Changing young lives
Frank Katoola shares insights, sparks ideas and builds
relationships during UK visit
When Frank Katoola, founder of the Tender Talents Magnet School in Kampala, Uganda, visited the UK in May, it proved to be an excellent opportunity for him to spread the word about the value of Musequality’s work at his own school and among disadvantaged children generally.
At a reception held at the St Michael’s Church Hall in Chiswick, London, for example, Frank delivered an inspiring speech about the work of his school, which places the performing arts at the centre of the curriculum. He shared his vision of partnerships between schools like his and supporters that transcend the ‘giver-receiver’ relationship and become something of lasting benefit to both sides. (St Michael’s generously provided the hall for the evening at no charge.)
One of the ideas underpinning Musequality’s work is the well-supported belief that participation in music promotes young people’s academic development. Frank’s visit coincided with the welcome news that the first group of children to take part in the Musequality project at Tender Talents all the way through their secondary education have achieved straight As in their final exams. As a result, the school, which receives no direct government funding, has shot up the Ugandan league tables to 250th out of over 5,000 schools.
Building links between schoolsFrank devoted a large part of his UK trip to visiting schools and cementing relationships.
One highlight was the sealing of a ground-breaking partnership between Henrietta Barnett School in north London and Tender Talents School, brokered by Musequality. The partnership aims to provide bursaries for four Tender Talents pupils over five years, support an annual project (this year to build a library), and enable staff and student exchanges between the two schools.
In 2010 Jane Ingamells, head of strings at Portsmouth Grammar Junior School, set up the strings project at the Tender Talents School. Frank was delighted to meet up with her once again when he and David Juritz dropped in on the school’s Music Week. Frank was guest of honour at an assembly held at Portsmouth Cathedral, where the pupils gave a wonderful performance of music of practically every genre. Afterwards, Frank held the children spellbound with a story about the two friends, Snake and Toad, not to mention an energetic dance session that nearly blew the roof off.
Musequality trustee Clare Delmar took Frank to meet Father Robert Kaggwa, the Catholic chaplain ofRoehampton University, who comes from Kampala and is keen to establish links with Musequality. Robert invited several PhD music education students, including a representative of the Colombian Department of Culture in Bogota, and also the head of music of the Sacred Heart Primary School in Roehampton. Several pupils of the school came along to hear Frank talk about music in Africa, and the school is considering donating unused instruments to Musequality.
Frank also visited Latymer Upper School in west London, and took an assembly at the West London Free School set up by journalist Toby Young.
Creative networkingFrank and Clare Delmar met with Katrina Duncan, head of learning at Serious, producer of the London Jazz Festival and outreach programmes such as this year’s River of Music for the Cultural Olympiad. Also at the meeting was Alexander L’Estrange, composer of Zimbe! – a choral piece of African songs for soprano, alto, tenor and bass and massed children’s choirs. They discussed a possible future project around Zimbe! that would link Musequality projects and schools in the UK, possibly linked into the London Jazz Festival.
The sound of musicFrank enjoyed a number of musical events during his stay. Silver Screen Show Band and Singers performed two shows on the theme ‘A Night at the Movies’, compered by Musequality trustee Clare Delmar, to raise money for The Good Shepherd Home in Kampala. Frank told the audience of the hugely positive impact Musequality’s music projects have on the lives of the children in the city.
He also attended a performance of Tosca by Kensington Symphony Orchestra at St John’s, Smith Square, London, where he renewed an old friendship with KSO’s musical director, Russell Keable. Russell will be going out to Kampala for the second time in September this year to continue his ground-breaking work with the Kampala Symphony Orchestra.
ABRSM grant for Tender TalentsThe Tender Talents Magnet School in Uganda has received a £2,000 grant from ABRSM to fund its special music programme for disadvantaged girls and boys this year. Tender Talents is one of the first projects to receive this grant, which is a new incentive introduced by ABRSM for overseas music projects.
Many of the students in the programme have achieved excellent grades in their academic studies, partly due to the skills, concentration and self-esteem developed through studying music. Welcoming the news of the grant, Tender Talents director Frank Katoola said: ‘The entire school environment has changed for the better due to this project. There is no doubt there is a direct link to good academic achievement, and the children who get involved learn so much about self-worth.’
Donation to fund music library for Kampala projectsMusequality’s Kampala projects are to benefit from a much-needed music library thanks to a donation from members of Finchampstead Baptist Church near Wokingham.
