Zambia May 2014: Wrapup
Instruments For Africa founder Todd Snelgrove had a very successful and productive trip to Zambia last May, returning with several success stories and buoyed by the opportunity for future successes. With less than three weeks on the ground the schedule was tight; there was a new project to launch, endless meetings to attend, and nearly a dozen schools that received instruments from IFA last year to follow up on.
Perhaps the most significant event of the trip was introducing the RBC Bluesfest Be In The Band program to Zambia at Lusaka's Kabwata Cultural Village.
The launch of this great program coincided with the celebration of the UN-sponsored World Day For Cultural Diversity, and as the crowds mingled past food and craft stalls amid ceaseless drumming and dancing a small crowd of delegates including the Minister of Arts and Tourism gathered in a small thatched hut for the official opening of Be In The Band – Zambia.
As the officialdom moved on the local kids moved in and before long the area was awash in the thunderous sound of children plugging in instruments for the first time. It's clear that the RBC Bluesfest Be In The Band program is going to be hit here at the Kabwata Cultural Village as teachers James 'Chamanyazi' Ngoma and Zenzo Simbao had already signed up eight students by day's end.
Traveling through Lusaka and beyond to Monze, Kalomo, and Livingstone offered the opportunity to visit with many of the schools who were recipients of instruments during the first wave of the Instruments For Africa project in October, 2013. While there was a notable range of success each school without question was found to be enjoying significantly increased musical activity.
Most schools were successfully on the road to organizing and implementing standardized music programs. At each stop the children were gathered to show off their varying new musical skills, each child with one eye earnestly scrutinising their sheet music while the other eye tried to stay focused on their hand-waving music teacher/conductor. Where teachers were found to be struggling Todd took ample time to steer them in the right direction, sometimes organizing outside tutors for both educators and students and other times partnering more experienced teachers with those with less confidence.
The remaining time was filled with meetings with educators, government officials, college and university deans, musicians, sponsors, bandleaders, and an invitation to the home of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's first president and an earnest supporter of the Instruments For Africa project.
Instruments For Africa is aiming to have another major shipment of instruments arrive in the area in early 2015, and the success of this recent trip points to even greater successes for IFA going forward.
Buy tickets now to Instruments For Africa night - Fri. July 18th 8pm @ The Classic Theatre Festival in Perth, On
Come out for a Neil Simon classic and support IFA at the same time! A portion of each ticket sold though OFC for the Friday, July 18th performance of Come Blow Your Horn at The Classic Theatre Festival in Perth, Ontario goes directly to Instruments For Africa. Tickets can be purchased in person at Ottawa Folklore Centre, 1111 Bank Street. Tickets are $35.50 each, including all fees.