NMU hosts music teachers' conference

SA Society of Music Teachers conference to be held in Bay

David Bester (violin), Njabulo Mthimkulu (voice) and Erika Bothma (piano) are the three artists who will perform at a soiree at NMU’s South Campus next month
David Bester (violin), Njabulo Mthimkulu (voice) and Erika Bothma (piano) are the three artists who will perform at a soiree at NMU’s South Campus next month

The SA Society of Music Teachers (SASMT) will host its annual national conference in Port Elizabeth for the first time in about three decades.

The conference will take place from March 14 to 16 in the auditorium of the Nelson Mandela University’s South Campus.

According to Lestie Hughes, who chairs the Port Elizabeth branch of SASMT, the conference has not taken place in the Bay since the 1980s and promises to be a musical event of note, being based on music education but structured to provide enjoyment to all lovers of music.

The music staff and pupils of 10 Bay schools will perform at the conference, which is themed “Let the Music Speak”.

The gala concert, on the evening of March 14, will see a performance by the Grey Concert Band while the Pearson High School Concert Band will be on show at a Lunch Hour Concert on March 15.

Conference-goers may also look forward to performances by the Collegiate High School Choir, the Greenwood Primary Band, the Lawson Brown High School Steel and Marimba Band, the “Mastrimba” Band of Strelitzia High School, the St Dominic’s Priory Marimbas, the Summerwood Primary Guitar Ensemble and the Victoria Park High School Jazz Band.

A soirée by three of NMU’s finest musicians, Erika Bothma (piano), David Bester (violin) and Njabulo Mthimkhulu (voice) is sure to be another musical highlight.

NMU vice-chancellor Prof Sibongile Muthwa will be the opening speaker and Dr Richard Cock, nationally acclaimed conductor and son of the Eastern Cape, will deliver the keynote address.

‘Music and Education’ will be the focal point of a presentation by Prof Alethea de Villiers, head of the NMU Music Department, and Mark Brand, also from NMU, who will share his knowledge of music technology in a compelling but relatable way.

Prof Jeffrey Brukman from Rhodes University will place the spotlight on young composers and Dr Boudina McConnachie, also from Rhodes, will share insights on participation in music-making.

The essence of a participative approach to music is bound to be pivotal to AMI’s interactive presentation, a Lee Gold/Yamaha presentation on instrument repair and a workshop by the acclaimed choral conductor Junita van Dijk, while a panel led by Prof Zelda Potgieter will discuss music education and decolonisation.

Presentations are not confined to staff members of tertiary institutions. Jackie Barnardo and Kyle du Preez’s will do a presentation on the success of the Greenwood Primary School Band programme; by Shawn Lyon, band master extraordinaire at Grey High School, will share how to make music speak as loudly as sport; while Deborah Everard and the Alexander Road High School music staff and pupils will show how to include contemporary music meaningfully into the school programme.

E-mail nicky.bosman@mandela.ac.za or call 041-504 4235 for the programme, registration form and other information. Registration for the conference closes on Saturday February 16.