Access to printed music is vital for musical development and performance, but up to now there has not been enough to go round. Gaynor Popplestone, a trumpeter in the Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band, Jim Gallagher and fellow members of the church have donated £500 from their Short Term Mission Fund to provide ‘a lasting benefit for generations of children to come’. The first purchase is likely to be a set of brass band hymn books for practice, sight-reading, warm-up and working on tone.
Marc Edwards of BWCB Youth Brass will liaise with Godfrey Mboira, the bandmaster and senior teacher at the M-Lisada project in Kampala, to agree on the right stock for the new library.
Musequality quartet entertains BSI AGMMusequality was invited by the BSI Group, which is generously providing us with office space, to entertain guests after its AGM in May. A string quartet led by Musequality’s administrator, Isobel King, with trustee Jean Buck and two former students of the Royal College of Music, Tanisha Brown and Daniel Benn, played a selection of classics and popular song arrangements while guests enjoyed drinks, canapés and conversation at the BSI Group HQ in Chiswick.
Child’s Play video up for a radio ‘Oscar’Child’s Play, the moving radio documentary about Musequality written and produced by Michael O’Kane for RTE, is a finalist at this year’s New York Festivals’ awards for the world’s best radio programmes. The winners will be announced in June.
Child’s Play was one of the featured programmes at the International Feature Conference (IFC), held in May at BBC Broadcasting House in London. The IFC is a prestigious forum for radio documentary, and provided an excellent opportunity to bring the Musequality story to radio journalists from around the world. To listen to the programme, click here
World Busk 2012
The World Busk 2012 took place from Monday 11 to Sunday 17 June. The world’s streets resounded to the sound of music as musicians everywhere turn out to entertain the local crowds and raise money for Musequality.
Early starters included the Dulwich College in Seoul who raised money with a busking bandstand at their school. Child's Play (India Foundation) busked in Goa, India, an underwater busk at Latymer Upper School and 14 hours of jazz and classical music at South Kensington Tube Station in the UK. More information
Olympianist begins his epic journeyConcert pianist Anthony Hewitt is training hard for his forthcoming Olympian journey, riding with Twickenham cycling club every week. Between 9 and 29 May, he will cycle 1,200 miles with piano ‘in tow’, giving recitals across Britain to raise funds for Musequality and other music and children’s charities.
Dates arranged so far include a clifftop performance in Portland, a recital in the Market Square at Newbury Spring Festival, and a concert on the shores of Lake Windermere. If you would like to make a donation, please Click here.
BA enables project leaders to visit UKBosco Segawa (leader of M-Lisada) and Frank Katoola (founder of the Tender Talents Magnet School) are due to visit the UK in May, thanks to the generous donation by British Airways of return flight tickets from Uganda. Trustee Jim Trott, a BA pilot in his spare time, helped to arrange this gift, which will enable the project leaders to meet with supporters such as Henrietta Barnett School and Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band. They will be able to strengthen links, seek out new sponsors, and hopefully make some great music with us.
Mummy Foundation receives essential fundingMusequality has assisted a project for young women and children in Kampala, Uganda, by providing funding for an essential toilet block. The Mummy Foundation, set up by M-Lisada project leader Bosco Segawa, urgently needed the facilities to ensure it met local health and safety hygiene standards. Eleanor Holloway, a member of the Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band, has also made a generous donation to the Mummy Foundation and is now working with Bosco to help supply many more of the project’s needs – from building repairs to music teaching.
Kampala projects unite to celebrate EasterChildren from M-Lisada, Tender Talents Magnet School and the Good Shepherd Home in Kampala gathered at the M-Lisada home to celebrate Easter with a performance of carols, acrobatics and dance. Local people participated in a ‘community cleaning’ activity, and children from the surrounding area were invited to enjoy special ‘Easter moments’. The event helped to raise funds for George, an 11-year-old boy who is physically disabled and cannot walk, stand or speak. The money will go towards constructing a small one-room house for George and his family, who previously survived by begging in the streets.
Sabin finds a way to join the band
Sabin lives at the Good Shepherd Home in Kampala where the Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band and Musequality support a brass and choral music project. Sabin was desperate to join in, but was born with very short arms and no hands, so finding him something to play was a challenge.
Airline pilot and harmonica player Daren Slack heard about Sabin and bought him a B flat harmonica and harmonica neck holder. Daren also made a personalised instruction video to get Sabin started, and Sabin is now practising hard to join the band.
