NIAA music festival roars into life

HARARE - Over 2 000 artistes will feature in the annual National Institute of Allied Arts (NIAA) music festival that will run at various Zimbabwean schools until March 29.

This year’s edition of the event, which began on March 10, has experienced a 10 percent increase in the number of participants.

The festival is being held in Harare at Prince Edward, Twin Rivers and the Harare International School; the Zimbabwe Music Academy in Bulawayo as well as Midlands Christian College in Gweru.

The African music section comprising mbira, marimba and vocals as solos, duets and ensembles has attracted 514 entries.

Eighty nine Marimba ensembles and 48 choirs form the bulk of the entries in the African music section that kicks off on March 17 at the Beit Hall, Prince Edward School.

The highlight of the African music section is the Marimba Challenge set for March 26 in which the best senior school will be presented with the Kutinya Trophy and while the junior schools will battle it out for the Nic Manomano Trophy.

The adjudicator for the African music section is South African Anthony Caplan who gained vast experience in African traditional and world music under the direction of Professor Andrew Tracey who adjudicated the African music classes during the NIAA festival.

This year’s Western music section has 861 instrumental entries, 29 of which are bands or orchestras while the vocal section has attracted 148 choirs.

The Western music section’s main highlight will be the March 26 Vocal Challenge in which soloists will battle it out for the Peter Bosley, Monica Trollope and Harry Tudball Memorial trophies.

The instrumental adjudicator for the Western section is Zimbabwe-born Professor Andrew Sherwood who has adjudicated for the NIAA twice before and conducted Zimbabwe’s National Musicamp in 2012. 

Sherwood, who also conducts a number of orchestras, is currently the professor of violin at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

The respected violin expert will run a couple of workshops in Bulawayo where some Western instrumental classes will be adjudicated for the first time in many years.

Ainsley Ryan, a well-known mezzo soprano in the United States of America who relocated to Zimbabwe with her family four years ago, will adjudicate the Western vocalists.

The vocalists will compete at Prince Edward School in the chapel and the music centre while the choirs will be at Harare International School and Twin Rivers School from March 26 to 27.

Though the over 2 000 entrants in this year’s festival will be scrapping for over 60 trophies, the losing candidates will get consolation from the fact that every participant will receive a certificate of performance.

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