Boksburg, Gauteng Province
This year, close on 90 different schools and institutions will be descending for the eighth Education Africa International Marimba and Steelpan Festival and will see over 2000 participants with kids travelling from as far as Zimbabwe, Botswana and Nigeria,” says Joan Lithgow, Marimba Specialist and Director of the International Marimba and Steelpan.
Education Africa launched its International Marimba and Steelpan Festival (The Festival) in 2012 to create an awareness worldwide of the educational value that marimba playing has while also creating an international platform for our marimba and steelpan players in South Africa to perform on.”
The Festival has become one of the largest of its kind in the world and takes place annually in Boksburg over a period of two days. It is fully inclusive and caters for people from all walks of life including deaf and special needs bands. Over the weekend, marimba and steelpan bands take part in various competitions divided into age sections and various categories. A prominent feature at The Festival includes fringe events which feature guest performances and approximately 90 workshops.
“500 disadvantaged children are also being looked after over the weekend, with The Festival sponsoring meals, some accommodation and transport,” says Lithgow.
In order to facilitate the tightly timed competitions, two sets of adjudicators have been selected with each including international and extensive local experience. Adjudicators include five-time Grammy ballot-nominee, Jason “Malletman” Taylor, Sasha Sonnbichler, Nobathembu Yvonne Raedane, Naledi award winning Musical Director, conductor, arranger, composer and educator, Eddie Clayton, Mokale Koapeng and SAMRO award winning composer, Dave Reynolds.
The Festival comprises six sections for Primary Schools, High Schools and Open Bands split between small and large ensembles and within each, a number of categories include Battle of the Bands, In the Mix, Strictly Classical and Proudly South African/African Prestige Bands.
“We would like to take the opportunity to thank our sponsors, especially Business Arts SA (BASA) and the SAMRO FOUNDATION for their continued support. We’d also like to thank the educators and we applaud the considerable effort and hours of learning and practice that each musician has put into their instrument of choice,” concludes Lithgow. “We look forward to another spectacular weekend of incredible music, learning, friendship and camaraderie.”