Lunchtime recital at BSIDavid Juritz and accordionist Milos Milivojevic recently performed during lunchtime at the staff restaurant of the BSI Group, which is kindly hosting our office in Chiswick. This was the first Musequality event at BSI, and it seemed to be well received, with a number of BSI people lingering over their lunch to enjoy the performance. BSI group chief executive Howard Kerr came down to listen and talked with the trustees about ways to strengthen the relationship with Musequality.
Report from Uganda
Executive director Jeremy Bradshaw and trustee Jean Buck visited our projects in Uganda in December to find out how the children involved in our music schemes are progressing. They received a warm welcome and were able to see and hear for themselves how well the various bands and choirs are performing.
Jeremy and Jean visited the Tender Talents Magnet School, M-Lisada and The Good Shepherd Home in Kampala, and made the trip to Mbale to see Fredrick Kyewalyanga and the Elgon Youth Brass Band. They also spent time with many of Musequality’s friends and partners, particularly Simon Yiga, director of Kampala Music School.
Highlights included special concerts by the children of Tender Talents, Good Shepherd Home and EYBB, and a visit to the inspirational Mummy Foundation, a project that helps girls and women in the Kampala slums. Jeremy and Jean discussed various management issues with the projects and acquired much useful information in preparation for the 2012 grant award process. More pictures and details
Tadeo receives his prosthetic limbs
Tadeo, a young quadruple amputee from the Good Shepherd Home, has received prosthetic limbs to help him realise his dream of becoming a trombonist.
In November, Tadeo attended the hospital in Mbale, Uganda, where the International Committee of the Red Cross fitted him with new legs and a prosthetic arm. Tadeo was supported throughout by members of the Elgon Youth Brass Band. After a few teething problems with his new limbs, he is working hard to get used to them.
Tadeo has been befriended by Joan Mahalanobis, an expatriate who works with the Rotary Club of Uganda. She has secured funding for Tadeo to go to a private school that will better suit his needs. Tadeo’s supporters in the UK, Little Brian’s Little Big Band, have agreed to fund weekly trombone lessons for Tadeo, and he will be a regular weekend visitor to M-Lisada where he can play in the brass band.
World Busk 2012 announced
The dates have been announced, and this year’s World Busk will swing into action on 11-17 June. Naturally we want it to be bigger and better than ever, so this year’s theme is ‘Extreme Busking’. Could you try for the highest altitude busk? How about a deepest busk – underwater? Can you beat the Rothera Research Station’s furthest south busking record? How about furthest north? Most colourful costume? Largest group? What about most unusual location – can you beat the aircraft carrier busk of 2009? Of course, everyone is welcome to join in, wherever you are in the world. Now’s the time to start planning your spot and your repertoire, and lining up an audience of supportive friends. For more details visit www.worldbusk.org
Concert is Child’s Play for acclaimed soprano
The British soprano Patricia Rozario, who was born in Mumbai, topped the bill at a recent benefit concert in aid of the Child’s Play (India) Foundation in Goa. Two of her students, Joanne D’Mello and Susanna Hurrell, also performed to a full house.
Luis Dias, co-leader of the Child’s Play project at the Hamara School in Goa, reports that further Child’s Play projects in other parts of India are under way. Violin lessons are about to start at an orphanage in Kolkata, and there are similar plans for a charity in Bengaluru.
The children of Goa gave their own first concert in December. The violinists played Twinkle variations, while the recorder kids played tunes such as Mary had a Little Lamb. Luis is particularly pleased to report that two of the violin children, Irfan and Reshma, have won admission into Goa’s music school, Kala Academy, against tough competition from scores of middle-class kids.
Elgon Youth Brass Band promotes girl power
Girls are acquiring confidence and new skills thanks to EYBB’s skills-development programme. Tailoring and hairdressing activities have been enthusiastically taken up by girls, many of whom had dropped out of school. A ‘girl confidence club’ called Super Ladies has been introduced, where girls try their hand at activities usually associated with boys – such as tuba playing and conducting.
Meanwhile the brass band and dance troupe are going from strength to strength, with a full programme of engagements lined up for 2012. These include performances at weddings, conferences and trade shows as well as appearances on special occasions such as International Women’s Day and International Labour Day.
Cultural project yields rich dividends
Destitute children from the surrounding community in Kampala have been participating in M-Lisada’s cultural dance and drama project. Progress has been remarkable – three boys and three girls have been admitted into established performing groups, such as Ndere Troupe. The children have also started earning an income from the performing skills they have learnt at M-Lisada through performances at weddings, celebrations and other events.
