26 August 2015 Volume :3 Issue :39

School of Arts (Music) Participates in National Youth Jazz Festival

School of Arts (Music) Participates in National Youth Jazz Festival
Professor Cheryl Potgieter (centre), Ms Debbie Mari (left), and UKZN Music students.

Staff and students from the School of Arts (Music) participated and performed at the National Youth Jazz Festival (NJYF) in Grahamstown.

Part of the National Arts Festival, the NYJF provides performance and educational opportunities for participants from all over South Africa.

Deputy Vive-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, who spends her winter leave each year at the Festival, said: ‘I will continue to provide the Music Department with support and nurture UKZN talent. I thank Debbi Mari and her team for their ongoing commitment.’

Supported by the College of Humanities, first year Diploma in Jazz and Popular Music student, bass guitarist Mr Dalisu Ndlazi, was selected for the prestigious National Youth Jazz Band to be directed by Johannesburg-based UKZN alumnus Concord Nkabinde. ‘I’m excited to be a part of this and grateful to the Music Department, the DVC and the College for their support,’ said Ndlazi.

Top international and national musicians and teachers gathered for the week-long NYJF which includes the Standard Bank Jazz Festival. The NYJF brings together 250 top young jazz musicians – they audition to get into the National Youth and National Schools Jazz Bands - 35 jazz educators and 80 jazz performers from South Africa and around the world.

Lecturer in the UKZN Jazz Studies programme, Ms Debbie Mari, performed with the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, taught in the vocal jazz team and directed the Jazz Choir. ‘The Festival showcases the diversity of jazz talent among the youth and when you witness this, you rest assured that the future of jazz in South Africa is in very good hands,’ said Mari.

‘This is also an important jazz development programme in the country and when we consider how little music education is available to learners in schools, jazz performers and educators are always eager to participate.’

A group of Music students from the Jazz Studies programme, who were coached throughout the first semester by part-time Lecturer, Mr Burton Naidoo, also attended the Festival and presented a well-received concert, which included some of their original compositions and a selection of jazz and South African standards.

 Melissa Mungroo

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