150 children from across Bulawayo took part in tonight’s Christmas concert at the Zimbabwe Academy of Music. The programme, repeated tomorrow, features carols, works written and performed by Academy students, and the African premiere of Gavin Bryar’s seminal 1971 minimalist work ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’.
The children taking part are drawn from a dozen schools, Masiyephambili Junior, Masiyephambili College, Mtshede, Mzilikazi and Helemu Primary schools, Ntabeni , Petra High, Christian Brothers’ College, Coghlan, Dominican Convent High, Girls’ College and King George VI, a mix of fee paying and primarily Government funded schools, located in the city centre and Western Suburbs.
The concert was supported by BZAM – The British Friends of the Zimbabwe Academy of Music, and is part of our mission to a) ensure the survival of the Academy, b) make the Academy the centre of music and culture in Bulawayo, and c) help it reach out to the broadest range of children and young people in the city.
The children prepared for the concerts under the direction of Vusi Ndbele, an inspirational young Zimbabwean teacher in charge of outreach at the Academy, whose salary is partly funded by BZAM. Jeanne-Louise Moolman, violist in the South African Odeion Quartet, coached and led the orchestra, and has also managed to give lessons to aspiring Academy violinists. Her expenses and work permit were funded by BZAM. And BZAM Trustee Richard Sisson led the project, his costs covered by the British Council Zimbabwe, who have become a major partner in ZAM/BZAM’s exciting new initiative, ‘The Bulawayo School’s Music Project’ (BSMP).
BSMP will be officially launched at tomorrow’s concert at the Academy, in the presence of Senator David Coltart, Minister for Education and Arts in the Zimbabwe Government, and HE Deborah Bronnert CMG, the British Ambassador. BSMP will be the driving force behind an annual major music project (500 children took part in the first project, ‘The Song of the Carnivores’ at Bulawayo City Hall in May), a weekly Saturday school at the Academy for up to 100 children, and bursary provision for talented children who show the commitment required to take up the study of an instrument.
The British Council have agreed to support BSMP with an annual grant of £20,000 for the next two years, however BZAM must raise the remainder of the £35,000 a year running costs. So far, BZAM has proven that we can deliver high quality, valuable musical education for young people for a relatively small outlay. These projects also ensure the viability and survival of the Academy, keeping the building alive and full of students.
To learn more about BZAM, donate, or help in our exciting project, please email us at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.