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Gaabo Motho Tenors

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This group of 4 young tenors sounds most promising, it was a pleasure to hear them sing with such passion for music, and to discover why they choose for a carrier in opera. The group members are:

Mmusi Morekhure
Phenye Modiane
Tebogo Makgwe
Thabiso Masemene
Meet the charming young talented quarto of the Northern suburbs, The Gaabo-Motho Tenors. They are Phenye Modiane, Tebogo Makgwe, Thabiso Masemene and Mmusi Morekhure. These four opera stars formed in January, and under guidance of their coach and accompanist Engli le Roux, are taking the opera world by storm. They are a big hit at concerts, parties, corporate events and weddings where they sing a wide repertoire from different opera arias to traditional music.

They all study at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)'s Opera School. They also perform regularly at Casta Diva in Ninapark, and were recently seen on Morning Live and aired on many radio interviews. It was a big honor for them to open with the national anthem at an international cricket match recently.

Phenye, Thabiso, and Mmusi got together one night before a major talent show at the Unisa Music Foundation hosted to find the best talent in Pretoria. They decided to name themselves the Du Toit Tenors. The name sprouted from their teacher Pierre du Toit, who is a lecturer at TUT's Opera school. They only had one night to practice and sang Parla Mi D'Amore Mariu and won the competition.

At the beginning of last year they decided to recruit another member, Tebogo, because the 'Three Tenors theme' was over done and they wanted a new concept.

They love Pretoria for its international visitor attractions such as the Union Buildings and the State Theatre, its many parks, sport grounds and its residents for supporting them.  Although they admit being opera students is hard work, they don't look back at all. The future of opera is growing as more awareness, especially in townships, are created but they would still like to see more opera houses, opera schools, performances and shows before they can fully say, 'opera is on track'.

Phenye Modiane

Phenye was in Grade 12 where he participated in his school choir. His teacher Miss JC Motshwane spotted his talent during one of his solo performances and urged him to 'go for music'. After matriculating at Modiri High in Garankuwa he joined the Opera School at TUT. 'I love Opera and all about it. I love the music. I love the drama of it. It's not just music' he tries to explain his passion.  'My family first wanted me to study law. I told them music was my passion and I had to do something I love so that I could make a success of it. If I didn't do something I love I wouldn't give it my all,' he says.

Phenye has many idols, and admires any opera singer who has talent and a nice voice, such as Pavarotti.  When he kicks off his opera shoes, he likes to spend time with friends, drink red wine and listen to the jazz artists like Jonas Gwangwa. According to him a good opera student grows with his voice, have passion and go for it fully. It's important to have a good support system and friends who understand the necessity of rehearsals and wouldn't try to keep you from it.'

Tebogo Makgwe

Tebogo's talent was spotted in the year 2000 by his teacher Wilhelm Theunison at the Musicon private music school in Bloemfontein. 'Mr Theunison inspired me to take music to the next level and I came to Pretoria in 2003 to audition for the TUT's Opera School and was fortunate enough to get in. He studies under Eric Muller.

'I love opera for its style and all the kinds of vibrations. It is a different genre of music and I love to learn all the foreign languages from French, Italian, German, English and Afrikaans.'

His family supported his decision to pursue a career in opera, they advised him to go to school first and be sure of what you want to do because 'There are many careers out there to pursue so one must make sure they choose something that they are good in.'He is thankful to the owners of Casta Diva, Charles and Alejandro, for their support to up and coming singers, who help them by providing a platform for them to perform and thus keeping opera alive in the city.  When he's in the mood to relax he'll put on some good South African House music from DJ's Cleo and Sbu and enjoys whisky, Peroni or Heineken.

Thabiso Masemene

Thabiso performed Tradito Schernito as a soloist in his school choir in Masisebenze Comprehensive School in Thembisa, when he almost brought his matrix educator to tears. 'I was told I had to pursue a career in Opera and I went to the Opera School in 2004.' But financial strains hindered his career and he joined the Black Tie Ensemble in 2005 and 2006 to gain financial support and to further pursue his opera studies. 'The Black Tie Ensemble was a nice experience and it made me fall more in love with the music.' But thanks to a generous sponsorship he will be able go back to the Opera school in 2007.

'Opera's style is very different and more difficult than other styles. One must learn how to sing with the right technique, which is something that doesn't happen over night. It's tough career, you need to give it everything you have, as sometimes you rehearse for 12 hours a day. At the end of the day the audience is the most important and you must please them.'

His mother, Selina Ramotshidisi, is his idol. 'Where I am today- is because of my mother who assisted me in making the correct decision, I love her for what she has done for me.'

Mmusi Morekhure

Mmusi's talent was spotted in 2002 whilst attending matric at Setlalentoa High School in Ga'Rankuwa. 'But I always had a passion to perform from when I was young. My father sang in a choir and I admired and imitated him as he sang. I realized I can do it too. In matric I joined the Garankuwa Youth Choir and in the choir I became a soloist, our conductor told me to pursue a career in music, especially opera.'

To sum up what opera means to him is difficult. 'Eish, I can't say,' he says while trying to explain his passion. 'It is an extraordinary, sophisticated art. It is all about technique and one must have talent and then reinforce it. It can take anything between three to ten years to perfect it.'

'There is time for pleasure but it's a busy career and one should know how to manage their time well'. He has been inspired by a number of people for different reasons, in the opera industry it is Placido Domingo. 'He is one of the most disciplined opera stars'. He is a great roll model, unlike other stars, who love to give performances both on and off stage' he says jokingly. And then there is my father, Job Morekhure. He raised me well. He's a good guy.'

WHAT DOES Gaabo-Motho mean? It means "Home" or "Where one belongs", it illustrates that the tenors are not only in their comfort zone, in the classical music industry, but also at home far away from home.