January 2017

I am delighted to report that our musicians have returned after an AMAZING 2 weeks in Kenya in January 2017!

The whole team deliver a workshop for the year 3 class at Nyeri Primary School

In January 2017, 9 professional musicians traveled from the UK to Kenya to deliver music workshops and instrumental lessons to around 4,000 children. This was our first big project as a charity and I have to say I am completely humbled and totally blown away by the attitude, dedication and commitment of every single person on the trip, including cameraman, general problem-solver and charity trustee Chris Hall. The team rose to meet every challenge, and the workshops, that were excellent from day 1, went from strength to strength as the team grew to learn the flow of each others work rhythm.

Oskar enlists some help playing his horn from a student at Mindililwo Special Needs School

For the first week the full team were delivering collaborative workshops in 8 schools around Nyeri County, as well as meeting a fantastic Kenyan A Capella choir (The Melody Singers) ,and the state minister for education. The theme of the workshops was centred around introducing the Kenyan children to the different instruments we had with us, with information on how they work and what they can do. We had brought a piece designed to introduce each instrument and paired it with an activity for the children to join in with. These included singing, rhythmic call and response, dancing and conducting/directing the team of musicians.

Charity founder Jess getting big smiles from the infant class at Nyeri Infant School.

After school time the musicians would travel back to Pavilion Village Orphanage where they were staying and spend hours entertaining the orphans with games, colouring and of course music lessons! Percussionist Delia and Violinist Anna spent a lot of time working with 3 of the older boys, Dadson, Kennedy and James, as they turned out to be talented song writers. Dadson was thrilled to be gifted with a guitar, courtesy of money raised at Harrogate Music Centre, and wished to pass on his sincerest thanks for the opportunity to develop his musical talents further.

James, Delia, Kennedy, Dadson (with new guitar!) and Anna. - Presenting newly formed band 'The Cheetahs'!

During the second week the musicians traveled north to Eldoret County. During their time here they split into pairs to work more continuously with smaller groups of children to develop their musical skills and give them some lasting memories and songs they can sing together long after we leave. Singer and French Horn player Oskar worked alone, forming 1 choir at Kolol Primary School and 1 choir at Kamariny Primary School. Trombonist Alistair took a class of ukuleles at Kolol and a class of pbuzzes (mini plastic trombones) at Kamariny. Clarinetist Kirstin along with Flautist Jenny took a class of Dudes at Kolol (mini plastic clarinets) and a class of recorders at Kamariny. Violinists Joy and Anna took a choir at Iten Primary School, while Percussionist Delia and Violinist Caroline took a class of claves. In the afternoon session Anna, Joy, Delia, Jess and Kirstin took whole school sessions at Mindililwo Special Needs School. The opportunity to work continuously with groups of children was a very special one. It was wonderful to watch the children's confidence grow throughout the week, alongside their musical skills. It was also very touching to see the bonds forming between teachers and students. The week ended with a concert for each school, with some magnificent performances from every group.

Trombonist Alistair with his team of pbuzzes from Kolol Primary School (class 4)

The trip has given the charity some exciting plans for the future, starting with a plan to enable MFK to keep providing access to music for Kenyan kids all year round. To do this we plan to bring the fantastic choir (The Melody Singers) to the UK for an intensive 2 week program to train them in the art of music education. They will then take these skills back to Kenya where they can facilitate the charity's vision of starting a music hub where kids can come and learn the joy of music all year round. We need your help to make this happen, so please consider making a donation (via the Donate page), holding a fundraising event, or helping us spread our message via social media with a tweet or post share from our facebook page!

  Children from Mindililwo Special Needs School learning some parachute games using their brand new parachute and egg shakers, courtesy of a very generous donation raised by the Stamford Orchestra.

A rare photo of MFK Trustee Chris putting down his camera to join in the festivities and have a dance with a student from Mindililwo Special Needs School