By Shitemi Khamadi
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa has asserted that under his leadership, they will continue to support the Safaricom Youth Orchestra, a sigh of relief for the young artists who benefit from its learning, honing their skills in various instruments.
Speaking at the seventh graduation ceremony, he affirmed that music has many benefits to people and he looks forward to seeing the young people grow to contribute more to society.
“More studies show that music has a profound positive impact on student’s ability to do well academically. In fact, learning music enhances the physical structures of the brain to deliver advantages in almost every academic subject,” he said.
The theme for this year was Nurturing a Generation of Leaders. It is driven from the understanding that this marks the beginning of many musical careers.
Mr. Ndegwa was elated to be the Chief Guest, asserting that previous graduates proceed to start music groups to entertain and earn a living, something he looks forward to.
Cyndicate Kabei, a 2021 graduate and French Horn Player noted, “I started playing the French horn four years ago when I joined the Ghetto Classics program. I have also been a proud member of the Safaricom Youth Orchestra over the last three years. Music is an integral part of my life, and the orchestra has allowed me to nurture my talents, explore music and gain exposure with world-renowned artists in the industry.”
The Safaricom Youth Orchestra draws 45 percent of its students from public schools, 30 percent from the Ghetto Classics program, and 25 percent from private schools.
Joe Ogutu, Safaricom Chief Special Projects Officer added, “we are living in unprecedented times, but despite current challenges, you have all been resilient and adapted to our new reality. We are truly proud of your hard work and perseverance.”
Due to the disruptions brought about by the pandemic last year, Safaricom provided over 80 members of the orchestra with 4 G-enabled mobile handsets and airtime to enable them to attend rehearsals virtually.
Speaking at the celebrations, Mrs. Wambui Collymore, Bob Collymore’s wife stated that the Safaricom Youth Orchestra began when Bob went to Austria and watched an orchestra performance by children. “He felt that that was something Kenya should also have, and he came back and formed SYO,” Mrs. Wambui Collymore added.
This year, 11 students graduated.
The orchestra’s year is divided into three terms, May to July, August to December and finally January to April, when the students who have completed high school graduate.
Over 130 students have graduated so far and progressed to pursue their university education, specializing in different disciplines.