Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A piece from Awoko, a Sierra Leonean newspaper

Music Bonanza for the 50th Independence celebrations

Ballanta Academy of Music entered into the spirit of the 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations on November 1 at the British Council when it embraced both the Wells Cathedral School Team and Stephan Flore and together produced a delightful concert for a packed hall of eager music lovers that evening.
Performers from the Wells Cathedral School in Somerset, UK, were varied and talented, and the audience heard the oboe, horn, recorder, voice and piano, with the trumpet and saxophone of the young people in pieces ranging from serious classical to jazzy numbers like Summertime from Gershwin.
Owain Park from the school had the day before thrilled the audience at St. George’s Cathedral on its organ, with pieces of diverse characters, making the organ ‘produce sounds it had never before produced’, said Mr. Tan Pratt, Chairman of the Board in his concluding remarks.
Owain had been working assiduously with local organists at Buxton Church in workshops that lasted 10 days.
Mrs. Elizabeth Cairncross, Head of Wells Cathedral School mentioned how pleased they were to have been able to support the work at Ballanta Academy of Music and at the JTReffell School with interaction between their staff and students for the past three years, and expressed the hope that this wonderful partnership would continue to blossom in the years ahead.
The Minister of Defense, Major (rtd) Paolo Conteh graced the occasion with others from the Ministry of Defense, as did the Ambassadors of the USA and Germany.
The Minister and others were proud to listen to the RSLAF Regimental Band play two pieces conducted by Stephan Flore Music Director from Germany, who has been coming on a voluntary basis for the past three years to work with not only the RSLAF Band, but also the brass groups at the Academy and the POW Band.
The Ballanta Wind Orchestra made its debut under his baton for the first time.
This orchestra is the product of a cross-section of dedicated wind players in the community.
It was a delight to see the singers of the Wells Cathedral School join the Ballanta Music Makers to sing a song in Mende and one in Temne, as well as the S.L. National Anthem, and they will surely remember their experiences in Freetown with those delightful numbers.
The concert was sponsored by the US Embassy, Imres Pharmacy, the Sierra Leone Bottling Company and the British Council, all of whom were thanked at the conclusion. As the audience wended its way out of the auditorium, you could see their enjoyment and upliftment in their faces. What a joyful way to commemorate this important year for Sierra Leone.