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Girls’ choir to fly Kenya’s flag high at fete in Canada

STANDARD ENTERTAINMENT
By George Orido | June 28th 2012

By George Orido

Kenya’s choral music is rising fast. It is taking on the international scene and this time, State House Girls’ School will represent the country at the competitive biennial International Choral Kathuamixw to be held in Vancouver Canada next week.

Last Sunday, the choir staged an enchanting farewell concert attended by parents, friends and choral groups at the school.

Pleasing

Their song, African Woman, is not only pleasing to the ear, but it is also so well choreographed that one wants to listen to it again and again.

Led by soloists Cindy Beyene, Sarah Nyanchera and Faith Orwa, the girls have one irresistible power — their vocal pitch and harmony is a cut above many a group.

In this song, composed and arranged by the choir conductor Isaac Kavehere, the African woman’s attributes are unravelled through a call and response rendition.

“Who is she? An African woman empowered and ready to defend her role,” goes part of the lyrics.

Dressed in beautiful red tops with emblazoned savannah and Kenya’s wildlife attractions, the girls sparingly use the Uteo as an ideal prop to depict the hard work of the African woman.

So, they sing: She is an African Woman determined to give her best.

Hall ablaze

The State House Girls choir first sang this song during the African Women Delegate Conference held in Kenya in 2010 after they were given the honour to compose the theme song for the conference.

As they finished their performance then, the hall was ablaze with ululations and cheers.

Delegates then demanded a recorded version. Kavehere and his team rushed to the studios and made record sales in a day.

The song today enjoys substantial airplay in various radio stations.

Many of the 22 girls going to Canada will be travelling out of the country for the very first time and are all excited about the trip.

“We will give it our best and we are going for nothing but gold,” says a jovial Joylindse Nyika, one of the soloists.

Her colleague Ann Njuguna says this is going to be a great learning experience.

“We will use this opportunity to show the world the very best of our country and learn from other competing teams,” says Njuguna.

Besides African Woman, the group will also sing Come to the Green Meadow, a Taita piece Mwachuki Mwanyambo, King of Kings and The Way.

The school choir has excelled in the last decade at the Kenya National Music festivals, scooping top positions in the set pieces, African-American music category as well as African compositions and arrangements.

Only african group

While in Canada, the Kenyan choir will compete against Alaska Children’s Choir, Puerto Rico’s Ascendit Chamber Choir, Birralee Blokes of Australia and Venezuelan Choir, among others. The group is the only one from Africa.

The school’s head Mrs Joan Muoti is upbeat that her students will do well in Canada.

The International Choral Kathaumixw is a five-day choral festival filled with concerts, common song presentation, choral and vocal solo competitions, conductor’s seminars and social events.

The word Kathaumixw is from Salish language meaning ‘a gathering of different peoples’.

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