Their songs may carry a heavy message but it's a feeling of hope the Soweto Gospel Choir will be spreading on their upcoming visit.
(min cost $8)
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The Soweto Gospel Choir will be at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre on September 27, singing songs of protest and freedom.
Bongani Ncube - who describes the choir as a family away from family - said the tour was a way for him to do what he loved the most, being on stage.
He also sees it as a way to "uplift the next person" and spread good news through song.
The tour is called HOPE and it's one of the most important things Mr Ncube wants people to take away from the show.
"I think it's important for people to consistently look for hope in everything, which is really what we're bringing here with our show. We've had a very terrible season for about two and a half years when we were restricted from moving. That translated into poverty for a lot of people and losing their jobs but we are saying there is hope," he said.
"Something better is coming, we just have to embrace it."
Mr Ncube said COVID taught us that we should "live our best lives now" and while it was important to plan for the future, we should also live in the present.
He joined the choir in 2008.
"I took a chance. I said, 'I'm going to try this, I know I'm going to meet people who are 10 times better than me but I'm going to take them on"," Mr Ncube said.
He started off as an instrumentalist, but now does acoustics and electric bass, drums, singing and is part of management.
HOPE opens with a program of South African Freedom songs, including one of Mr Ncube's favourites Verwoerd - although he said almost every song is his favourite, some are just more tiring than others.
The song is about former South African Prime Minster Hendrik Verwoerd, who stripped black South Africans of their civil rights.
"During the struggle for our freedom it was a song sung by our parents. But I love the energy in it, the chant and the rhythm in it, even more than the message. I love the energy the song has and how easy it is to convey a very harsh message with a smile," Mr Ncube said.
HOPE also includes songs from the United States, and protest music from the Civil Rights Movement.
The three-time Grammy-winning choir is spending four months in Australian for the national tour.
Mr Ncube said the Soweto Gospel Choir has always been well-received here.
"Elderly people are more reserved but I tell you, they don't want us to move offstage no matter how quiet they may be. And then you go to other places where it's a young audience , they will start clapping from the first song to the last, and still they don't want to leave," he said.
Tickets for HOPE at the DRTCC can be purchased online or by calling the box office on 6801 4378.
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