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Music Education Tour of Kenya, Uganda and USA >

Introduction

While attending various orientation meetings at Juilliard, I became familiar with the summer grant program through the Office of Career Development. It was at this point that I conceived of a joint educational program that would benefit music students in both my home region, East Africa, and the United States. I would conduct Western music workshops in East Africa and introduce African instruments to students in selected schools in New York City.

I contacted the Rt. Rev. Balagadde Ssekkade, Bishop of Namirembe Diocese in Uganda (where I used to play organ), and Dr. Frank Mwine, my former piano student who is chairman of Uganda Consult House. I told them about my ideas, and we collaborated on the development and implementation of my plans. After I selected and drafted the schedule of the schools and churches I would visit, it took me a period of one year communicating to Uganda via email, fax and telephone and several meetings with the Dean to plan and implement this program.

The plan was to cover twenty locations in six weeks in Kenya, Uganda and finally New York City (U.S.A). This included twenty-two workshops, three meetings, two recitals, and one performance featuring project participants. Due to unavoidable circumstances, like summer holidays for international schools, it was impossible to target each and every place as planned. However, I managed to conduct workshops in other places that welcomed my presentations. The actual program included eighteen workshops, five meetings, four special visits, three organ recitals, and one vocal youth trio performance. Altogether, I visited seventeen different locations.

I shipped books that were donated to accessible and musically active churches and schools. These selected few would be resource centers from which other schools or churches would be able to borrow. The books were donated as follows:

  • Kenya Conservatoire - 28 books
  • All Saint’s Cathedral - 17 books
  • Makerere University - 13 books
  • Namirembe Cathedral - 45 books

I was also able to donate a few books and supplies such as folders, pencils, and manuscript paper to each school I visited. Due to shortage of funds, I could not purchase an electronic keyboard as I had initially planned. However, in schools that had no piano, a keyboard was borrowed for use the workshops. Teachers, choirmasters and students ranging in age from six to thirty, attended the workshops, ranging ten to fifty people per session. Most of the sessions covered basic elements except for a few that included more advanced music students. I managed to record every session/workshop for educational purposes. Out of the ten hours of video, I compiled twelve minutes of footage, which accompanies this report.

In this report I have outlined the workshops, recitals, meetings, and special visits completed as part of the Juilliard 2000 Summer Grant Project. In the first section, I report on my visit to Nairobi, Kenya. The second and third sections report on subsequent trips to Uganda, and the United States. In my conclusion, I report on the benefits of this project and future objectives.

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