The group won a prize at the Bayimba International Festival of the Arts in the autumn, and after the event several visitors from East African countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Congo came to the M-Lisada reception centre to meet the street children.
M-Lisada project leader Bosco Segawa reports that since the beginning of the year, over 25 street children have been reunited with their families.
Cursitor Street lunch
Musequality was delighted to be the guest charity of the advertising and media industry’s celebrated annual Cursitor Street lunch at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London, in December 2011. Each year a new chairman is elected, one of whose jobs is to choose a charity to benefit from the generosity of the 500-odd attendees from the industry. This year it was the turn of Torin Douglas, the BBC’s media correspondent, who nominated Musequality.
It was a feast in more ways than one, superbly organised, with delicious food and drink, music, games and friendship. David Juritz and Milos Milivojevic serenaded the lunchers. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of the guests, who contributed no less than £7,000 to Musequality. We particularly want to thank Peter White, Bob Deegan, Allan Rich, and Torin for their wonderful support and unforgettable kindness.
Tadeo’s trombone dream comes a step closer
Tadeo, a boy from the Good Shepherd Home in Kampala, Uganda, who lost his hands and feet in a fire, should shortly be receiving his new prosthetic limbs.
Tadeo’s dream is to learn to play the trombone, and Musequality has been supporting the efforts to find him the prosthetic limbs he needs. The Red Cross Centre in Mbale, Uganda, intends to start treating him in late November. The process of fitting the limbs and providing the necessary training is expected to take between two and four weeks, and Tadeo will be taking his trombone with him.
The Good Shepherd Home and Tadeo are supported by a campaign called Brass for Africa, run by Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band (BWCB). All the money they raise is match-funded by Musequality. The campaign is co-ordinated by airline pilot Jim Trott. The Good Shepherd Home is a residence for disabled adults and children in the middle of Mengo-Kisenyi, one of Kampala’s worst slums. Simon Yiga of the Kampala Music School helped set up a brass band at the home, modelled on the nearby M-Lisada Brass Band. The Berkshire Maestros Trust and several private donors in the UK donated 30 brass instruments to get them started. Almost 40 children at the Good Shepherd Home are now receiving brass tuition from members of the M-Lisada band, funded by Musequality and Brass for Africa.
Child’s Play project makes the headlines
Visitors from India, England, Spain and New Zealand have been beating a path to the door of the Hamara School in Goa, where a Child’s Play music project has been running for the past year. The programme was set up with Musequality’s help and is led by Luis and Chryselle Dias.
Among those enjoying the children’s musical performances was a high-level delegation from the British Isles including Sean Rafferty of BBC Radio 3, the editorial team of Opera Now, several music teachers and others from the classical music industry. The visit was mentioned in a cover story article in Classical Music (4 June 2011).
During Musequality’s World Busk in June, Child’s Play organised a busk-cum-concert at a high-profile bookshop in the tourist hotspot of Candolim, winning publicity in the local press and online. The children are currently preparing for their first-ever students’ concert in December, featuring violin and recorder. Child’s Play hopes to introduce lessons on brass instruments in the not-too-distant future.
M-Lisada leader inspired by meeting of minds
Bosco Segawa, the leader of the M-Lisada project, has attended a conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, entitled ‘Helping street children return home’. The event was organised by Retrak, a UK-based charity that works with street children in Africa.
Bosco was accompanied by Simon Yiga, director of the Kampala Music School, which has close ties with M-Lisada. Musequality helped to fund their trip.
M-Lisada is a project based in Kampala, Uganda, which cares for and educates street children. At its heart is its brass band, a rapidly evolving success story which has been supported by Musequality for several years.
Among the lessons Bosco took from the conference was the importance of involving the children in all discussions and decision-making. It is also vital to employ young workers who have lived on the streets themselves and understand what street life is like.
Bosco says he learned a great deal from the experience of others, such as Tom Hewitt, director of Umthombo, a Durban-based organisation, who uses activities such as surfing, drama and music to attract children away from the streets.
Sad times for Elgon Youth Brass Band
It has been a difficult year for the Elgon Youth Brass Band in Uganda. In January, 16-year-old trombonist Rogers Washirwa died from an undiagnosed illness. In October, 15-year-old Bumba Sadart died of leukaemia, and just a few days later Asayo Morin, who worked as the band’s nanny, lost her battle with breast cancer. She was a widow who left behind eight children, some of whom are band members.
