The Border Mail
THE South African Soweto Gospel Choir got their first taste of Albury yesterday ahead of their sold-out performance last night.
To keep their energy levels up, the 26-member group shared pizza with locals at the woodfired oven in Hovell Tree Park.
The musicians said the hand-made pizza was similar to the pizza they ate at home in South Africa, the few months of the year they spent there.
The choir spends about nine months of the year travelling, spreading joy and faith across the world with their music.
Choir member Lungi Mhlongo said when he auditioned for the group in 2002, he never dreamed such huge success would follow.
The group has won two Grammy awards and is on its third Australian tour.
But as much as Mr Mhlongo loved his “celebrity” status, he missed being away from his family.
“I have a fiancee who I am marrying next year and two children — and my fiancee is carrying my third child,” he said.
“I miss them very much.”
The group enjoyed a variety of musical performances from Border and North East choirs at yesterday’s lunch, as part of the national Making Music Being Well week.
The 800 tickets available for the Soweto Choir’s Albury Convention and Performing Arts Centre show sold out more than a week in advance.
The choir was formed after Australian theatrical producer and concert promoter Andrew Kay visited South Africa about six years ago.
Mr Kay, impressed by the sounds that beckoned from churches in the country, worked with South African Beverley Bryer to create the group.
The choir members dance, play instruments and sing in at least six languages.
They have played with Bono and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Ticket proceeds from the choir’s performances go to their charity Nkosi’s Haven Vukani, which supports AIDS orphans in South Africa.