On Saturday 20 February, the sounds of brass, percussion, marimbas and steel drums, with accompanying flash of flags and colourful costume, will reverberate through Soweto when the Field Band Foundation holds its bi-annual national championships at the Nike Football Training Centre.
South Africa’s 12 top performance field bands, each with 125 members, will put on long-rehearsed displays of closely choreographed music, dance and band movement before local and international judges, and the public.
The event is opened at 09:30 by Department of Arts & Culture Acting Director-General Vusithemba Ndima, and by Phillip Barton, CEO of the Field Band Foundation’s primary supporter, De Beers Consolidated Mines.
Bands competing for national honours qualified through regional competitions held last year in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Limpopo and Gauteng that involved Field Bands from 24 townships across all provinces.
Soweto’s national finals are host to bands from Alexandra (supported by Investec), Blouberg (De Beers), Dordrecht (Emalahleni Municipality), Hammanskraal (Black Like Me), Kimberley (De Beers/PPC), Kuruman (Anglo American), Musina (De Beers), Parys (De Beers), Soweto (Investec), Springs (PFG Londulusha), Thabazimbi (Anglo American), and Tsantsabane (Anglo American).
They are part of the national Field Band Foundation NPC (www.fieldband.org.za), founded in 1997 to use the global performance band concept in bringing focussed life-skills training to young people in areas of disadvantage.
Since then, more than 40 000 youngsters have gone through the programme, 23 800 for a minimum of three years, in 79 600 years of developmental training.
The Foundation currently has more than 6 500 members in 48 bands across SA, and receives significant corporate support. State support comes through the Department of Arts & Culture, and international support primarily through partners in Norway, Flanders, and the US.
The 2016 Field Band Foundation national championships promise a morning of superb family entertainment with live instrumental music that will stir your soul.
Members of the public are invited to attend at no cost.
The Field Band Foundation national championships take place from 09:30 to 13:30 on Saturday 20 February at:
Nike Football Training Centre
Cnr. Mokoena and Chris Hani (“Old Potch”) Streets
(M68 Klipspruit Soweto Gauteng 1837, M68, Soweto, 1837).
Issued by the Field Band Foundation, 17 February 2016.