprecedented heights

“The standard was impressive – it keeps getting better every year. While the music was very challenging the choirs coped quite well,” said the competition’s head adjudicator, Sikelela Msibi.

Second place went to Gauteng’s Voices of the Nation, who walked away with R45 000 while North West University Serenaders clinched third place position and R40 000.

In the Standard Category, Serumula Performing Arts Academy from Lesotho came up tops and pocketed R37 000. Second place went to Sweet Sounds from Swaziland who received a cheque of R32 000 with Zwelitsha Adult Choir from the Eastern Cape in third receiving R27 000.

Old Mutual sponsorship manager Bandile Mngoma added: “We congratulate all the winners. The ultimate winners though are the public who are inspired, healed and moved by the music. Nelson Mandela’s words express it poignantly when he said, ‘…it is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world, and at peace with myself.’”

“We trust that the initiative enables positive futures and we look forward to an even better festival in 2014,” concluded Mngoma.

The Mngoma Award, which recognises and honours individuals who have contributed significantly to choral music, locally and/or internationally, was awarded to Mzwandile Matthews for his sterling work in uplifting South African choral music. Previous winners include soprano star Pretty Yende and radio man Thozamile Nyakatya.

The Old Mutual National Choir Festival finals featured 22 choirs from all over Southern Africa, 11 each in the Standard and Large Categories. Gauteng Choristers, title owners of the Champ of Champs in this competition, was a guest choir.

Follow @OldMutualSA and #OMNCF on Twitter for all the highlights and join the Old Mutual National Choir Festival group on Facebook for an in-depth look at the festival, including videos and images.

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