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DURBAN MUSIC SCHOOL & CELL C (article first published : 2003-08-19)

The Durban Music School, situated in St Andrews Street in Durban, is about to undergo a major revamp - thanks to Cell C. The first of its kind in Durban, the new school provides various music genres including classical and jazz music lessons to a large number of students.

The School is housed in a 140 year-old elegant building and will be renamed "Durban Music School proudly sponsored by Cell C”.

Run by Werner Dannewitz, one of South Africa's most experienced and dedicated music teachers, the school aims to assist students mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their dreams of becoming respected and professional classical musicians.

Several well-known musicians have come on board. One of the school's patrons is Bongani Tembe, CEO and Artistic Director of KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Werner Dannewitz is well-known to concertgoers as a clarinettist who often appears with the KZNPO. He worked tirelessly with the then Natal Lotto to find premises for a new school after the old Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Pinetown music schools were disbanded by the provincial department of education in 1998.

At the impressive launch on August 15, Werner Dannewitz proudly announced the realisation of his dream and gratefully acknowledged the sponsorship of R1 million from Cell C over the next two years to cover the running costs of the DMS until it becomes self-funding.

Cell C CEO and Chairman, Tallat Laham encouraged businesses to support the school’s bursary plans which aims to provide up to 300 annual bursaries for disadvantaged children. To date, 25 bursaries are in place. “We believe the school is vital,” he said, “not just as an education institution but as a way for society to express its joys and sorrows in a constructive, creative and collaborative way. Also, people who sing and dance and play together have a far better chance of moving forward as a coherent and productive community than those who don’t.”

He added that research showed that young people who learned to play musical instruments invariably performed better than their peers in academic subjects. “The joy and discipline of mastering an instrument gives a child the confidence to tackle other difficult subjects,” he said.

Cell C's Corporate Social Investment manager Itumeleng Letebele said the venture will give the company an opportunity to enhance the learning experience for students through music.

The school boasts two bands, one of which – the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Wind Band – has twice won international awards. The Siyacula Community Music Centre Ensemble has performed with the Harringay Orchestra in London.

Lessons take place in the afternoons from 14h00 during the terms of the academic year. Students can hire instruments fro the school at a fee that covers regular maintenance of the instruments. Teachers are drawn from the ranks of the KZNPO and adults can take lessons at the school in the mornings or evenings.

The Durban Music School forms part of the upliftment of the Albert Park area and will host the jazz component of the forthcoming Awesome Africa Festival.

Contact the Durban Music School on 031 304 1001.




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