Feb 19, 2009
The Soweto Gospel Choir is on its way to Hollywood to become the first South African group to perform at the Oscars.
The singers left for Los Angeles last night. But because of the US economic crisis, the organisers of the Academy Awards could pay for only nine of the choir’s 26 members to travel to the ceremony, which is being held on Sunday.
The choir’s executive producer and director, Beverly Bryer, said that, despite this, the choir was honoured to have been invited to sing at the prestigious event.
“Being invited to perform at the Academy Awards is an unbelievable accolade,” said Bryer.
“The choir has achieved so much since the start of their musical journey seven years ago, but being on stage and singing before a worldwide audience at the most prestigious of all awards ceremonies is an honour they will always treasure.”
The choir — which has won two Grammy awards — will sing Down to Earth, the theme song for the film, Wall-e.
Down to Earth has been nominated in the b est song category.
Wall-e is an animated film about a robot who falls in love.
Bryer, who will travel with the group, said they were forced to choose the choir’s “nine leading voices”.
They will rub shoulders on the red carpet with A-list film stars like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Sean Penn and Kate Winslet, who have also been nominated for Oscars.
Since its formation in 2002, the choir has collaborated with top musicians such as Peter Gabriel, Bono, Robert Plant, Vusi Mahlasela, Johnny Clegg, Danny K, Diana Ross, Josh Groban and Celine Dion. But the choir’s biggest project yet will be lighting up the stage at Los Angeles’s Kodak Theatre this weekend.