By Sam Banda Jnr:
A choir competition spearheaded by musician Ben Mankhamba, who is also Village Headman Chingalire in Lilongwe, and South Africa-based gospel musician Frank Chimpanzi offered people an early Christmas treat that saw 15 choirs battle it out in the final on Saturday.
The competition which started with preliminaries with 25 choirs participating before the number was trimmed to 15, attracted an impressive audience during the grand finale.
People braved the rains to patronise the debut competition that is aimed at improving standards of singing.
At the end of the competition, Madalitso CCAP Choir from Nsanama area in Chingalire came out top and walked away with the top prize of a keyboard.
Mankhamba, who has been in the music game for some time and has used his talent to develop Chingalire initiating different projects, said they were happy to have given people a good treat ahead of Christmas today.
“So many people came and enjoyed the performances despite having the rains for about 30 minutes. This is just the beginning but, next year, it will probably be bigger and will run in October to avoid the rains,” he said.
Chimpanzi, who came to the limelight with the song ‘Bwerani’, made sure to be present during the grand finale.
Apart from presenting a trophy to the winner, Chimpanzi performed one song with his backing singers.
Chimpanzi announced during the grand finale that the competition would be annual having been impressed with the performances and organisation.
“Ben Mankhamba has been doing a great job. I am so grateful for everything and congratulations to the winners,” he said.
Mankhamba, who was the master of ceremonies and performed Chimpanzi’s ‘Bwerani’ with Chingalire children, said they were looking forward to the best in the competition.
“I just want to thank Frank Chimpanzi for taking his time to support this competition. His support has come at the right time and the competition is there to promote arts and unearth talent,” he said.
During the competition, Chimpanzi also took time out to give K10,000 each to nine underprivileged but intelligent primary school learners in the area.
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