Twenty-four groups from across the country will be vying for $1M in prizes in the finals of the inaugural National Song Festival set for Sunday at the National Cultural Centre.
According to a press release, the contest aims to revive choral music as a pastime in schools, religious organizations, clubs and community groups. The festival starts at 3pm. Entry is free of charge. Coordinator/Music Development Officer Andrew Tyndall said the final audition was held on January 6 in Georgetown, Linden and New Amsterdam.
Public Relations Officer Russell Lancaster said he was astonished to see young teen groups and others in their early 20s performing so intensely. “The competition was designed to provide the opportunity for singing groups across Guyana to compete in two categories. The small-groups category will have between three and 10 persons while the choirs will range from 15 to 30 members,” he said.
According to Tyndall the groups are required to sing any national song and a song of their choice. Although he declined to reveal the judges panel, he gave assurances that it will comprise qualified individuals who have been working in the development of music. The panel will be judging the group performances as well as their costumes, postures, compositions, diction and presentation. At the close of the competition a workshop will be established in all regions to support and enhance choral music.
Tyndall also said that the National School of Music is offering training in string instruments and other areas and it is currently vetting applicants. Interviews will start at 1pm tomorrow at the school.
The National Song Festival is an initiative by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Music Teachers Association, the Ministry of Local Govern-ment, NCN and other stakeholders.