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Kampala Music School continues to be vibrant and with more and more people coming, it has been great. The various programmes are really taking off and in particular.The 3-5s programme is picking up momentum and is already showing some promising students. One girl, Sofie, of 5 years is showing amazing capability in rhythm, great sensitivity in the high and low sound, loud and soft and a passion for learning that has her mum surprised. At the end of the year she will be able to move onto the instrument of her choice, and Merian, the teacher of the group mentions that she is really keen on the guitar.

The Children’s concert series is now picking up and we’ve had few stand out performance, but particularly a young lad, Mathew Matsiko, who only started playing in September last year, played stunningly in his first every public concert to the amazements of all the parents and fellow students gathered. He was also very lively in the Q and A that followed, and went on to score 144 in his Grade 1, first exam ever too, to top the highest marks that were seen in the entire exam period, leaving just 6 marks.

His teacher, Patricia Nakalanda, has had quite a year, is a music therapist in training, and if fund allow, she should be able to carry on her training in this field. She is gaining quite a reputation in teaching the early years, and as an ex bursary student is building a career of this, and loving this, and you can see also from her students, that they love her.

The ABRSM results yielded29 distinctions and 61 Merits out of a total of 393 exams, in which numbers have risen quite remarkably over the last two years. Also of the 29 distinctions, 23 were from students taught by KMS teachers and 49 of the Merits similarly a percentage of 79% and 80% respectively. The teacher with the highest number of Distinctions was Patricia, which comes as no surprise, as she continues to really show her potential as an upcoming teacher.

String Department

The string department continues to grow. Great results in ABRSM, particularly those students taught by Phoebe has been a big boost to the morale. Mark Ddamulira, Sam Kikomeko, Bunjo who have been learning for sometime are learning and performing excellently. The above mentioned re involved in KMS activities including the KSO and Junior orchestras and Sam Kikomeko, was trained up and took over from Phoebe at the St. Mary Kevin outreach centre where he teaches 17 upcoming students in the this school.

Phoebe who left was a big impact volunteer who encouraged the very best and got the very best out of her students whilst also keeping them enthused, inspired and worked really hard to keep them motivated. She also worked really hard to train them up into some of her methods of teaching, which is great legacy going forward, for the KMS teachers and future students. We were really sad to see her go, and hope that she will be followed by someone soon.

Singing Department

The achievements of Patience Akampumuza Tezigatwa have already been mentioned, but also those of George Semaganda and Merian Mwase should also be brought to fore. The two of them trained up a choir of needy childrenoverall sponsored by a Japanese Organisation, Ashinaga and between them they prepare the group for tour of Japan that was incredibly well received, so well, that the organisation has specifically asked for these two to train the group again, now for an even bigger tour of Japan, scheduled next Summer.

George is working towards his DipABRSM exam to be done next year, and he is a really versatile musician, who also plays in the jazz band, where he plays a bit of bass, clarinet but mainly sings and in the last Connoisseurs concert he lead the jazz group whilst singing in the absence of Chris Weigers. As the whole concert was a success, he too was a success.

Rising star, Grenia Twijukye, performed at a recent concert with great expression and interest. Her interesting in theatrical pieces adds a real flair to her performances which was well received.

The department is thriving and with the addition of George and Merian on its teaching team, it promises more to its past to compliment the great work of Francis Mutesasira.

Keyboard Department

Members of the Keyboard department were very busy recently at the connoisseurs concert and of course the ABRSM exams. Of particular note though was Justus Mugumya Archangel who is committed, ready to learn and dedicated. Early in the year, he had a nasty accident that nearly ended his life being knocked down by a car and sustaining injuries. He came back from this and whilst the fear was that walking and basic function would be impaired, he recovered to play the piano, and in an amazing feat, he found in those initial days, whence at the music school, hearing music, made him quite stable, and he wouldn’t lose his balance whilst waking and he came back from that.

He has lost almost all his hearing in one ear, but he recovered and worked really had to score a respectable Merit in his Grade 8 exams. He has now been recruited and is training under Paul Luggya to become a full fledged music teacher. He uses all opportunity to explore such as learning a new instrument and other types of Music and is pictured below playing with the KMS Jazz band in concert.

Daniel Mwesigwa is another star of the keyboard department inquiring student who finds out more about the music he learns such as the technique, music history. He also played solo piano really beautifully at the recent connoisseurs concert. He is an upcoming organist and also had a small hand conducting the choirs at Job Tezigatwa’s wedding.

Jazz Department

Much has been said and will be said about the KMS Jazz Band that is growing from Strength to strength and is the only thing of its kind in Kampala. The members are drawn from far and wide but its growth and development have been hindered by lack of individual instruction. However with the opening up of Bursaries to Jazz students, Chris Weigers, who heads the department, is confident that this will be a great start to the taking off of a great jazz movement. Justus Mugumya has already started Jazz lessons with Kiggundu Musoke to really hone and greatly improve his style and playing of Jazz piano.

The plans of the department are big, but they start with the jazz bursaries, which will grow them and put the students at a part to the Piano and Singing department which really benefited from having Fiona Carr and Ulrike Wilson invest years of time effort and sweat to get the players/singers to very high levels, but the excitement is now this new addition to KMS’s sphere will have the same potential

The 3rd Connoisseurs Festival August 3rd 2014

The guests started arriving quite promptly at 12.30 pm. Many loved the whole idea of picnic afternoon with fine wine, Classical and Jazz music plus great food and barbeque. The event not only catered for the adults but the children too, who had a children’s corner with a bouncy castle, a clown, face painting and balloon shapes.

The various wine distributors 49 Cheese & Wine, Karuka Agencies, Prestige Wines, Amber International, and the Wine Garage seemed happy with the response and were very enthusiastic when contacted by Charlie Case to be a part of this Festival. Wine tasting was free for all which was loved by many.

The music was a 7 hour festival of light to great music, and interspersed with the music of the greats.The performers ranging from Solomon (pictured below) to Members of the Munich Philharmonic orchestra were formed Kampala Music School musicians in various combinations and collaborations with Kampala Symphony Orchestra, KMS Jazz band, M-Lisada brass band and lots more with guest performances from members of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Maria Teiwes, Traudel Reich and Shengni Guo.
The larger ensembles also took part with the KMS Jazz Band playing in mid afternoon, performing really well inspite of the Chris Weigers absence. The Kampala Symphony Orchestra took to the stage a little after 6pm, playing into the dusk with a programme including the Schumann piano concerto, with Paul Luggya as soloist and Tschaikowsky’s famous Waltz no 6 from the Ballet ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The orhcestra was joined by members of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra as well as members of various orchestras from the Nairobi vibrant orchestra scene, joining us all the way from Kenya.

The event was covered by UBC, NTV, and Urban TV who have since aired extracts of the show and some comments have come in from people, and at the end of the orchestral set, people were still asking for more.

The musicians really benefited from the coaching, rehearsing and playing with professional players in the orchestra and in the chamber music groups. So much that the quality of music subsequently produced was incredibly high.

Comments kept coming in about the wonderful afternoon of great weather blended with soothing music and wished this happened often. By the time all was packed up and left, there were still about 5 picnics going on till about 9pm. They did not hesitate to mention that they will attend the next event, the coming year in March.

This time we saw more people coming from a wider range of backgrounds, and more Ugandans than the previous two times. The Festival never had the intention of keeping people there for 7 hours, but there were a few people who were there for the entire period, really loving the day.

All in all the day was a wonderful concert, a celebration of what KMS is, was, and will be. We are hopeful for even great success in the future, and an even higher level of performance going forward to continue being the centre of excellence that we are now gaining a reputation as being.