Home NEWS Sisi Julie’s persistence finally pays off    – Catholic Church News

Sisi Julie’s persistence finally pays off    – Catholic Church News

Sisi Julie’s persistence finally pays off    – Catholic Church News


By Fr. Peter Chimombe & Br. Alfonce Kugwa

Mildred Julia Dirwai was crowned the best choir conductor in the St. Cecilia Catholic Choir competition recently held at Gokomere Mission in Masvingo.

Congratulations to Kwekwe Deanery for scooping the coveted ZICASAM first prize. I have always maintained that Kwekwe Deanery choir is not only the champion of Church music in Zimbabwe, but Africa as a whole. It could have won the first prize already in the last competitions in Hwange where their set piece “Nhasi denga razarurwa” epitomized classical heavenly crescendo of musical repertoire. 

I have followed Kwekwe Deanery’s musical escapades for the last 15 years and Julia Dirwai’s crafty skills in choir conducting seem to improve with age like wine. She started conducting that choir as a teenage girl, way back before she had her current big frame. Her persistence has finally paid off, after years of lingering in the national top 10, the first prize has been eluding her until this year.

Most of her peers have since retired and are now mentoring the young and upcoming choir conductors. I have in mind the likes of Mlambo, Gusha, Clabber, Jiri and Mahoya among others. I want to say to Sisi Jullie, ‘this is your moment to shine.’ Enjoy it to the fullest. You have given us an early Christmas present and made all of us who hail from Kwekwe proud. Your persistence and never say die spirit, has finally paid off. Hats off to Kwekwe Deanery, the aristocrats of Catholic Church music.

Giving up is not an option

Winning the St. Cecilia musical show was an early birthday present for Mildred Julia Dirwai who was born on 4 December 1986. Speaking to Dirwai who was also crowned the best choir conductor, she said she could not still believe that they have become a household name, scooping the first position in the tightly contested musical extravaganza, after having been trailing in the fourth position in the past four years in Chinhoyi, Harare, Gweru and Gokwe. Dirwai attributed the choir’s success to her resilient and committed choristers who dedicated their time, effort and resources to securing the championship.

Julie is a talented musician and choir conductor.

“I am overwhelmed with joy and it took me time to accept that the trophy finally came home. I am very happy for the choir. They are a committed team who dedicated their time and resources for our success story. Some provided us with transport, food and financial resources all for the love of music,” said Dirwai.

Dirwai shared that giving up is not an option and believes that persistence pays.

She said: “We have been scooping the fourth position in the past four years and we never quitted.”

Julie, as she is well known, commented that she owes her determination to her choir members who always encouraged her never to throw the towel. She confirmed that the choristers have shown great confidence in her and equipped her with renewed vigour and inspiration.

However, Julie said she was saddened by the abuse of alcohol at the occasion of St. Cecilia which she emphasised distorts the meaning of worshiping through music. She highlighted that many people were taking advantage of the event to imbibe alcohol and to engage in all sorts of illicit behaviour which she said gives a wrong picture to children and the youth. She encouraged catholic choir members to go back to the original way of celebrating St. Cecilia day. Julie also called on the Church leadership to address this menace which she said creates a bad reputation not only for choristers but for the entire Church.

Mildred Julia Dirwai (left) with her mother and sister Muriel Mwanamombe.

The veteran Catholic musician and choir conductor proposed the categorization of choirs where those upcoming and those from rural areas can compete on their own so that they are not overshadowed by the magnitude of urban choirs.

Speaking about time management, Dirwai applauded the time keepers for not spending much time sharpening the axe which saw the day’s curtains drawing before sunset.



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