04.06.2021 marked a very special day for PULSE, on this day, 20 years ago, the first participant contracts for the partnership were signed. A special day indeed, as it was the foundation that the next 20 years were built upon. This is the 20th birthday of the partnership and we will celebrate this joyous event throughout the year as we continue with the 20th anniversary celebrations.
For 20 years, the partnership has helped broadening horizons, led to incredible journeys and affected more lives than we can count. Looking back at the stories that has been made, we forge on into the future together in partnership, because we are strongest together.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Here is to 20 more years of making a difference.
As the month of May is nearing its end it`s nice to look back and reflect on what a joyous time it has been with celebrations and festivities in both South Africa and Norway. On 17 May, Norway celebrated its Constitution Day, which was marked by nationwide activities. Since this is a special year for us all, with the ongoing pandemic and the 20th anniversary of the partnership between FBF and NMF, an extraordinary performance was put together.
The PULSE team and FBF arranged a fantastic greeting and Constitution Day wishes for their friends in Norway. The show was live streamed in Norway on NMF’s Facebook page, if you missed it, you can see the stream on the PULSE YouTube channel right now.
May is a wonderful month filled with friendship and joy, yet, it is important to remember that not everyone has the possibility to join in on these celebrations. For some, these days can be a struggle, and for that reason we should all reflect on why we are blessed. While also thinking on how to include and help those that might not be as fortunate. Friendship is just as much about inclusion as it is being together. Do not forget that some might sit in silence, waiting for an opportunity to be included, we should all hold this in mind as the celebrations continue into the month of June. Friendship is about inclusion and PULSE encourages everyone to be inclusive.
The PULSE team is happy to announce that the blog will from now also include a story from one of our distinguished Alumni once a month. This part of the blog will be a video or a personal picture with a special story. This is a recognition and celebration of our friends whom have participated in the PULSE program or the Bands Crossing Borders (BCB) exchange in previous years. We are happy to share their stories with our readers and hope that they can be an inspiration while also providing some insights into what the exchange has meant to the participants.
Our first story is from Marit Bakken, a BCB participant all the way back in 2006. In her video, she talks about what BCB and the exchange did for her, and how she used her experience to further her career. Thank you, Marit, for the story of your success!
Virtual Education Band Visit.
May is a month of celebrating friendship for PULSE and it has also been a month filled with educational activities for FBF field staff. PULSE and FBF Education (FBE) are currently hosting Virtual Education Band Visits with various field bands. Educational Band Visits (VEBV) is a process where FBE and PULSE renders educational activities virtually to field staff members. These sessions are held online for four hours with three different bands at a time. The purpose of the VEBV is to enhance the knowledge and teaching skills of the field staff on music theory, lifeskills and how to manage the projects.
First three bands that received the pleasure of being visited virtually was Plett Pioneers Field Band (Plettenburg bay), Springs Field Band (Johannesburg) and Alexandra Field Band (Johannesburg). Over a period of three days, field staff will attended one session a day with the PULSE participants and education facilitators. On the fourth day, an evaluation will be held, in order to provide feedback and thoughts on how the VEBV went and could be improved. In the evaluation meeting, all field staff members from the different field bands gather together in a virtual meeting.
Topics that were held in the different sessions were music theory, team dynamics and self-care. The music theory sessions were facilitated by Khayalethu Benela and Peter Maluleke. The team dynamics session was facilitated by Jacob Mhlapeng and Nomkhosi Mnisi. Lastly, Solvor Vermeer and Franqo Ntshole held the self-care sessions.
The VEBV was greatly received by the field staff and they requested more of these sessions to be held frequently. More VEBVs are scheduled for the other bands with the same topics to be covered in the next coming weeks.
The month of May is finally here. A month spent in celebration both in South Africa and Norway, where friends and family gather to join in on the merrymaking. Get your fine clothing out from the closet and get ready for a month of celebrations.
For Africa Month and Africa Day the PULSE team have prepared several different events, in collaboration with FBF and NMF. The friendship between our two host organisations is as strong as ever, despite the exchange being digital this year. On the 17th of May, the Norwegian Constitution Day, the South members of PULSE will be joining in on NMF’s celebratory livestream with a musical piece, a wonderful display of friendship and collaboration. Follow the livestream here : https://fb.me/e/p3Vf9i9wY It will go live from 07am to 13.pm, and our South Participants will play live at ca 09.45am.
