THOUSANDS of Eastern Cape residents descended on the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton at the weekend for the 10th anniversary of the OR Tambo Choral Festival.
The three-day festival included more than 1000 choristers who brought their best songs in the hopes of walking away as the winner of the coveted Champ of Champs category, which featured all the overall winner choirs in the last nine years.
On Friday, the Eastern Cape Choral Music Association gave the OR Tambo Memorial Lecture at the City Hall as part of their opening function.
Seven districts had multiple teams participating as finalists in the various categories, including the Alfred Nzo district, Amatole district, Cacadu district, Chris Hani district, Joe Gqabi district, Nelson Mandela Bay district and O R Tambo district.
Eastern Cape Choral Music Association deputy president Khanyile Roto said the build-up to the festival, which ended last night with the final, started in September when different choirs from the districts competed for a part in the finals.
"Then this weekend they competed in different categories including the standard competition on Saturday and the main event yesterday," he said.
Nelson Mandela Bay residents cheered, danced and rejoiced for their favourites as young and older choristers, including soloists, sang from the belly, hoping to make a lasting impression on the judges. By last night, the hall was almost packed to capacity.
Roto said all the choirs had to sing the songs that got them through to the finals. "They had to show why they were here by singing their winning songs, which were mostly African compositions."
The winners for the large category were: 1. Zwelitsha Adult Choir, 2. Siyapakama Adult Choir, 3. Coro Dipoporo.
The Champs of Champs winners were: 1. Matthews Singers, 2. Butterworth Service Choir, 3. Joy of Africa.