A blog by Wandisile Sebezo
EXCITEMENT has been running high since news landed that local Plettenberg Bay opera singer Mike Bhayibhile has been awarded a prestigious scholarship to the Berlin Opera Academy.
Over a strong black coffee at my house in Kwano, the singer couldn’t hide his delight as he sat down to tell me all about it.
Significantly, his recorded concerts for this year’s virtual Plett Arts Festival played a pivotal role, having served as vocal audition in Berlin.
Mike, 40, was born in Mdantsane, East London. His family moved to Plett in 1998 in search of greener pastures. He completed his school career at Murray High, and by this time the young Mike was already hooked on classical music. He did anything in his power to learn more about various genres.
He enrolled for a Bachelor of Music at Fort Hare University and has been working as a choral coach in many Eastern Cape high schools.
Other feathers in Mike’s cap include his contribution to the OR Tambo Choral Festival and to various tertiary institutes, and in 2017 his choir collaborated with five-time Grammy Award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Fort Hare.
Plett Tourism organised its first-ever virtual Arts Festival this year and Mike was part of the line-up. An intense rehearsal period during lockdown led to the performance of two concerts alongside Dr. Lisa Engelbrecht, principal vocal coach at the Opera School of the University of Cape Town.
The recitals, live-streamed from St Peter’s Church in Plett, featured Dr Engelbrecht as soprano and pianist, and Mike’s superb baritone. The festival, themed ‘La Vida Local’, ran from June 19 to July 2 and afforded home-grown artists the
chance to shine.
It’s at festivals like these that artists such as Mike gets noticed, and the next thing you know… bam, man goes to Berlin!
We are all super excited for Mike, but to make this golden opportunity a reality, he needs more funds. The double scholarship awarded to him only partially covers tuition and accommodation, and he’s now tasked with raising funds for a tuition deposit, visa applications, and travel expenses.
If you can contribute, go to www.backabuddy.co.za/mike bhayibhile or contact Mike directly on 067 760 4486.
You go, Mike – take that Plett Feeling to the world!