The seventh Safaricom Youth Orchestra graduation ceremony will be held on Sunday. The event will be conducted virtually for the second year in a row, and will be streamed on Safaricom’s YouTube channel. Eleven music students are set to graduate and will be awarded certificates in orchestral music having learnt to play various instruments ranging from the flute, alto sax, trumpet and violin. “Music education is highly beneficial to students’ well-being and development. In line with our purpose of transforming lives, Safaricom is dedicated to continuously support and invest in music platforms such as the Safaricom Youth Orchestra and ghetto classics that play a key role in uplifting the lives of young boys and girls,” said Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom’s chief executive officer.
The orchestra was launched in 2014 by the late Bob Collymore with the aim of bringing together gifted and talented students and tutors to make beautiful music. Over one hundred and thirty students have graduated so far and progressed to pursue their university education, specializing in different disciplines. The orchestra draws 45% of its students from public schools, 30% from the ghetto classics programme, and 25% from private schools.
“I started playing the French horn four years ago when I joined the ghetto classics program. I have also been a proud member of the Safaricom Youth Orchestra over the last three years. Music is an integral part of my life, and the orchestra has allowed me to nurture my talents, explore music and gain exposure with world-renowned artists in the industry. I would like to study classical music in university, and I cannot wait for the world to hear my songs,” said Cyndicate Kabei, Class of 2021 graduate.
With the disruptions brought about by the pandemic last year, Safaricom provided over eighty members of the orchestra with 4G enabled mobile handsets and airtime to enable them to attend rehearsals virtually. “Today marks a very big day for us and I am overjoyed to see our students grow into young talents. Our aim has always been to provide the youth with an opportunity guided by some of Kenya’s finest musicians and music directors to obtain skills necessary to become Kenya’s next generation of professional musicians,” said Elizabeth Njoroge, founder- Art of Music.
The orchestra’s year is divided into three terms: May to July, August to December and finally, January to April, when the students who have completed high school graduate.Call for applications to join the orchestra closed end of March, and auditions are currently being held virtually, where successful candidates will be selected by the music directors and tutors through a combination of theoretical and practical tests.