Field Band Foundation

Youth Development through Music & Dance

Author: Sello CR (page 1 of 2)

SA’s top 10 Field Bands live in Parys

Celebrate the Field Band Foundation’s 20th year, and enjoy spectacular
15-minute performances by SA’s top 10 Field Bands…

Field Band Celebrates Mandela Day

FBF National Workshop in Parys, Free State

FBF National Workshop July 2017 (Day1)

Maskandi fundi jams with FBF

Manqobizizwe Ncala

Maskandi guitarist Manqobizizwe Ncala shared tips about this SA music type with Field Band Foundation tutors during an FBF leadership workshop on 23 June.

Ncala’s passion for the genre led him to begin studying the indigenous instruments used in Maskandi, and he taught himself how to build and repair them. He also runs a school where he teaches and passes on the knowledge he has acquired over the years about Maskandi.

Ncala says Maskandi can be defined in numerous ways and can be both a musical genre and lifestyle. He says it is a similar concept to that of hip hop.

Maskandi is about “being original, living your truth, knowing yourself as a person”. Ncala shared his thoughts on what this means practically in life, together with the values required to be living as an authentic musician.

The Foundation thanks Ncala for taking the time to share his amazing musical journey with us.

TRIBUTE: Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer (1967 – 2017)

Jennifer Oppenheimer – painting by Frances Kendall

Having now had time to reflect on her magnificent contribution to the Field Band Foundation (FBF), I would like to take a moment to mark the untimely death of Jennifer Oppenheimer.

Jennifer, who passed away peacefully on 16 May after a short battle with cancer, played an important part in helping the Field Band Foundation to become a youth development programme of national reach and relevance. At the time of her death at the young age of 50 she was surrounded by her husband Jonathan and their children Samuel‚ Isabel and Nathaniel.

On being told of Jennifer’s passing that week, the FBF’s Board of Directors stood in silent honour of her life; reflecting on its positive influence on so many young South Africans.

In his tribute our chairman, Brian Gibson, noted that the funding support from Jonathan and Jennifer Oppenheimer’s Isibindi Trust was but one among many significant contributions.

Jennifer’s guiding role helped to ramp up the Field Band Foundation from smallish beginnings in 1997 to one with a four-province footprint within 10 years, and then to national reach. This was especially so in her chairmanship of the De Beers Fund from 2002 to 2006, when De Beers moved from being a significant FBF sponsor, to becoming the Foundation’s foremost CSI funder, managed through Tshikululu Social Investments.

This is a partnership that the De Beers Group of Companies carries splendidly and with consistent engagement, an ever-closer collaboration that funds six full operations of 12 Field Bands at Blouberg, Kimberley, Kroonstad, Musina, Parys, and Viljoenskroon. It is accompanied with support by that company for our Johannesburg head office, professional De Beers Fund evaluations of our work on-the-ground, engagement with our management direction, the hosting of FBF guests at national events, and in communications support through De Beers’ corporate and public affairs unit.

That primary support is extended further, with funding for our inclusive Free State operations from the De Beers empowerment partner’s CSI trusts (Ponahalo De Beers), and in their parent company’s Anglo American Chairman’s Fund – the latter partnering the FBF in the six Field Bands at Kuruman, Thabazimbi, and Witbank. Along the way, these supporters, with the addition of Jonathan and Jennifer Oppenheimer’s family trust, have backed our work in Cullinan, Daniëlskuil, and Grahamstown. It is a remarkable journey of commitment, something that is so important for getting the most positive social returns, and for anchoring that for future generations.

Shying from any glory, Jennifer said in 2006 that the FBF deserved “most of the credit” for successes because of our “good work, unflagging efforts and indomitable spirit”. Yet much of what has been built comes off multiple partnerships that she heralded. Included are positive transformations of many young lives, included direct support over many years from Jonathan and Jennifer to provide air tickets for the FBF to annually send candidates to the intensive training in America’s outstanding Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps. Our 2017 team left for Wisconsin this month.

Marking the Foundation’s 10th anniversary a decade ago, our then-chairman (now Johannesburg’s executive mayor), Herman Mashaba, publicly noted Jennifer’s critical role, but little could we know how it would endure and deepen.

In our 20th year, the FBF marks looks back on almost 50 000 members having passed through it, three-quarters of them for a minimum of three years each. Horizons of life’s opportunity have expanded beyond measure, in ways of inter-generational benefit.

They, with the thousands of today’s FBF, and those to yet come, are a significant cohort of a confident, young South Africa. This is just some of a positive dynamic owing much to the vision of a very special lady.

May it always bring a measure of solace to Jonathan, to their children, and to the broader Oppenheimer and Ward families.

Rest in Peace, dear Jennifer.

–          Nicolette du Plessis; Chief Executive Officer, Field Band Foundation NPC

(The accompanying picture of Jennifer Oppenheimer is reproduced with acknowledgement to its painter, Frances Kendall.)

16 Field Bands parade on Youth Day

Tomorrow sees 16 Field Bands celebrate Youth Day with parades in different townships across SA; involving 1 500 young members of the Field Band Foundation.

These performances will start at 09:00, with brass, percussion, movement sections, and flags aloft in typically upbeat Field Band style. These celebrations commemorate Youth Day in the 20th year of the non-profit Field Band Foundation’s work.

In this time, almost 50 000 youngsters have passed through Field Band Foundation (FBF) programmes; 25 000 of them for a minimum of three years. The FBF operates 42 Field Bands in seven provinces, with a “Music for Life!” lifeskills training programme alongside its musical training.

Youth Day street parades will take place in Alexandra, Blouberg, Soweto, Hammanskraal, Khatu, Kimberley, KwaThema, Molteno, Musina, Parys, Plettenberg Bay, Stellenbosch, Thabazimbi, Ventersdorp, Viljoenskroon, Witbank.

Monday Motivation

Congratulation to Dennis Tlou, Freddy Mondhlana,Tshepo Siloto and Khayalethu Benela on doing exceptionally well on The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music ABRSM practical exams.

These four FBF members took the exams on 23 May 2017, and they all passed, gaining one distinction and two merit certificates along the way. Well done!

“Passion is everything, Skills can be taught. But what drives an individual is his will to succeed.” – Bongani Goliath

My first involvement in the programme started when I was only 11 years old. At the time I was just a young school boy from the township, highly passionate about bands and drum majorettes but only exposed to soccer and marimba groups. A friend of mine introduced me to the Field Band, where I started off and travelled the world as a drummer. I then became a tutor and advanced to the Soweto Band Coordinator in the year 2012. I became involved in the band as a drummer to pursue my passion in music and grew further to help the youth pursue their passion in music through the Field Band.

I was also fortunate enough to have toured with the band to Belgium, Amsterdam and Norway in 2008 and 2009. I toured both because of the Field Band national tour as well as pursuing my studies in music and leadership. Winning the national Field Band championships in 2011 and completing my Music Teaching Diploma were big highlights as well.

I am currently studying and Programme Managing  the Soweto Band. I also aim to continue to enrich the lives of the youth in my community through the skills I have acquired in the Field Band. I am also furthering my studies in Teaching Methodology, Music Technology, Music Theory and Music Business.

Today we look back to the 2008 FBF National Championships. If you look very closely at the video clip below, you will recognise some young faces – band members who today are some of the Foundation’s backbone, as tutors, band coordinators, and in management.

Let’s keep the magic going!

Field Band Foundation, #FitForPurpose


Video Credit:  Man At Large

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