Success on the cards

THEY'VE got soaring voices and one local businesswoman has just given The Song Birds a licence to fly.

Debbie O'Connor, owner and creative director at White River Designs in Penrith, returned last week from a three-week visit to her home town in South Africa where she met the talented musical act which her company recently sponsored.

As part of the Designs for Africa project, White River Designs will produce a new logo for the choir, design and print their business cards and develop the group's website.

"It was really sweet," Mrs O'Connor said of the choir's reaction upon learning of the sponsorship.

"They couldn't believe that someone would be interested in supporting them, let alone a company from another country.

"These are kids who have hardly even left their own region or province let alone been anywhere outside the country so for them it was amazing."

Mrs O'Connor said the choir's overwhelming gratitude "made my heart go out to them even more".

"One guy was quite funny, he walked past a few people and said don't speak to me, speak to my card — he just thought it was fantastic he had a card to hand out," she said.

Living in the township of Kabekweni, which neighbours Mrs O'Connor's home town of White River in Mpumalanga, the singers performed in the grounds of their school.

Originally called the Singing Waiters, the group had to change its name as members of the public thought they were hiring waiters who would serve tables and break into song.

With music a "really important" part of the South African culture, it is Mrs O'Connor's hope that her company's sponsorship of the Song Birds will give them the courage and self-belief to turn their passion into a career.

"If everything works well, they could tour within their country and possibly internationally," she said.

"For them, that's not even an idea they have yet — just to get jobs at weddings or corporate functions would be enough.

"For us, our main aim is just get them up on the internet so if people are Googling, at least they do come up.

"At the moment no one knows how to find them, they're hidden secrets in Mpumalanga."

■ Watch the Song Birds perform: search Song Birds in South Africa on YouTube.

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