Ghetto Classics in Switzerland.

Ghetto Classics in Switzerland.

15 members of Ghetto Classics started the year off in Switzerland performing alongside musicians from the Lausanne Conservatoire and Crescendo con La Musica a programme started by Jorge Viladoms as part of the Youth Olympics. Here are some of their experiences…



I play the Trumpet and I have been in SYO for 4 years. I was able to play different pieces such as the Danzon, which we played at SYO before, so it was easier for me due to such experience in SYO.

The Old Cathedral and the Museum really stood out especially the shoes with golden soles at the Museum. The weather was very different from the one we do have here in Kenya. The way we deal and value time here, is also very different from them.

I made new friendships with the Mexicans and some Swiss musicians. The leaders were very committed and nice to us. I really thank them for they made my birthday different, from the ones I’m used to here at home. Thanks to them.

The rehearsals were fantastic and I was able to learn a lot from the way time and rehearsals were going hand in hand. The concert was awesome. Always practice your basics to create a stronger foundation for the harder stuff. Always be thankful for everything and think positively.



I am a fifth year Trombonist at the SYO. On 6/1/2020 we set off to Switzerland Lausanne to play at the Youth Olympics. The repertoire included Kenyan, Mexican and some western music performed by both orchestra and choir. Being a focused, passionate and tenacious musician with all this skills learnt from SYO has made me to contribute in making the concert great.

The breathtaking exhibition of sneakers at the Art museum was my fantastic moment. Setting my eyes on the sneakers used by our own EGH Eliud Kipchoge made me a proud Kenyan of course! Not forgetting the wonderful Swiss chocolate in conjunction with the non-driver electric trains.

However in my life I’ve never been exposed to such cold weathers. 2 T-shirts, a sweater, a jacket, gloves, boots… too much to be on a single body. I made friends with the calm Marko and the extremely lively Maria who are both Trombonists.

Apart from playing and having fun – I was surrounded by great people like; Maxine, Jorge, Valentina and Eva. Maxine is a conductor and a great timekeeper and seems to be a no-nonsense man. Jorge is a cool big bro to hang around with always explaining the importance of playing music by heart. Eva is a slim grey headed Lady with a calm voice and so affectionate to anybody around her, such a great motherly love. Valentina is rather short; medium sized young beautiful lady with a passion of learning Swahili and a great timekeeper too. All these people made all the rehearsals great and therefore resulting in an exquisite concert. To all the SYO members I would like to salute you all and urge you to play music from your heart just like Jorge says and does.




I play the tenor saxophone and have been in Ghetto Classics for 3 years. We played a couple of pieces namely Danzon no. 2, Carmen Overture Lena’s song fly, and a few African pieces among others.

During the trip I learnt a few things, for instance most buildings are in form of castles because long time ago most building were built in this form. We also got a chance to visit one of the oldest cathedrals, the shoe museum where they appreciate different kind of sneakers and they had a sneakers festival with shoes made of chocolate.

What I found interesting about the Swiss is their civilised way of living, doing the right thing even when no one is watching, following the rules and regulations, the electric trains and buses which was fun riding on. And of course the weather, though it was so cold we had warm clothes thanks to everyone who gave out a hand. Discipline number one, time, which was the most important thing during our visit, being punctual and focused in everything we did.

I made new friends from both the Mexican and the Swiss musicians, who were friendly and learnt from each other as we had fun together throughout the day.

I would like to say thanks to all the leaders who made the trip to Switzerland successful. For their time, commitment and their caring gestures throughout the trip. Thanks to the conductor, Maxine who made the rehearsals fantastic and educative from every perspective, playing music from the heart and every player’s contribution to a successful concert. Appreciating everyone’s efforts and the great teamwork. Thank you all.




I am 20-year-old accomplished cellist, with 5 years performance experience, encompassing principal cellist for various orchestra in Nairobi (Kenya)

I got a chance to travel in Switzerland and truly I had a marvelous experienced in playing music at Crescendo Con La Musica with the Swiss Orchestra. While at Conservatoire of Lausanne, I got a chance to attend Master Classes and also some lessons on how to teach music.

After good daily rehearsals at the Conservatoire of Lausanne, we had a great final concert with Swiss orchestra together with choir. Apart from playing music, we had a trip at Alps Mountain and Olympic Museum. I used to hear people talking about ice-skating but it was extremely super awesome to see it live in Lausanne.

