Hermanus hosted a very special event on Saturday 29 October when the well-travelled youth orchestra from The Hall Boys Preparatory School, London, gave a concert in our Municipal Auditorium. Even more exciting is the fact that Enlighten Education Trust’s own Youth Orchestra joined them in its debut public appearance.
The concert was a huge success, with members of the audience sitting on the steps in the Auditorium as well as crowded in the entrance doorway. The children were given several standing ovations. No tickets were sold, but the audience was invited to make donations, if they so wished. In all, over R8 000 was collected.
Thanks to a generous donation from local resident, Mrs Elvia Bury, in memory of her late husband, Alex, the Enlighten Strings Ensemble was launched by Enlighten in October 2015, with 12 children from our six local primary schools. The commitment of this small group has resulted in impressive progress, as it demonstrated to great acclaim during the Hermanus FynArts Festival in June this year. With the inclusion of several other young musicians, it has now morphed into a full-scale Youth Orchestra, of which Hermanus can be truly proud.
Music can be a lonely road, but great friends from a variety of backgrounds can be made when playing and practising together. The EET Youth Orchestra aims to provide young people from all the Overstrand communities with this opportunity, and at the same time, to develop a love of music and the skill to make it live for others.
The Youth Orchestra is a project of the Hermanus Academy of Music (HAM), which, in turn, is a project of Enlighten’s extensive Music Department. The aim of this school is to offer learners of the Overstrand, especially those from its disadvantaged communities, music tuition at either no cost at all, or at a minimal rate. HAM has produced UNISA and ABRSM candidates and its students have won a number of awards over the past four years, including several from the International Marimba and Steelpan Festival held in Gauteng and the annual Artscape Youth Music Festival.
According to Enlighten’s Music Co-ordinator, Anna-Marié Kotzé, the Music Department is running at full capacity, but auditions for study in 2017 will take place in December this year. HAM offers tuition in pianoforte, voice (under 16 years of age), keyboard, theory, with limited space for violin and cello. Enquiries: Enlighten Tel. 028 3130974.
The Enlighten Education Trust is proud of its two projects, which were featured for the first time at this year’s FynArts Festival and congratulates all the participants who put their hearts and souls into the performance. The enthusiastic applause of the audience was ample proof of its appreciation.
Although it was the first time Enlighten’s puppetry group had appeared at FynArts, it is a very well-known and loved phenomenon in Hermanus’ disadvantaged communities, where each month over 1 000 children are entertained by its wide repertoire of shows. The six locally trained puppeteers devise the scripts themselves, make the puppets and scenery and perform the plays, either individually or as a group.
While Enlighten’s puppetry group has been operating for several years, The Enlighten Strings Project has been running only since October 2015, when 12 youngsters from the Overstrand region were chosen to form the first Strings Ensemble. This project was the brainchild of Mrs Elvia Bury, whose generous donation, in memory of her late husband Alex, made it possible.
With no former experience, these youngsters have come a long way in just eight months. They performed with panache at FynArts, supported by other instrumentalists from the region, and the highly-awarded Marimba band from Kleinmond Laerskool (also trained by Enlighten). Enlighten’s Music Department falls under the leadership of Mrs Anna-Marié Kotzé and the young violinists are coached by Hein Attwood, with the assistance of consultant, Elzahn Johnson from Somerset West. Thanks to the recent donation of a cello from OAK, a budding cellist, trained by Maike Skein, has joined the Strings family. The ultimate aim is to build a fully-fledged youth orchestra of a high enough standard to give regular public performances both locally and further afield.