United by their love for music, 86 children from diverse social and economic backgrounds are part of this year’s Safaricom Youth Orchestra (SYO) launched in April 2014.
Among the 86, 18 students are from Ghetto classics, all from Korogocho whose musical talents have been nurtured to play various instruments ranging from the Cello, French horn, Violin, and Trombone.
A story is told of the late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, that in one of his trips to Sweden, he watched a children’s orchestra and dreamt of how great it would be if there was a similar ensemble in Kenya.
This dream came to life five years ago when the Safaricom Youth Orchestra was born to provide quality orchestral musical instruction to Kenyan school children aged between 10 -17 years.
The idea was to draw children from different backgrounds, to provide them with an opportunity to be nurtured and guided by some of Kenya’s finest musicians and music. Today, 125 students have graduated in the five year period that the Orchestra has been in operation, with the help of 14 tutors and four mentors. Two of the mentors are alumni of the program.
The orchestra has become a key part-by extension-of the music departments in several schools and churches around Kenya. In the same period students and their teachers have rediscovered the importance of music in education thus impacting lives by enabling dreams and turning passions into careers.
“The arts as a whole play a great role in fixing the society, building bridges between people by bringing tutors and children together. The Safaricom Youth Orchestra’s impact in the last five years has been great. If you look at the musical landscape when we started and now, you can see the growth through the graduates who have scaled up to be tutors in various institutions including government schools,” said Elizabeth Njoroge, SYO manager
The Safaricom Youth Orchestra brings young children from various backgrounds, from Kangemi to St. Andrews Turi, Korogocho through Ghetto Classics, Starehe boys and girls, and many more.
The orchestral year begins in May and ends in March with graduation. The students come together once a week for rehearsals to obtain skills necessary to become Kenya’s next generation of professional musicians.