In addition to this, PULSE have been working hard writing and arranging music for the Field band. This music will be distributed to the bands on the field, with the aim of being performed on Africa Day. All the field bands will be celebrating this day with friends and family throughout their respective regions. Regalia and traditional attires will be the order of the day with traditional music from different cultures.
In Norway, May is also a month packed with events, such as Ascension Day, Constitution Day, Pentecost and Confirmations. Bunads are being cleaned and ironed, ready to be used on the 17th of May, despite large parts of the normal celebrations beings cancelled due to restrictions. That will however not stop most from dressing up nicely and partake in the celebrations from home. Bunad is the national costume of Norway, the cut and colors of the Bunad represents the region you are from.
With so many different celebratory days lined up, there is no shortage of opportunities to go out and have some fun, in a safe manner of course. The PULSE team is also making sure that there are events planned throughout the month, and we hope all of our friends out there will join us.
This week the PULSE team is going through with Virtual Educational Band visits, or VEBV, as it is called in the office. Since travel is restricted and the North participants are stuck in Norway, organising the band visits virtually allows them to join in, despite the great distance between our two respective countries. It is exciting that these visits are happening, as it will give members of the PULSE team the chance to meet old acquaintances and rekindle the friendship that was built in previous years. It will also give the newest members of the PULSE team, Sofia and Nicholas, a great chance to take part in meeting with the different bands and introduce themselves. Who knows, perhaps new friendships will arise just as old ones are renewed.
During VEBV, the PULSE team will be virtually visiting three bands a day where they will be teaching three different topics. Topics to be taught are music theory, lifeskills, self-care, team dynamics (how to work as a team), “The Challenge of the year” and evaluation. The purpose of these workshops are to upskill the staff members with the correct knowledge of running the bands and making sure that the team dynamics are understood. This is why upskilling is so important, making sure that the bands are running smoothly, while also being a safe haven for everyone is what FBF and PULSE strives for. The bands are not only a place of learning, but also a place to developing oneself in different ways, yet most importantly; it is a place where friendships take root and grows.
As most have experienced first-hand, the pandemic is forcing us to find new ways of working together. The change from physical contact, whether it be in the office, out in the field or in school, into a digital space has been a challenge. It is not a medium that is suited for all, technological limitations and know-how may present unforeseen challenges that needs to be overcome.
The PULSE project is not exempt from this challenge, especially considering that the exchange is not happening physically. Because of this, new ways of working together have been explored, and I am pleased to say that the PULSE team is now thriving in their new digital office. Previously the exchange meant that one team would travel to Norway and one team to South Africa, these two teams would have very few meeting points, yet both teams worked for the same project.
Today, in the digital landscape, the PULSE team is working more closely together than ever before. Joint projects with participants from both teams, collaboration and cooperation has nothing but increased since the project went digital. This is of course not without a few bumps along the road, but the amount of growth PULSE has gone through is staggering. As of now, the North Participants and South Participants are working together on a daily basis, with meetings, phone calls and e-mails going back and forth all day long. At no time previously have the two teams collaborated and grown together as they have now.
It is not only the PULSE team that has seen growth when it comes to collaboration, our two host organisations, FBF and NMF have also been working more closely together, as evident from the Activity Library that was recently published on YouTube. Another point of cooperation is the Praktikant programme and FeriePULSE, which will take place later this year in Norway. This time the Praktikant programme will be held digitally. Something which is very good news. Instead of cancelling it, due to the pandemic and restrictions. Work has been set in motion to re-create this as a digital event, with North and South participants working closely together to make this happen. By having it held digitally, it will reach out to more participants than previously as distance, travel arrangements and the budgetary costs of hosting a physical event is no longer a hindrance. If all goes accordingly, the FeriePULSE will be held physically in June, given that the Norwegian government allows it, something that all of us are hoping they will. The amount of individual and team wide growth the PULSE team has seen is something to behold, as digital upskilling has become an everyday part of the job now. Yet, even when the team is working from opposite sides of the world, the collaboration never ceases. Examples of cross team cooperation is amongst others, but not limited to; the alumni survey, workshop contents, social media posts, 20th anniversary material, life skills, e-learning, and many more
Working in a digital space has its ups and downs for sure, and not being able to meet up in person can sometimes weigh on the team as they work together, so in order to keep the PULSE team happy and thriving in a digital landscape, there has been appointed a Digital Wellbeing Officer(DWO). This person, Solvor, is making sure that the team has all the resources they need to work together. The DWO is also in charge of creating a space where the team can meet up and informally chat amongst each other, just like a cantina or break room functions in a physical office. Having an informal meeting space, where chit chat and banter flow loosely is a great thing, and it is really helpful to help alleviate the stress from constantly having to work online. Meeting up, drinking some coffee, tea or cocoa while having a laugh with our colleagues is so invaluable time and does wonders to keep the team connected and growing closer together, despite the distance between us.
