The Delft Big Band was started in August 2008 under the directorship of Ian Smith and assistant director Dayna Pearce. The band targets vulnerable youth from high schools in the Delft area. The band members come from underprivileged backgrounds as Ian explains: “The band is the answer to getting these kids off the streets, it is enabling them to turn their lives around through the positive influence of music.”
Through this programme, which has early intervention as a core element, music is used as a vehicle to equip the youth with valuable life skills. Currently more than 100 learners from the Delft area participate in the programme of which more advanced musicians make up the Delft Big Band. In fact, a number of learners have re-enrolled in school thanks to their involvement in the band.
This new band has already performed to high accolade at a number of high profile events, including the Sekunjalo Edujazz Concert , The Cape Town Big Band Festival at the Baxter and The Cape Town International Jazz Festival. The band has performed in Sweden on two occasions for queen Sylvia for the World Children’s Prize and 5 members recently returned from a ten day tour in France.
What is remarkable is the changes that are being made in young lives. Lorenzo, a former band member is now a professional musician and he has played on the international circuit. Another band member, Adelia, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship to study Jazz at Berklee College of music in the US.
Ian clearly takes great pride in the achievements of his students, “People are beginning to see the phenomenal impact that being part of this band is bringing to the participants, their families, friends and surrounding communities. It is an extremely satisfying feeling to know that we are changing people’s lives in a positive, tangible way through the power of music.”
To see a clip of the Delft Big Band in action!
Needs for the band include funding and musical equipment.
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