Warwick music teacher helps orphans
UGANDAN children living in orphanages in Kampala are being encouraged to play musical instruments thanks to the combined forces of a Warwick teacher and the Coventry firm behind a unique invention.
Simon Hogg, director of music at Warwick School, got involved in the African project after learning from an airline pilot about the inspirational work being done with children who have been taken off the the street and into orphanages as a result of Aids and extreme poverty.
“The estimate is that some 60 per cent of children in Kampala are in this situation.”
At a school concert Mr Hogg got into conversation with airline pilot Graham Smith, the father of one of the Warwick schoolboys who told him about the Brass for Africa charity founded by fellow pilot Jim Trott who tried to teach street children to play instruments during his stopover times in Uganda.
Mr Hogg said: “The idea is that the orphans learn to play or perform and are able to raise a little money which is then saved for them until the time comes when they have to leave the orphanage, at the age of 17 or 18, and look after themselves.
“I knew that Warwick musician Hugh Rashleigh, a former pupil of our school, had invented a plastic trombone, called the pBone, which is being marketed by a company in Coventry called Warwick Music Ltd. These instruments make an amazing sound, even though they are not being manufactured in brass. And they have the added advantage of being light, indestructable and come in a range of jazzy colours.”
Already some 76,000 of the pBones, which are now manufactured in China, have been supplied world wide.
When Mr Hogg approached Warwick Music with a request to send just two of their instruments out to Uganda, director Chris Fower offered to donate 30 in black, yellow and red, the colours of the Ugandan flag, along with 30 music stands and a supply of music. Then he offered to fund the cost of Mr Hogg’s own flight out to Kampala to spend ten days teaching.
Of his trip, Mr Hogg said: “It was a humbling, life-changing experience. I want to go out there again and take some of the young musicians from our school to help with the teaching. These children in the orphanages have so little and are so keen to learn. It makes you value everything.”
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