In February 2013, Raymond Engelbrecht approached me wanting to know if Timberlea Farm would be interested in developing a programme with the University of Stellenbosch whereby the final year music students would work with our farm children – developing a love of music and teaching the children to play musical instruments. As part of their degree at the University, the final year students have to spend some time working with the community.
Pamela Kierman and Felicia Lesch, music lecturers at the University, both had the foresight to see the potential of this project and invited me to give a presentation to the students.
Little did I dream how the project would develop in the next few months!
There were three students – Lauren du Plooy, Lise Morrison and Rebecca Baatjes who came to Timberlea Farm every Thursday afternoon. They never missed a week even coming during exam times, holiday times and through our very, very wet winter. It was the highlight of the children’s week and was a means for us to increase attendance at the Learning Centre as the children were only allowed to attend the music lesson if they had attended the Centre the rest of the week. All of a sudden, we had 100% attendance at our Learning Centre.
The children loved it and it was wonderful to see the way in which they developed not just musically but also working as a group with a common goal – each one contributing towards making music as a group.
The highlight for the children was the concert attended by the public on Thursday 10th October. At this concert, it was announced that two of the children would be given lessons at Stellenbosch University next year learning to play the trumpet. Thank you, Lauren!! What an amazing opportunity for these two boys…
This has truly been an amazing project – where three very dedicated, committed, focused students have made a huge difference to 15 farm children – children who would never previously have had this opportunity. One of the concerns raised at my initial presentation was the sustainability of such a project. After attending the concert – and seeing what has been achieved – I have no doubt that this initiative is going to get huge support from the University next year.
~ Marion Jeffery, Project Coordinator, Timberlea ~