HHSOM faculty present, teach and perform in Kenya

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Dr. Jean Kidula and Dr. Mitos Andaya were invited to present at the First National Choral Workshop of the Choral Music Society of Kenya at Moi University in Kenya from November 21-26.  In addition to presenting sessions, lectures and rehearsals, both presented performances in the culminating concert of this inaugural workshop of the nation's newest music directors' organization.

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Kidula, associate professor of musicology/ethno-musicology, and Andaya, associate director of choral activities, arrived in Nairobi and travelled to the workshop site in Eldoret, about 5 hours northwest of Nairobi.

The conductor’s workshop, organized by Moi University, Eldoret and Utafiti foundation, had 80 participants and 16 facilitators. They were drawn from 7 out of Kenya’s 8 provinces consisting of college students and professors/lecturers, high school choral directors, as well as church and parastatal organizations’ choral directors. Three of Kenya’s public universities offering music degrees were represented. Dr. Kidula reports that:

Of the 14 paper sessions, we coordinated and gave three presentations. We also held rehearsals three times everyday, once with an advanced group, once with sectionals, and once with all the delegates. The rehearsals were a practical application of the paper presentations and culminated in a concert on the second last day of the gathering. The concert also included  an exchange of music repertoire with Moi University Choir.

Outside of these activities, we also held music theory practicums to enhance the musicianship of the conductors. We received positive feedback everyday from the paper and workshop sessions, related to the repertoire type and approach, to conducting techniques, expectations and interpretation of style, to rehearsal procedures, to musicianship, and aspects of interest to conductors seeking to diversify their repertoire and improve their skills.

As part of our visit’s objectives, we also shared the ways that choral conducting associations in the USA are managed. The organizers and delegates invited us and other UGA faculty and students to future annual workshops and future music department events by Moi University and by two other Universities (Kenyatta and Maseno).

On a side note, following a conversation about music education in high schools in Kenya, one of our graduate students in the School of Music, Benita Gladney, coordinated other students to donate some used instruments to Moi Girls High School in Eldoret.  During our stay in Kenya, we presented the instruments to the school principal and music teachers as part of UGA’s public service.

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