Gaborone Youth Singers (GYS) have redefined the local choral music landscape by staging a highly enriched classical performance which showcased the choir’s abundant home grown talent.
Founded in 1997, GYS have risen through the ranks to become a leading international choral choir with membership in Botswana and three provinces in South Africa, an indication that a Botswana brand has the ability to attract the best in the industry.
Constituted by young people between 18-35 years, the choir last weekend dished an unprecedented choral repertoire with local soloists proving that they are ready to conquer the international stage.
The renditions ranged from Gloria, a popular Mass piece composed by Antonio Vivaldi to the challenging Qual cor Tradisti by Vincenzo Bellini with the soprano part being performed by the spectacular South African Nombuso Ndladla, while the tenor was ably delivered by Mafika Gaborone and the baritone line handled by Ogopotse Koofetlhile.
The pinnacle of the show came when GYS rendered a very challenging excerpt from Ernani composed by Guiseppe Verdi back in 1844. The Ernani composition has grown to arguably become Verdi’s biggest success transitioning him from an Italian composer to a player in the global scheme of grand compositions.
On the day, GYS sampled a sequence of three writings; Esultiamo, Siridesti leon di castilia and O sommo Carlo featuring an awesome line-up of Ogone Pilane on the soprano lead, Boyce Batlang and Mafika Gaborone alternating the responsibility on tenor while Thuto Mosalagae commanded the ensemble with his polished robust baritone.
If anyone had doubt on the abundance of choral talent in Botswana, the Ernani was actually the rendition to dispel such myths and demonstrate that Botswana singers are capable of competing among the world’s best.
Scores of choral music enthusiasts that had flooded the Maitisong Auditorium confessed to having got value for their money. GYS are presently the reigning champions of the Old Mutual National Choir Festival in the North West region (Botswana and South Africa) for the second consecutive year, a feat that has never been achieved by any other local choir.
In his welcome remarks, GYS alumni Rebaone Tswiio noted that throughout the 21-year lifespan they have changed conductors seven times, translating into an average of three years per conductor.
“We are also proud to say all our conductors except only one, graduated from within the choir which demonstrates our commitment to produce a complete package with an ability to handle all sorts of challenges within the choral music fraternity from singing, music directing to administration of a non-profit making society such as GYS,” he said.
The alumni database of GYS presently stands at over 200 former members who are active within the choral music fraternity and still maintaining a close association with the choir.
Presently GYS remain one of the most decorated choral choirs in terms of silverware having been champions on various occasions in the President’s Day choral competitions, Botswana Choral Music Association Competitions, and Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) competitions.
The creative industry has been identified as a key vehicle towards diversifying the economy and if other choirs could emulate the path that GYS has taken, it is no doubt that results could be realised sooner than later.