By CityLife Arts Writer
Thuthukani Music Conservatoire is back in full force in hosting the long-awaited for events in their township, Mofolo, Soweto, with the hope to restore the lost time which the organisation, like everybody else in the music industry lost during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Thuthukani Music Conservatoire is a non-profit organisation that has been involved in teaching the reading and playing of musical instruments in the township for over 30 years and has produced some of the greatest musicians including some highly qualified musicians who are now employed in the Country’s Military Band, SA Navy, others are now well-known Jazz Musicians.
The founding members of the Thuthukani Orchestra are qualified music teachers who through their passion and dedication for the upliftment of their communities in Soweto and surrounding areas took it upon themselves to share their talents with today’s youth with the hope of taking them off the dangerous streets.
Orchestra music is normally taken as profoundly serious even boring to some people because of its formal presentation. It is so amazing to see young people eagerly wanting to play this genre of music and changing the dull vibe that it is perceived to be.
The 20 Piece Orchestra comprises a mixture of adults and youth. “We are promising our supporters that as always we will not disappoint, we have carefully selected songs that will appeal to our audience, there will be three soloists, from the youth section, Nomsa Molobye will play the First Movement of Mozart Clarinet Concerto K622, Thoko Thothobolo will play Second Movement of the same Concerto K622 then one of the Orchestra’s legends, Bra Strike Mashobane will play Andate in C for Flute and Orchestra piece where he will be pleading with South African Men to stop abusing women” said Mam’Lindiwe Makubalo one of the founder members, teacher and project manager at Thuthukani..
“We always perform songs that are addressing what the country is going through be it happy or sad moments, we have put together well known songs that soothe the heart and give hope and restoration” our young musicians contributed more on the songs that we will be belting out at the concert” said Mam’Lindi, as she is fondly called.
The concert is made possible by City of Johannesburg’s arts and culture department, this department is always supporting non-profit organisations like Thuthukani Conservatoire in support of the great work they do in working together with the government in combating crime in our beautiful townships by keeping our children occupied with activities like learning and performing classic music, according to the organisers.
Thuthukani Conservatoire’s Classical School is situated at the historic Mofolo Park (Superbowl), the teaching space was given to them by the Municipality through the ward Councillor. The Mofolo Park Superbowl is situated not far from the famous Vilakazi Street in Soweto. They have (15) educators who specialize in different music instruments and are also Orchestral players. There are three sections of teaching in the Conservatoire, and they are: Music Classes for young students between the ages of 6 to 18 years, at this class they teach Theory of Music from grade 1 to 8, advanced students are entered into Music Exams with the London Royal School of Music and Unisa, the teachers also conduct their own internal assessment. Instruments that are taught are: Violins, Viola: Cello, Bass, Flute, Clarinets, Trombone, Trumpets and Saxophone.
Thuthukani Orchestra comprises of 20 permanent musicians and have successfully showcased their work and talent in many communities locally and beyond and have supported many community choirs, church choirs and school choirs by providing orchestral accompaniment to enhance their performances and to also raise funds by staging concerts. They have Small Ensembles; these are groups that have already mastered their instruments and now form Quintets; Quartets; Duets and Solo’s. Come rain or sunshine it is rehearsal day on Thursdays for Thuthukani members, those who are still at school come in the afternoon.
Thuthukani have four major concerts annually – the Easter Concert – Manger to Cross, Passion of Christ or Crucifiction ; June Celebrations with youth showcasing their talent playing Concertos, Heritage Concert we play our African composers music mostly. For example solos, duets, trios, quartets, etc. Some talented students perform their own compositions and arrangements then we have Christmas Carols – these are performed on the first Sunday of December every year at Mofolo Park or Mofolo Art Centre Hall. These Concerts are exceedingly popular in the Soweto and Kagiso Communities.
Most of the parents cannot afford to pay fees for tuition or afford to buy instruments, so Thuthukani loans the students the instruments which the school bought from the monies they raise through concerts. The challenge is always the need to repair the existing musical instruments and to buy more to cover the number of students that keep on rising yearly.
In last year’s concert the Orchestra commemorated Tshegofatso Pule, a young and pregnant woman who was murdered in a very gruesome manner. Permission was given to Thuthukani by Tshegofatsho Pule Foundation to host the concert in her honour. Their message was that the tree which Tshegofatso was hung on they would turn the pain and sorrow to one that bares fruit of hope, healing through the songs that they performed.
The Thuthukani Music Concert will be held on Sunday 28th of August at Mofolo Art Centre Hall (within the Mofolo Park ), Concert will start at 14:00pm until 16:00pm. Entrance fee is only R50 per person and can be bought on arrival at the venue.