Our music room is neither large nor grand. It is tucked into the corner of the secondary school here, an austere and neglected building on the top of the hill, its only saving grace being an amazing view of the sweep of the Keiskamma valley, river and Indian Ocean beyond. The other classrooms are empty broken shells; cracked windows, damaged excuses for desks and chairs, floors which are cratered and scarred. But our room is a little refuge; bright noticeboards, a clutter of music stands, marimbas waiting to be brought to life from under their grey protective covers.
Well now our room is just a little more crowded – but in the nicest possible way! A kind sponsor donated a piano to the Music Academy, which had to be transported all the way from Cape Town. And that is why, a couple of weeks ago during our regular Saturday workshop, a solid little van struggled up the hill towards school to the children's excited cries of, 'the piano is here!'
So yes, the piano was here, but accompanied only by the driver, who had no trolley or tools and then quietly requested that we summon six men to help him unload it! 6 men!! Jen and I looked mournfully at each other. Even with all our combined Canadian and British charm working flat out, it was going to be difficult to raise six sturdy males to assist early on a Saturday morning!
In the end we settled for two, and so the resourceful young Jon Liam, and Thabang our Trust Director, managed with a mixture of science and strength to prise it out of its wooden carton and manoeuvre it into place. As the children watched, suddenly hushed and curious, Jen carefully opened the lid of our new treasure and fingered a few notes. It had survived, and sounded remarkably sweet and tuneful after its long journey.
Now the first boy to start keyboard, Mkhululi, has graduated on to the piano, and many more are eager to learn. The beautiful sounds of Jen and Lisa playing in between their lessons further inspires our musical crew.
We extend a huge thank you to our donor, Anneke Viljoen,who parted with something very special in order to give these young people a richer musical experience. Thank you too to Peter Whelan, who organised and paid for the piano's road trip! And of course thank you to all our KMA friends and donors who help in so many ways to give the gift of Music.
Brenda Fishwick February '12