It was such an honour and a good privilege to travel in Switzerland because I achieved one of my future goals that is having my own professional cello. Lots of thanks to the principal cellist of the Swiss Orchestra. Salute to Jorge Viladoms and Valentina for hosting and organizing master classes for us, not forgetting Elizabeth Njoroge, Mr. Levi Wataka and all Art Of Music admin for always giving us this opportunity of traveling because it truly add impact in our life.

Stephen and his new cello.




I am a viola player with fours years of experience. With a great delight I want to thank all those who made me reach this far, especially the trip to Switzerland, which was awesome. Actually it was beyond my anticipation and I really gained a lot from the stay in Switzerland – top key being time management and punctuality. Aside from that the music skills I learned were life changing.

The most fascinating bit about the stay there was meeting people from different walks of life. The interaction was wow!!! I manage to make friends from Switzerland and Mexico, they were very friendly and I enjoyed being with them. I really loved the coordination in tutti and music practice, which is the top virtue for a good musicianship.

To add on that, the brilliant trips we took around really made me learn a lot. I saw a very good organ in the cathedral and some good things like how ancient people appreciated the art especially in making some buildings. The trip to museum was educative and exciting. I got to saw some golden shoes of sports. I also learnt about the history of Olympic games. I was also happy to see Eliud Kipchoge shoes in museum, who is the record holder in marathon. I was happy as a Kenyan.

The experience I personally fetched from there has been of great impact to my life and hopefully to share with others. There is one thing I learned through out the journey to Switzerland is music moves. One more thing I do convey my sincere gratitude to all who made this possible. May God bless you. THANK YOU.




It was a very nice adventure and nice experience. I personally like the trip, the music and the people’s way of living. We played several pieces which some of them were a bit challenging but due to continued practice we became comfortable playing them. Among the pieces were Carmen, Danzon no.2 Cantique and also played our African pieces like Safari ya Bamba, Hifadhi, Pum bum bum peh for brass and percussion from Meru’s community and rhythm among others. We enjoyed playing the pieces Safari ya bamba being the most liked tune by the Mexicans and the Swiss.

The musicians and the people at large were so friendly. We made friendships with the Mexican ladies who joined us later, Mude the clarinetist, Niece the Flutist, Ris the Oboe player among other musicians in the conservatoire. Am also glad I met Valentina, a gorgeous lady with inspiring personality, she is friendly, cool and hospitable and also ready to help, she was like our big sister in Switzerland.

I learnt to be punctual, I was somehow weak at that but now am happy it’s among my strength. Everything in Switzerland is about time, the downbeat for the rehearsals started immediately at the suggested time. And that really moved us.

I appreciate them for taking as to the ice skating competition, it was one of my best moments, and I even didn’t believe I was watching it live. From this I learnt the importance of self-belief and practice. The weather was a bit challenging but thanks to you who made our stay comfortable by providing warm clothes.

Thank you Mr. Levi Wataka and Jorge Viladoms for believing in us. I also want to thank madam Elizabeth, Valentina, Maxine ,Eva and the Crescendo Con La Musica for believing in us too, it really kept us going.




I have always wanted to visit Switzerland with the help of classical music, to be specific piano music. I was very delighted when I heard I was traveling to Switzerland as my dreams were fulfilled on January 7th when we landed in Switzerland. We were received by Valentina, I thought she had forgotten me but she called me by name and greeted me. I also got to meet my role model and mentor Jorge Viladoms.

In future I want to be a great musician like him and help others in our community who have the passion in music. I anticipated that it would be very cold and snowing all day but it was a bit cold and sunny. I was so excited because we were going to play with musicians from Mexico and Switzerland. This was an opportunity to meet and learn a few things about them other than music. The names of the musicians from Switzerland were so hard to memorize because most of them were French and our country is not a French speaking country. But I managed to memorize one a tuba player called Machiu. Our first tutti rehearsal heard the conductor calling me I was shocked of how he knew me. Later I got learn that he had heard story about me and my passion for music. Our final concert was amazing and one to remember I was surprised at how other musicians who are not Kenyans were able to play and sing Safari ya Bamba.

I have always wanted to play on a Steinway and Sons piano. I got a chance to play one during a piano lesson with Jorge although it was very short I learned a lot that would help me practice my piano skills.

During our stay in Switzerland I got to watch ice-skating Olympic performance a once in a lifetime opportunity. Very few people get a chance that I got and am really grateful to Jorge Viladoms and Elizabeth for making this happen and Valentina for taking care of us in Switzerland.