Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Keiskamma Music Academy Newsletter - July 2011

Dear friends of the Keiskamma Music Academy

Thank you so very much to our friends who raised a total of R60 000 and made the tour to Cape Town and Stellenbosch possible.

Our tour was a lovely success. The children were specially congratulated on their “open and focused demeanour and on their professionalism on stage”. We performed a total of six times.

Setting up for every concert is an undertaking. Siphelo is responsible for this marimba and Sibongiseni is helping him here while Yolisa watches on.

Apart from our concerts, we did two school concerts and workshops introducing our work “Aquarium” to St Cyprian's in Cape Town and Weber Gedenk Laerskool outside Stellenbosch.

Lihle Mtshonisi, our 15 year old senior leader, wrote:

“As a leader of a rural Music Group, it was such a thing to be able to lead a workshop at a school with children that are more used to the city life. The part I enjoyed the most was when the kids and us stood in a circle and shared what music meant to each one of us. And how music has changed our lives. I enjoyed seeing them so excited about performing and learning the 'Aquarium'. It was very nice that they learnt the piece so quickly.”

Our last concert of the tour gave our twelve most advanced students the opportunity to play a movement from a concerto with Camerata Tinta Barocca. We thank them for their generosity of spirit, their encouragement, patience and the ample rehearsal time we had with them. We presented four complete baroque concerti - a few of the students had to learn new movements with only two months’ notice, Lihle being one of them. Goodness, we worked hard on the concerti upon arrival in Cape Town!

Keiskamma Music Academy here together with Camerata Tinta Barocca following our final concert where the 12 most senior students played as soloists with them.

Lihle again: “First orchestral rehearsal, I felt like running away, I was scared, I thought everything would be a mess, but because I had faith in myself, everything went perfectly. Tinta Barocca was very kind to us.

The night of the big concert with Tinta Barocca, I felt very proud of myself and everyone from Music Academy that played a concerto, how confident we were in front of the audience, our faces and bodies showing the excitement and joy inside our hearts. So the audience enjoyed the music we were playing even more.”

Thanks to HWB Communications we appeared live on the Expresso breakfast show on SABC3. We had to be at the studios at 4h30 in the morning to set up and do a balance. The children were awake, responsive, professional…. Adrenalin pumping…

Both our calabashes were broken when a stand accidently fell over during a rehearsal in Cape Town. But our lemon soon became lemonade when we met Dizu Plaatjes, renowned traditional instrumentalist, who repaired our bows for us, and from whom we were able to purchase another calabash.

Lihle: “Our appearance on Expresso, sharing our music with the entire South Africa,was amazing. And everyone from the Music Academy was very grateful to everyone who made that possible. It was one of the most exciting things of the tour as well.”

We performed at the unveiling of the online auction of the Keiskamma Altar Piece at Oude Libertas. Lihle introduced the programme in such a confident manner. The Ensemble played Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, arranged by Daniel Hutchinson and the Music Academy.

Lihle: “One of the most enjoyable things we did during the tour was going to Robben Island and to the Aquarium.”

Visit to Robben Island

Visit to the Aquarium

On our return to Hamburg, we had a week-long exam preparation workshop with Olivera Nikolic, Elizabeth Winkelman and Kgotatso Kekana. This year we have 47 UNISA exam entries which will be taken during August and October. Several students have jumped grades this year thanks to input from Olivera and our team of instrumental teachers in Grahamstown. They are: Stephen Holder (flute and recorder), Priscilla Glover (recorder), Caitlin Schulze (recorder), Jared Lang (recorder), Jenny Brand (clarinet), Hilary Paterson (oboe), and Daniel Hutchinson (piano accompaniment).

We have an exciting time ahead:
Jen Hoyer, a Canadian recorder expert, is arriving in Hamburg on the 7th of August to visit and teach the students.
Brenda Fishwick, from the UK, is coming to visit us in October.
We will be having our annual Christmas concerts in Hamburg and surrounds around the 18th of December. More details later in the year.

Viva la musica

Helen Vosloo