Despite these tragedies, project leader Fred Kyewalyanga remains focused on fundraising and improving the quality of life for all the members of the band. He has requested donations of instruments, secured concert venues and entered the band into competitions. He is currently working on getting children back in touch with their roots, and developing more effective outreach initiatives.
London’s ‘most romantic building’ hosts Musequality reception
The St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel provided the glorious backdrop to a reception at the start of October, organised by Musequality to promote its work with underprivileged children overseas.
Guests gathered on the Grand Staircase to listen to David Juritz playing solo Bach and to hear more about the way in which music projects are changing the lives of marginalised children in Africa, Asia and India.
Sir John Betjeman called the Gothic treasure ‘too beautiful and too romantic to survive’ in a world of tower blocks and concrete. However, after years of devoted restoration, the hotel is being hailed as the city’s most romantic building.
Musequality would like to thank Ed White, director of sales and marketing at the hotel, and his team for their support.
Special needs school raises money for Africa
At a concert on a summer’s evening in July, a young Down’s syndrome boy took the baton and conducted the Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band through a spirited rendering of ‘Hawaii Five-O’. Slides of the Good Shepherd Home in Kampala, Uganda, were shown throughout.
The free end-of-term concert at Addington School, an extreme special needs school in Woodley, Reading, was the highlight of a week of fundraising events on the theme of Africa. There was an African market, African drummers, and cakes were baked and sold, with profits going to Musequality. We would like to thank the band and the children, and particularly Jeanette Rockey, who is the deputy head at the school and also clarinetist in the Community band and Little Brian’s Little Big Band.
Refugee children busk in Beirut
Refugee Palestinian children entertained an impromptu audience in Hamra Street, Beirut, with a variety of songs and classical music pieces in support of the World Busk on 18 June. Performing on the violin and traditional Middle Eastern instruments, the children were from the Al Kamandjati project, a non-profit association that supports the education of children in Palestine and the refugee camps of Lebanon through participation in music.
‘It was a chance for the children to show the people of Beirut that there is more to the refugee camps than poverty and conflict,’ said Alice Howick, a teacher with Al Kamandjati.
Documentary-maker dodges food riots to film our work
An 18-minute film showcasing Musequality’s projects in Africa has been completed by documentary-maker Steve Maud.
Steve began filming in Kampala in March 2011, spending a couple of days with each of the projects. This coincided with heavy rioting and protests at the exorbitant rise in petrol prices, which meant people started to starve, unable to pay the high food prices.
‘I was actually filming an interview with Bosco from M-Lisada when a whole mob of people started running towards me, following by the police firing guns,’ Steve says. ‘A testament to the project I was filming, they barricaded me in behind closed gates; the police had heard there was a white man filming in the vicinity and wanted to talk to me, but the boys at M-Lisada hid me in the instrument room until the trouble had passed.’
The film captures the enthusiasm of many of the children involved in the projects, who explain in vivid terms what the opportunity to participate in music-making has meant to them.
Steve has a long background in making documentaries and campaign films around the world, from the slums of Nairobi to the offices of some of the largest corporations in the UK. He has worked for Comic Relief, the BBC, ITV and Channel Four, as well as a growing number of private companies. Watch the film here.
M-Lisada Brass Band offers a helping hand
More than 30 children at the Good Shepherd Home in Kampala, Uganda, are now receiving brass tuition from members of the M-Lisada Brass Band, thanks to Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band (BWCB) which is providing the funding. M-Lisada is also maintaining the home’s donated instruments, and once a month children from the home are going to M-Lisada for massed band practice and peer learning. BWCB’s funding covers their transportation, food and drink costs for the day.
BWCB has also contracted Kampala Music School to provide two hours a week of choral/singing lessons to all 70 children in the Good Shepherd Home. In addition, a UK-trained musical therapist will visit the home for two hours each week to work with the most seriously disabled children.
Thai school benefits from memorial donations
Felix Cooper Robinson died just days after his 19th birthday when the bus he was travelling on in Thailand was involved in an accident. Felix, who was set to study economics at Leeds University, was passionate about travel and music. His family is asking for donations in his memory to go to Musequality and a charity called Road Traffic.
The first project funded by donations in memory of Felix has just started in Huay Nam Yen school in northern Thailand. Like the Musequality project at nearby Ban Mok Cham school, the programme will focus on teaching children the traditional music of the Shan hill-tribe community.
The money received by Musequality from Felix’s memorial has paid for traditional musical instruments for the children. Musequality has also arranged for a music teacher to visit every Monday, and we hope to continue to raise funds to support this project.