Music students from Hangberg, Imizamo Yethu and Hout Bay who attended the National Youth Jazz Festival in Makhanda, returned “changed human beings”.
These were the sentiments of Dwyn Griesel, CEO of the Kronendal Music Academy (KMA) in Hout Bay which the students belong to.
This was the 30th edition of the festival, previously known as the Grahamstown National Youth Jazz Festival in the Eastern Cape, and the first time organisers have been able to hold it in person again since 2019 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The festival ran from Monday 27 June until Sunday 2 July. KMA sent a group of nine young musicians who spent the week rehearsing in mixed ability bands, and attended workshops conducted by professional musicians from South Africa and all around the world.
The students also had the opportunity to attend daily performances by local and international artists at the festival.
“Our children come back from this festival changed human beings,” said Ms Griesel.
“Their self-confidence soars and their understanding of music and jazz explodes. The teachers and artists impart invaluable lessons to every participant.”
KMA Jazz Band member, Ondele Mwanda, 16, from Imizamo Yethu said: “We went to the festival representing KMA and Hout Bay, and we have come back stronger than before. I have always found it hard to adapt to new environments, but I learnt that I can adapt in music, no matter where I am.”
Zakhiel Arendse, 13, from Hangberg said: “I never thought jazz is so interesting…there’s a million ways to play jazz.”
Another KMA band member, 17-year-old Simanyene Maqekeza from Imizamo Yethu added: “Every concert I watched made me want to be just like them. What I learnt can never be taken away from me.”
Laicah Banda, 16, from Imizamo Yethu said she had learnt that it’s never too late to start music “and it’s never to late to be the best you can be”.