Cue in: “In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song…” and before he even reaches the chorus, judge Marvin Hanke raises his voice “It’s a ‘Yes’ from me. Lad, you have made it!”
Even when told to go without his guitar with which he had cued in the moment he got onto stage, the star in the making could not depart from the lines of his song. He seemed well-versed in harmonic connections.
Little wonder, within three minutes, the trio of judges that included songstress Rudo Mkukupa-Chakwera and producer Dumisani Mfune had reached a consensus. Easy!
That was how 19-year-old Alipo Mpita from Lilongwe’s Area 25 got his ticket; just armed with his guitar, confidence and voice!
Such was the drama and glamour, the beauty and enthusiasm in music that was on display on Sunday at Sunbird Lilongwe during auditions for this year’s Sunbird Search for a Star.
Of course, husky and hoarse voices were there coupled with nervousness in front of the judges plus some embellishments here and there during performances. Some were just naïve. Nevertheless, these failed to steal the beauty that lies in singing.
And Mpita, just like the other seven who have made it from the Capital City’s auditions out of the 83 who turned up for the auditions, could not believe his luck. No one would easily have on the day. There was just too much quality to pick from. Such was the intensity of the competition.
But there were some others, too, that would have easily made the ‘bloopers of the moment’ shortlist. And television viewers should expect to witness it all from the first week of August; according to Felix Njawala, founder and director of the show.
Added Njawala: “It’s true that this year the competition is very intense. Actually, most of those who have not made it today would have easily been picked were it in the previous contests.”
Apart from Mpita, 18-year-olds Tafwakonse Jenda and Chiko Saword; Tumbikani Masi, 21; Favour Mlowoka,23; Job Yanga, 19; Stan Zizwa Mpheko, 22 all qualified for this year’s competition with 32-year-old Tawonga Kamanga as the oldest from the group.
The Lilongwe Hotel auditions only added to assertions confirming that the show is growing popular by the day. As if that is not enough, if others thought talent was confined to the urban youths alone; they have to think again as Yanga became the first to qualify into the competition from Dowa.
This year has also seen an increase in the turn-up at the auditions. So far, with only Sunbird Livingstonia Beach and Sunbird Mount Soche to host the auditions later this month, a total of 273 hopefuls have turned up for auditions held across Sunbird Tourism facilities across the country.
Mzuzu were the biggest jumpers from 24 to 102 participants this year with Zomba having 21 from 16 contestants while Mangochi produced 67 from wannabees last year and Lilongwe having 83 from 48 hopefuls.
However, the judges described the Mzuzu event as a disappointment after only three performers were selected from the group.
Speaking on behalf of the judges soon after the auditions on Friday, Chakwera said the team were expecting good results from the Northern Region taking into consideration the numbers that came for the auditions.
A 30-year-old carpenter Charles Muyira and 28-year-old banker Arthur Chirwa emerged winners in the men’s category while Chisomo Kumwenda, 19, holds Mzuzu’s dream for ladies.