An Article from former St Edward’s student, Milly Till, who completed Upper Sixth in 2019.

Back in the summer of 2019 a group of musicians from the organisation, ‘Brass for Africa’ travelled from Uganda to the UK for a two-week tour. All of the musicians who came to the UK were part of the organisation’s teachers’ band. During a normal working week, they would teach children from slums and orphanages across Uganda. Many of the teachers themselves grew up in similar conditions as their pupils. With the help from Brass for Africa, they found a strong and supportive community full of a love and passion for music.

During their time in the UK, the brass band had the opportunity to play two shows at Ronnie Scott’s (a very popular Jazz club) in London. Whilst in the city several members auditioned for the British Army Band. They were all successful and have been enjoying their first year in service.

After their week in London, the group travelled to Cheltenham to play at the town’s music festival. Here, they were able to collaborate with other musicians as well as professional trumpet players, Allison Balsom, Guy Barker and the legendary Wynton Marsalis. This was a truly special occasion that both the St Edward’s students and the Ugandan teachers will never forget. Strong friendships were formed during this project and several of the participants have been ‘meeting’ for trumpet sessions via Zoom during the lockdown period.

Since the concert a film documenting the tour, ‘Topwa’, has been made. It is a story of resilience and hope, carried along by a joyous celebration of music and life. At the heart of this film: the power of music to change lives and a charity called Brass for Africa. ‘Topowa’ won the award for ‘Best Music Documentary’ at the Radiance Film Festival and has just been nominated for another award at the upcoming Foyle Film Festival.

If you’d like to see the film, head over to the Foyle Film Festival website between 29th November and 6th December.

Brass for Africa reaches over 1000 children and young people each week in Uganda, Liberia and Rwanda. They provide music education and life-skills training. The charity also provides employment opportunities and training for more than 40 African national staff.

A huge thank you to everyone who donated during our fund raising drive for the charity, we raised an amazing £2000!

 

Senior School | 24/11/2020