Towards the end of 2019 the Art of Music welcomed some interns from the University of Nairobi Music Department. Here is Mercie’s experience working with us:
On November 9th I accompanied about eighteen Ghetto Classics kids to an Orchestral weekend, hosted by St. Andrew’s Turi. The invited were the likes of Greensteds International School, Hillcrest International School, Potterhouse School and Brookhouse International School. In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, these were not just our regular kind of kids. These were the country-club set of children.
Molo being naturally cold, a fire was lit around our campsite, where we’d gather in the evenings to wind down as well as get enough warmth to carry us through the cold nights. It was also a perfect time to listen, sing along and dance to familiar tunes. The music was obviously provided by the students from the other schools because they were privileged enough to carry their phones and Bluetooth speakers to school.
What stood out for me on these particular days was the fact that our Ghetto Classics kids did not look, in the least, intimidated, regardless of being surrounded by everything international. They advocated for music they could relate to, and these were our local tunes like ‘Wamlambez’ by the Sailors. Their charismatic nature, in turn, influenced the other kids to join in and dance along to these tunes.
I learnt about Art of Music while searching for an internship opportunity, as a requirement to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory, Composition and Performance. Lacking other options, I went online and camped in their website trying to learn a thing or two about the organization. I am a voice major and passionate about performance psychology, and I only had theoretical knowledge about the orchestra so I got a little worried about fitting in and being useful to the organization. Nonetheless, I took a leap of faith and sent in my application. Being at AOM has been a blessing because I have interacted with many Ghetto Classics’ players on a personal level, applying my psychological skills. My voice has also come in handy. On few occasions, I have trained the GC choir, I have taught the Mukuru Choir and sang with the young children at Deep Sea Community Centre, a slum in Parklands.
The Art of Music cannot capture the joy, the melody, the voice that these children have acquired through this program. Now, they sing a new song, or rather, play a new melody of hope. I am eternally grateful for stumbling upon AOM.