The Activity Library is now published on YouTube! Look through the different playlists and find a great variety of content for many different occasions. There are icebreakers to make introductions easier and energizers to keep the group active and engaged. How about learning something new? The Body Percussion playlist provides fun new ways of creating rhythms and beats with your hands or simple tools. Drill instructors may also find videos with examples that they can use during rehearsals.
Use the Activity Library to foster growth both personal and professional. The content on the channel will also grow with time, as new content is created and uploaded. So check back regularly, or subscribe to the channel to be notified when new content is uploaded. Seeing the channel visited and the videos used are the goals of the channel.
We hope that the content available now and in the future will inspire new uses, variety and provide an alternative approach to structuring band rehearsals or workshops. Explore the channel and the different playlists, there is content for everyone to use. It can be mentioned that in light of the global pandemic, special playlists have been created with COVID friendly activities. Such activities can be used in a safe manner, providing both safety for the participants as well as a fun activity they can engage in.
It is a piece of pride for us, to have this channel up and running with the content that has been created over the years. We hope that everyone working with and for bands in the Field Band Foundation and the Norwegian Band Federation can both use the content we present to further the growth between the organisations and the development of their members alike.
Author: Nicholas Bahrawy
NMF and FBF; 20 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP
Flamingo View Estate, Kimberly: On 26 March 2021 Norges Musikkorps Forbund and the Field Band Foundation hosted a gathering with its exchange alumni, celebrating the organisations’ 20years of partnership through music and dance. This celebration was a milestone, as it was the first gathering of the alumni with some of the former FBF South Participants. The alumni band entertained the distinguished guest who graced the event with their presence, and it was nothing short of fun.
The festivities of this auspicious event were also to celebrate the alumni and keep contact with them as they have played a vital role in the success and continuity of the partnership. Out of 19 alumni who were invited from the Northern Cape, 16 managed to come and celebrate together with everyone, hailing from all parts of the region. Currently there are 74 alumni across South Africa who have participated in the Bands Crossing Boarders and the PULSE programme.
The event was filled with fun activities such as ‘Pass the Gift’, whereby all the guests were taking part. Small Giras, https://youtu.be/zzKhGzP6oT4 the Field Band mascot, were shared amongst the guests and the alumni who were present at the event. Dineo Mthimunye, who is an alumni, told everyone about the concept of Gira and how she represents most of the kids in the Field Band Foundation. Nicolette du Plessis, CEO of the Field Band Foundation, spoke highly of the exchange programme and how it was brought to life. She mentioned the positive impact that PULSE and BCB had brought to the members of the Field Band and it has inspired many members to be part of the exchange.
The alumni band entertained the guests, taking them down the Field Band memory lane with songs such as Amavololo and Ubuhle Bendoda, which left everybody clapping, singing, and dancing. Bruce Veldman, who is an alumnus, gave a wonderful speech on how the PULSE programme became a steppingstone in becoming a positive and a vibrant man that he has become. Today, Bruce is a sergeant in the South African Police Band and was one of the top 10 candidates for the Mr South Africa Pageant in 2020.
Thuli Mpse, the Chairperson of the Field band Foundation, closed the event with a speech thanking everyone who came to the event. Thuli shared her vision on how she would like to expand the field bands to other provinces of South Africa so they can reach all the young people in the country.
It is mid-March and the PULSE team is hard at work with the SO workshop and creating new exciting content for the 20th anniversary!
This week some of the PULSE team are hosting a SO workshop, which is great news. In these trying times, being capable of hosting an event in person and not through a screen is refreshing. Our team has gone to great lengths to make this workshop safe, educational and fun for everyone involved. Providing safety for the participants is one of our highest priorities besides delivering thoughtful high quality content in the workshop. South Africa is currently in-between waves, which means that since the workshop is Covid-compliant, it is allowed to be hosted in person and not digitally. Had it been held in Norway, it would have been fully digital, as the situation there is wave 3, causing most regions to be at red threat levels. PULSE is happy to report that the workshop is both safe and going splendidly for both the participants and hosts.
PULSE video: Social Officers going in side the Sanitizing booth during the workshop.
