- Written by Super User
Promulgation of the new Kenyan constitution, Queen's Birthday celebrations at the British High Commissioner's residence and Rufftone's music video Mungu Baba. The common factor that string these three events together is that they all featured a performance from the National Youth Orchestra of Kenya (KNYO)- a volunteer based music ensemble that invites passionate Kenyan youth the join them.
Started five years ago by the Art of Music Foundation, KNYO does not only seek out exceptional orchestra players but passionate ones too.
The National Youth Orchestra is totally dependent on funds so those who tutor are on a volunteer basis," said Kimberley Champagne, a young leader at KNYO. In order to pull off a successful concert, the members also need to have a "spirit to want to make it work".
Anyone can join the National Youth Orchestra but not everyone will get in. In order to become a member of this orchestra one must first do a two part interview. One first sends an email to the orchestra office after which an audition is set up.
"The first part of the audition is the instrumental part where one chooses an instrument to play and has to have a piece prepared. The voice is also considered an instrument," said Champagne.
In the first interview, the panel from Art of Music Foundation will also ask a few musical questions such as on scales.
One is also required to fill in an application form which is sent the office.
The second part of the interview is to get to know more about the potential member and whether they have the character of KNYO.
"This interview seeks to learn more about the interviewee's social interactions, their leadership qualities and how tolerant they are of people from different cultures," said Champagne.
The leadership qualities come into play because while at KNYO, members take up different responsibilities more so when the tutors are not there.
Whenever funds are available, KNYO also holds training courses during school holidays.
"During these sleep in trainings, we spend a lot of time practising repertoire to present at the end in a concert," said Champagne.
Music may be the central theme but the members of KNYO also engage in other activities which propel the social aspect of the group which is cultural integration.
"We also play games like football and basketball, have a movie night and learn from the Tutor's Conference which is a concert by the teachers," said Champagne.
The training courses which normally last between three days and a week have previously been held at Braeburn Garden Estate, Peponi Secondary School and St.Andrew's Turi.
During other times of the year, KNYO may hold smaller practice sessions at Strathmore University.
"The school has been very supportive and usually gives us space to practice. We have therefore also performed at quite a number of their graduation ceremonies," said Champagne.