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STEEL DRUM FESTIVAL (article first published : 2002-08-20)

The eighth annual People’s Bank Steel Drum Festival will take place at the Durban Botanic Gardens on August 24 from 10h00 to 17h00. An estimated 3,000 children from six community steel drum centres and some 21 individual schools in the greater Durban region will compete for this year’s trophies. The children will be bussed to the venue from diverse townships and districts including Chesterville, Umlazi, Amanzimtoti, Montclair, Tongaat and Hillcrest.

“The top bands will compete at professional level,” says Bryan Clarke, Steel Drum Foundation director. “Each band gets to play just two tunes, and has about six minutes to make their mark. Each will be accompanied by a professional drummer. Children from the various community centres will receive transport to and from the festival, and each child will be provided with food during the day.”

Spearheaded by Clarke and his co-director Dobri Paliev, the Steel Drum Foundation is run with the help of six teachers, who have been trained to work at the organisation’s community centers where many hundreds of children have been taught music skills as a means to life-enhancing social upliftment.

This year’s festival will include a guest appearance by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra who will perform between 12h30 and 13h30.

A special feature of this year’s event will be the attendance of some 750 children from various regions around Durban, who will be hosted by the Orphans of Aids Trust. Initiated by Independent Newspapers, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Edison Health, and the European Union Consular Corps, the Trust aims to gather urgently needed funds to provide resources and support for the hundreds of thousands of children expected to be orphaned by AIDS in KZN in the next few years. A second broad thrust of the partnership is to promote voluntary counselling and testing for HIV and to encourage people to know their status, allowing them to make life-sustaining choices.

Tickets at the door R10 (R5 children).




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