Besides the workshop that is ongoing, the team is actively engaged in creating content for the upcoming anniversary. The new symbol and slogan for 2021 is already in place, so is the kickoff video that was created to highlight the years and years of collaboration and cooperation, which PULSE is proud to be a part of. Difficulties present themselves in many forms, some that force the team to think outside of the box or perhaps figure out new ways of working together. Load shedding is a constant disruption to the workflow, as is the distance between the team members, with collaboration being done across many kilometers and borders. For those unfamiliar with the term, load shedding is a planned power outage in a specific area. Is it not remarkable to think that the PULSE team is divided by over 10 000 kilometers at the most, from Senja in northern Norway to Johannesburg.
Sofia and Nicholas, PULSEs newest members, have now been a part of the team for a good six weeks, in this time they have been getting to know the rest of the PULSE team and have eagerly taken on work tasks of their own. It will be exciting to see what this year has in store for them. Both of them are working on content that will be a part of the anniversary celebrations. New music is in the works, which is great news. The YouTube channel is undergoing some work and will be made available again soon, with loads of content to be enjoyed, from music and Gira, to games and activities. The Activity Library, which some might be familiar with, will be made available for everyone on the YouTube channel. It features organized playlists that is easily navigated to find the content of choice, be it Covid-compliant activities or entertaining ways to create music. PULSE hopes that this will be an inspiration for our viewers, make use of the library once published and get inspired.
That is not all that is being worked on, so be sure to stay tuned, as content will be published regularly in the weeks and months ahead. On behalf of FBF, NMF and PULSE, join us in celebrating our 20th anniversary of partnership and collaboration
The Field Band Foundation (FBF) and Norges Musikkorps Forbund (NMF) (The Norwegian Band Federation) celebrate 20 years of partnership in 2021. The Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec) has enabled us to be stronger together through mutual exchange of personnel and sharing of knowledge with a social focus on impact on various levels. We believe we have played an important role to the world with the elements of musicking, lifeskills, social inclusion and bringing people together. Music Matters because it has a unique way of teaching us how to be together in different and better ways, especially in this strange COVID-19 environment.
The 20th anniversary will be a series of events planned in South Africa and Norway. The need for physical distancing following Covid-19 has put a pause on what is considered important socializing activities such as family gatherings, leisure activities, school, as well as work. This has challenged people’s perceptions on how we can stay socially connected. 20 years of partnership has taught us that physical distancing does not necessarily equal social distancing or disconnection. It is our experience that the social connection within the partnership remains strong despite physical separation. We are strongest together.
The anniversary programme consists of the following key-components:
A new 20th anniversary symbol has been created and will be used on the organisation’s email signatures for this year. Our slogan for this year is Strongest Together.
Alumni surveys, collection of success stories and measurement activities on organisational level will help us to develop and grow as organisations and partners and inspire us to new thinking on defining a road ahead for exchanges and partnerships within the new normal.
A kick-off video to launch the 20-year anniversary is shared on both organisation’s social media platforms.
30-second video clips will be shared from former exchange participants with greetings and well-wishes for the 20 years of partnership. This will bring us closer to our alumni and create greater awareness of our celebration.
Iconic exchange pictures telling a stories from previous years will be shared online weekly to remind us of the wonderful things that come out of a long-term collaboration.
Social media frames and stickers containing the new slogan and symbol will be shared with the members of the organisations and the public to help us celebrate our anniversary.
Awareness events on a local level in both countries will happen to share the story about how music and connectivity matters and lead to positive change.
An anniversary musical piece will be created and shared with members in both organisations, ensuring a common understanding of how we can be ‘strongest together’ across continents. This will also be especially showcased on commemorative days and events like Africa month, Youth Day, Heritage Day and Norwegian independence days (17th of May)
We are proud to announce and introduce the 2021 PULSE team. As of 01.02.2021, the PULSE team has been officially complete and getting ready to take off. 2021 is and will be a unique year for this exchange program. The North and the South participants will be working as one team, carrying out tasks to meet FBF and NMF goals. The other unique factor about this exchange is that, it is not an ordinary exchange whereby North Participants travel to South Africa and South Participants travel to Norway. On this exchange, the participants will be based in their home countries carrying out their duties and communicating extensively through various digital platforms.
Sofia Mahan, Nicholas Bahrawy, Ingrid Thorstensen, and Solvor Vermeer are this year’s North Participants. Ingrid and Solvor has a wide experience working with PULSE. These two have been involved in the project for several years. Sofia and Nicholas are new participants in the team.
