The two Varsity Sing semi-final legs have been as different as soprano and bass. While UJ and Tuks were clear favourites in Johannesburg, with CUT and Kovsies a level behind the class of the two Gauteng choirs; there is nothing between the four Cape Town semi-finalists heading into the final elimination episode.
Maties are the world champions and have been exceptionally consistent. Rhodes went from being Emo Adams’ dark horse to leaving the judges in awe of the sounds they manage to produce with so few members. Madibaz have delivered probably the most emotionally moving and powerful South African pieces in the competition. And UWC have grown in leaps and bounds in a matter of weeks under conductor Sibusiso Njeza.
Maties will open tonight’s episode with a beautiful, soft lullaby, Sleep My Child. Andre van der Merwe has been one of the best conductors in the competition and his leadership is bound to show through once again in the choir’s technically flawless performances.
They follow it up with a mighty Gospel-Medley, including Zulu and Sesotho sections. It will move from gentle, soft and slow sounds to upbeat, lively and jubilant. You’ll soon be tapping along at home, if not up off the couch, mirroring the moves of these stirring choir members.
Maties’ versatility is something to behold. A invaluable quality as they aim for the final four.
Rhodes take the stage next, performing Matona Mia Cara. Incredibly smooth and calming sounds will have you sinking back into the comfort of the sofa, soaking in the gentle Italian melody.
But don’t get too comfortable though, because in their second and final piece, Sangena, the smaller choir manages to inject an incredible energy to the stage. Rhodes comes to life, led by a lively lead soloist.
Madibaz had South Africa in tears last week, as their lead male soloist stepped forward and boomed out the words of the late Nelson Mandela across the auditorium and homes around South Africa. This week they too display their versatility, covering rock classic Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen.
Using their mouths for far more than just words, keep an ear out for everything from gusts of wind to crashing symbols.
UWC round up the semi-final with Kugiywa Kamnandi Eafrika. It’s fitting that the show ends off in what is described as a South African party by Francois van Coke. Their improvement is immense – and what a party these past four weeks have been!
You’d be brave to call this one. Tune in at 20:30 on kykNET (DSTV channel 144) and follow all the action on Varsity Sports’ Twitter handle to find out which two choirs will progress to the live 90-minute final on 13 October.