Instruments For Africa Completes Another Successful Trip To Zambia
In October 2015 Instruments For Africa returned to Zambia, completing our third shipment of musical instruments and accessories to the country.
139 instruments, dozens of books and boxes of reeds and strings were divided among eight schools and community groups in three cities across the country. In Lusaka we revisited Parklands Secondary School, Twitti School and Lusaka Secondary School to augment their instrument collections while Be In The Band Zambia also had their instrument collection boosted with help from BITBZ sponsor RBC Bluesfest. Click the video below to see some footage from one of their recent rehearsals.
Two institutions in Lusaka received donations from IFA for the first time. IFA left a small but significant donation with Evelyn Hone College so future music educators can graduate with practical experience on good quality string, brass and woodwind instruments. Another new donee is the Ngoma Dolce Music Academy, a private institution that offers full-time employment to a growing staff of music teachers while offering the widest range of instrumental instruction in the country.
The most successful music program we've sposored in Zambia to date is in Livingstone at Zambezi Primary School. Despite suffering devastating hardships including partial paralysis and the recent passing of his wife, music teacher Shaft Sikwa continues to do excellent work with his growing music department. He and his students were ecstatic to add another fifteen instruments to their music room, a donation that included a long-awaited 'cello, finally filling out the school's string quartet.
The most rewarding moment of the trip occurred during our first donation in Western Province, at St. John's Secondary School in the capital city of Mongu. When the school was founded fifty years ago a brass band was established, and to this day St. John's Secondary School boasts the only brass band in the entire province. The band proudly wears matching uniforms, practises daily, and is often called on to perform at community functions.
After a half-century of constant use the instruments the band possesses are in the worst shape imaginable, held together with nothing but tape, string, and hope. In Canada these instruments would be discarded at first glance, in Mongu they represent the only opportunity to provide music at Independence Day ceremonies and Christmas concerts.
While the students were overjoyed with each instrument that emerged it was the box of clarinet and saxophone reeds that IFA received through sponsorship from The D'Addario Foundation that got the biggest cheer. And why would the students get so excited about a few hundred reeds? With two clarinets in the schools collection, the band had been sharing just two reeds for several years. For the first time in living memory each musician can now have his or her own reed.
Thank-you to everyone who donated instruments and accessories and to those that made financial donations, continuing thanks to RBC Bluesfest for further sponsoring BITBZ, thanks to the Ernest E. Guertin Foundation for their generous support, and thanks especially to Musicare who does so much repair and assessment work for us.
Finally IFA would like to extend a big thanks to our newest sponsor, The D'Addario Foundation. One of our biggest expenses has been related to the acquisition of new reeds and strings and The D'Addario Foundation has helped immensely with a very generous product donation.
More Reeds Sent to Zambia Courtesy Of The D'Addario Foundation
When we visited the St. John's Secondary School in Mongu, Zambia last October we found the school very much in need of reeds; the concert band had been sharing the school's only two clarinet reeds for years! We left two boxes of Rico reeds with the school and upon our return to Canada we shipped an entire crate of Rico reeds to Mongu with help from The D'Addario Foundation.
Today we received an email from the school:
"I write to confirm and acknowledge receipt of the Clarinet and Saxophone reeds sent to St. John's Secondary School.
The Music Section is so excited about this donation. It will for sure go a long way. Mr Lyambela the Deputy Head teacher of our School has also acknowledged your donation. On behalf of the School, he is so grateful.
I also wish to inform you most of the pupils who sat for Music junior examinations have made it back to St. John's and have continued to learn Music at Senior Level. Because of your donation, we have now formed an Orchestra Group which is rehearsing three times in Week in the afternoons from 4pm to 5:30pm. I believe that by the time you will visit us once again, you should be entertained by our Orchestra Group, Brass Band and some cool stage band music.
Thanks once again to you and the entire Instruments for Africa team for your donation. Extend our gratitude to The D'Addario Foundation for the support they render to your organization."