The choir of the Fabulous Woodstock Starlites was only days away from its first competition of the Carnival season, when my camera and I stopped by their rented rehearsal hall, in late last December. The energy and passion in the room were almost overwhelming. So was the beauty of the members’ voices and the urgency of the Ghoema beat, the unique rhythm of the Cape Town Carnival.
The rehearsals are fun, but they’re also hard work. Being a member of any Carnival choir requires dedication and the willingness to rehearse well into the night, after a long day on the job or in school.
For the Starlites and for the other choirs, as well, the pay-off comes during the competitions in football (soccer) stadiums, when they compete against dozens of others before thousands of spectators, hoping to impress the judges. Below, the Starlites compete in Vygieskraal Stadium, in Athlone, a neighborhood in Cape Town, on January 10th, 2009.