The South Participants team remains unchanged. This team consists of Jacob Mhlapeng, Nomkhosi Mnisi, Khayalethu Benela, and Franqo Ntshole. They are situated at the FBF head office in Johannesburg.
PULSE team possesses a magnificent skill set and a wide range of experience. Amongst the skills sets there are, trained musical therapist, musical competency from international countries such as England and Sweden, experience in teaching at culture schools and bands, experience in digital culture, digital architecture, digital transformation, music performers, music composers/arrangers and critical thinkers among the rest.
It is going to be an extraordinary year, and the PULSE team has hit the ground running
Way back in 2014-2015, when PULSE 2 was on exchange, the Activity Library was born. It is a video collection of activities and games meant as inspiration for field band staff when planning and executing life skills sessions, band rehearsals and workshops. These videos were filmed during band visits and workshops around South Africa. In the years following PULSE 2 several more videos were added. 12 videos were also made in Norway in the spring and summer of 2020 by the South Participants of PULSE 7 in collaboration with Norges Musikkorps Forbund (NMF). Now, all these videos have been gathered in one place and will be made digitally available to POs and SOs on their devices.
The activities in the Activity Library have been divided into seven categories to make it easier to find an activity that suits your needs. Are you trying to break out of your routine and to do something new when teaching music theory? Do you need a game to make the members listen to each other more? Are the members tired when coming from long school days and need to get some energy? Whatever the scenario, someone else may have already thought of an activity for it!
The categories in the Activity Library are:
Ideas for new ways of teaching
Creative Corner (new)
During this year it has been challenging to plan rehearsals and to find activities that can safely be done while maintaining proper social distancing to avoid spreading COVID-19. Field band rehearsals should be safe and fun for everyone to participate in, and to ensure this each category has two folders. These will be marked “COVID-19 friendly activities” which can be used now while remembering to safely maintain social distancing, and “other activities” which should be saved for after the pandemic.
PULSE and Field Band Education are proud to relaunch the Activity Library to field band staff with the hopes that this will lead to many great moments in field bands across all of South Africa!
I 2014-2015 da PULSE 2 var på utveksling ble prosjektet Activity Library startet. Det er en videosamling med aktiviteter og leker som er ment til å være til inspirasjon for field band-ansatte når de planlegger og gjennomfører undervisning i livsmestring, korpsøvelser og lengre workshops. Videoene ble filmet under besøk til field bands i hele Sør-Afrika, og i årene som fulgte ble enda flere aktiviteter filmet. I tillegg lagde de sørafrikanske PULSE-deltakerne 12 videoer for Norges Musikkorps Forbund (NMF) i løpet av våren og sommeren 2020. Nå har vi samlet alle disse videoene på et sted, og de vil bli gjort digitalt tilgjengelige for de som jobber i Field Band Foundation som Project Officer (PO) og Social Officer (SO).
Aktivitetene i Activity Library har blitt delt inn i sju kategorier for å gjøre det enklere å finne fram til en aktivitet etter behov. Prøver du å bryte rutinen og gjøre noe nytt når du underviser i musikkteori? Trenger du en lek som oppfordrer musikantene til å lytte mer til hverandre? Er musikantene trøtte etter en lang skoledag og trenger litt ekstra energi? Noen andre kan ha hatt akkurat samme scenario på sin øvelse og tenkt på en aktivitet som passer situasjonen!
Kategoriene i Activity Library er som følger:
Ice breakers: Bli-kjent leker
Energizers: Leker for å øke energinivået
Team builders: Leker som oppfordrer til samarbeid
Ideas for new ways of teaching: Nye ideer til undervisningen
Dance (new): Danseaktiviteter
Creative Corner (new): Det kreative hjørnet – lag instrumenter, leker eller lær et nytt spill
Dette året har det vært utfordrende å planlegge gode øvelser og finne aktiviteter og leker som fremdeles kan gjøres med god avstand for å senke risikoen for å spre COVID-19. Målet er at field band-øvelser skal være trygge for alle og gøy å delta på. For å oppnå dette er hver kategori delt inn i to mapper: «COVID-19 friendly activities» for aktiviteter som kan gjøres mens man holder god avstand, og «other activities» som bør spares til etter pandemien er over.
PULSE og Field Band Education er stolte av å nå kunne relansere Activity Library til ansatte i Field Band Foundation med håp om at dette vil føre til mange gode øyeblikk i field bands i hele Sør-Afrika!