Local news

Con Amore School hosts music festival for youth with disabilities

The Field Band Foundation proved to the Kempton Park community that even with disabilities children can still participate in music.

Con Amore School in Kempton Park was filled with music lovers when the Music for All Youth Day Celebration started on June 8.

The event aimed to showcase that even youth with disabilities can enjoy music.

The Field Band Foundation National Band, Hoërskool Birchleigh Field Band and Alexandra Field Band joined the Con Amore School Field Band to give Kempton Park residents a musical showcase.

A Field Band Foundation dancer.
Photo: Masego Mashilo

ALSO READ: Norkem Park Primary hosts annual netball festival

Con Amore is for learners with severe intellectual disabilities, including autism and specific learning requirements from the age of six to 20.

Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that can affect social interaction, communication and behaviour.

Con Amore School and Intervention Centre and the Birchleigh High School Field Band joined forces in March 2024 to launch a music and dance programme as part of Con Amore’s all-encompassing educational strategy for children with complicated challenges.

The programme aligned with the Field Band’s goal of using music to promote diversity.

Su Lubner of the Lubner Foundation. Photo: Masego Mashilo

The non-profit Field Band Foundation uses marching bands and music’s transforming potential to promote positive youth development.

The Field Band Foundation strives to develop the inner strengths of young people in remote and underserved communities in SA to promote positive life changes, realising these individuals experience rising levels of adversity.

ALSO READ: Locals enjoy World of Food and Drink Festival at Emperors

The Field Band Foundation’s senior regional operations manager, Peter Aaron, directed the event.
Con Amore School principal Malose Manakana hopes his learners will be able to express themselves better through music.

“My children cannot read or write, and most community members forget that everyone lives with some disability.
“It takes a lot to work with learners with disabilities. Most people are afraid of them and call them names.

“I sat down with the Field Band team and told them that if they love my learners, they will return the same love.

“This is another way my learners can express themselves because most cannot talk or write, but through music, they were able to express themselves,” said Manakana.

The ice chairperson of Field Band Foundation, Bernard Agulhas, ward councillors Tracey Lourenco and Amanda Davison, Field Band Foundation CEO Wilna de Beer and Su Lubner of the Lubner Foundation welcomed the attendees.

Parachute play class were led by Megan Biermann. Photo: Masego Mashilo

The celebration saw the Field Band Mass Band perform We Are the World. The Birchleigh High School Field Band joined hands with the Con Amore Field Band for a performance and showed off the talents of the Con Amore learners.

“This event comes a long way. The Field Band Foundation has valued inclusivity and realised children in every community live with disabilities.

“It has always been a passion of Field Band to include such children. Music is a wonderful thing for brain development,” De Beer said.

ALSO READ: Locals have fun at pumpkin festival in Pomona

The Alexandra Field Band showcased its talents to the community when two learners demonstrated that no disability could stop them from doing what they love in solo performances.

The rhythm in style class led by Boyce Lepono.
Photo: Masego Mashilo

Prince Ngcangula entertained the guests with his dance moves, and Laigon Linder sang for those in attendance.

The Field Band Foundation’s national operations manager, Ushama Ross Jerrier, said the collaboration was a fantastic initiative for the learners. She said music brings people together, and the Con Amore learners responded well to the programme.

“Although they were sceptical at first, not knowing if they would be able to do it, they prevailed at the end.

A Birchleigh High School learner shares her experience with the Field Band Foundation.
Photo: Masego Mashilo

We use music for social cohesion simply because music is the language common to everyone, regardless of their ability. There are no boundaries in expressing oneself through music. We use that to bring young children together.

“There were some concerns before working here, wondering if we were ready and would be able to get through some of the obstacles, but the response and results are priceless,” Ross Jerrier said.

The parents were encouraged to join various classes with their children. The Field Band tutors led the classes, and the parents were advised to be patient with their children and encourage them.

Ward Clr Tracey Lourenco. Photo: Masego Mashilo

ALSO READ: Festival raises funds to fight breast cancer

The Music for All Youth Day Celebration programme officer, Godfrey Molele, said putting the event together had its challenges.

“This helped us learn a lot. We all grew through putting this collaboration together. The learners were happy when we introduced music to them. They felt needed, loved, welcomed and valued because of the experience,” Molele said.

Con Amore School learners received awards to thank them for participating and encourage them.

The Field Band Foundation open the event. Photo: Masego Mashilo
Back to top button