Celebrating 20 years of passing on musical knowledge

Siyathemba Nteta conducting the Beau Soleil Music Centre senior brass ensemble at the 20th anniversary of the Ifidyoli Development Project.

The Ifidyoli Development Project (IDP), which is run by the Beau Soleil Music Centre in Kenilworth, is celebrating 20 years of giving music tuition to underprivileged children.

Kathleen Garrity started the project in 1999, when, as a Beau Soleil music teacher, she started teaching some children from Khayelitsha.

It started with 16 pupils in her violin classes and expanded to two more satellite projects at the Ottery Methodist School and the Westlake Primary School.

Today the IDP has 60 pupils on violin, viola, recorder, flute, cello, bass, and various brass instruments.

The cost of transport to the music centre in Kenilworth is covered by the Beau Soleil Music for Africa Trust (BSMAT).

“It has been a long journey, and I was scared to give up because I did not know what would follow afterwards,” Ms Garrity says.

She started the project to give children the opportunities in music she had had.

One of the IDP’s success stories is Siyathemba Nteta, 30, from Khayelitsha, who was in Ms Garrity’s original class 20 years ago.

He is now part of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and teaches IDP pupils.

“When I started in the project, I didn’t even know the instruments. I started playing the violin and three years later, I was the best violin player in the project.”

Mr Nteta says he is still in love with music and enjoys teaching the youth.

Another former pupil turned teacher is UCT African Studies student Khuluwa Mthi.

“I was part of the IDP, and from that point I went through the process of the Beau Soleil school, being part of the junior ensemble and then the senior ensemble brass band.”

Ms Mthi says it is an honour to return to the music school to teach children who are in the same position she once was.

Sarah Evans is part of the project management team and works closely with youth who come for music tuition on Saturday mornings.

“I love being involved in the project. The kids have so much energy, and we are working with a nice group of teachers and staff.”

Beau Soleil Music Centre principal Marina Louw says the project makes music accessible to kids who would otherwise not have that opportunity.

“This project is not necessarily only about the ones who become high achievers in music, but all learners benefit from the cognitive and social development inherent in music education.”

Go to www.beausoleil.org.za or call 021 761 1894 to find out more about the centre and the Ifidyoli Development Project.

Girls and boys aged 9 to 15 are invited to audition to be founder members of the Cape Town Children’s Choir. Email Bronwen Leith at ctcchoir@beausoleil.org.za for more information and an application form.