Back in history | Battle of the voices

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At left is Walesi Soqowasa, of Vunidakua Church choir, Cunningham Rd, Suva. At right is Tevita Ledua, of the Naqarani choir, from Noco, in Rewa. Picture: KRISHNA MANI/FT

On August 6, 1993, The Fiji Times reported that this “was the typical sight yesterday” when the choir masters took to the rostrum as the annual Methodists Choir competition entered its second day. Groups came from all over the country.

“The choir competition is being run with the national fundraising drive, mainly by donation. By Wednesday the competition had collected $13,000.

“The money, which will be used to pay for church expenses, is being collected in a soli (donation).

“There are 250 choir groups in the competition which ends tomorrow.”

The newspaper quoted a spokesman as saying the amount of money being collected would be announced daily.

“A plate is moved around in the church and outside the church among the choir members and they contribute. After they sing, the money collected is announced,” the spokesman said, adding the competition was getting bigger and better every year.

“We are getting good response and a lot of people are coming to listen.

“The participating choir teams are well.” The report said the categories included solo performers, duets, trio, quartet, polotu (traditional hymns sung in a tune unique to Lau and Tonga), all-female and all-male choirs, full church choirs, business houses, Sunday school, youth and school choirs.

“It is held ahead of the Methodist Church conference which begins in Bua from Sunday. The conference proper, Bose ko Viti, is being hosted by Bua Province, where church president the Rev Manasa Lasaro is from. “Choirs from Vanua Levu and some from Viti Levu have elected to take part in a separate competition at the conference venue.”