ECPO Music Investment Project
PLAY, LEARN, EXCELL – the ECPO Music Investment Project
Driving down Ndakana Street in Motherwell Township on a Saturday afternoon, you are bound to hear brass music. If you stop and investigate you will find a group in the backyard of one of the properties. They stand inside a rusted, corrugated iron lean-to, music stuck to the wall with Prestick, playing their hearts out under the leadership of Sicelo Gangxa. Sicelo is playing tuba. Actually he’s a crack trombone player, but the group’s lacking a tuba player at this stage.
Passing a house in Sabelele Street you will be lulled by bassoon sounds. Phakamile Msizi and Sipho Vena will be hard at work on their parts for the wind quartet they play in. Sinesipho Hoboshe, a nine year old, sits around with his flute, hoping Phaka will help him with a difficult piece. Travelling further around in Motherwell NU 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 you might hear cellos, clarinets, violins and trumpets; all being played by almost one hundred music learners in this area, which forms part of the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra’s Music Investment Project.
The main focus of the ECPO Music Investment Project since its inception in 2002 has been to offer children alternatives to street life and crime and open possibilities to escape a bleak future of joblessness and poverty. In the process the Project also offers the parents of the Project’s music learners the opportunity to attend ECPO concerts with their children, in a relaxed atmosphere. The highlights for them, however, are always the concerts in the township – where they can feel part of the success their children achieve, and witness their development and growth.
This project has also enriched the lives of the elderly and those with special needs, through ensemble concert performances in institutionalised facilities such as children’s homes, homes for the disabled and disadvantaged schools.
The Project recognises the power of music, and is not necessarily focused on creating musicians, but opening a world of possibilities though music. The massive music industry is only one possibility. The discipline, work ethic and vision they shape through their musical training turns youngsters into responsible, hard working citizens. In the process, talent is discovered, nurtured and often music is chosen as a profession. One of the first students of the Project, Anele Mnguni, is now a professional bassoon player with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic, while other past learners have become successful in their chosen careers.
The Project uses the school facilities of Khulile Primary in Motherwell, St Teresa’s Primary in Schauderville and Booysens Park Primary, as well as the NAC Palmridge as teaching venues. Four full time and five part time teachers are employed to teach the almost 400 learners on orchestral instruments, recorders, and in choirs. Choral instruction is undertaken because in many schools, the long standing choral tradition is dying out, and is no longer a priority.
The ECPO’s Music Investment Project has produced remarkable dividends since October 2001, when the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) awarded a grant to the ECPO for the establishment of this Project. The NLDTF relies on funds generated by the National Lottery. The Lotteries Act identifies the manner in which NLDTF funding may be allocated.
The Distributing Agency makes the policy that guides the allocation of funds to beneficiaries. It is the aim of the NLDTF that the grants made will make a difference to the lives of all South Africans, especially those more vulnerable. The NLDTF is dedicated to improving sustainability of the beneficiary organisations it funds.
Written by Gerda Coetzee
Former director of the ECPO Music Investment Project
- Contact Person:
- Judy Speyers
- Port Elizabeth
- +27 (0)41 581 7747