I was holding my trumpet, packing it away after playing some music with my fellow PULSE participants. We were the musical entertainment that started of a two day long leadership session for the Field Band Foundation. Among the clearly serious and important people in dresses, nice shirts and ties, a mysterious guy with a mischievous smile on his face took a long glance at my instrument;
Mysterious guy: What instrument is that?
Me (proudly): It’s a trumpet, do you want to try?
Mysterious guy (shaking his head): Ooooh a trumpet ha? No I’m too old to learn to play such a thing, I would never manage.
Me: You are never too old, I can teach you, or maybe you would like to start playing in the Field Band? It’s not that hard, it’s easy!
Mysterious guy: No no no no
The mysterious guy rushes away and we all sit down, ready to start the long day ahead of us. Suddenly people are applauding calling out: BRIAN!! The mysterious guy enters the stage with a fancy jazz trumpet. He lifts the trumpet to his lips. WHAAAAAT? I wanted to dig a hole in the ground and sink into it. The guy could play, not only could he play, he was really awesome! Who was this guy? The person next to me looks at me like I’m stupid and tells me that it’s Brian, Brian Thusi, the famous South African Jazz trumpeter and a board member in the FBF. I look up at Brian and can see he is looking at me and smiling from the corner of his cheeks behind the mouthpiece. He had fooled me completely around. I had been talking to him like he was a kid seeing a trumpet for the first time. I had to smile at this joke and give him creds for his sense of humour.
Different voices working together for FBFs future
After Brian Thusis amazing performance I met him and he was laughing at me clearly very proud of his joke. I must admit I wasn’t expecting a famous trumpeter at a strategic planning session for the leadership of the FBF. Neither was I expecting it to be so many interesting and engaging personalities there. It was a true mix of different people that was gathered for this innovative and new way of strategic planning; board members, funders, supporters, head office staff, field band academy staff, project officers and us from PULSE. The entire workshop was led by Chene Swart and focused on group work and narrative story telling.
Through collaborating with people from very different sections of the foundation we were all creating a future narrative for the foundation together. This led to many interesting meetings and conversations. What struck us in PULSE was the way everyone from top to bottom, from tutors to board members to funders all had a huge passion and engagement for the Field Band Foundation and its vision. Even if we had different interests and ideas on how to improve the organisation in a best possible way everyone shared a common passion for South Africa’s youth. Everyone wanted to empower and create opportunities and possibilities for disadvantaged kids through music and dance. After two days with intense discussions, brainstorming and sharing of ideas we felt even more committed to make an effort for the Field Band Foundation. I even discovered a fantastic jazz trumpeter I hadn’t heard of before and ended up buying two of his CDs, I guess Brian Thusi literally fooled me into buying his music.
Pulse Presentation and Survey at the Project Officer Workshop
It’s been busy days for the PULSE teams in South Africa. After the leadership session we participated in a 3 day long Project Officer workshop. Here we managed to conduct our survey and collect the remaining answers we needed from the organisation in order to create statistics. These statistics and survey answers will help us make a status quo report on how the Field Band Foundation understand and work with music, health and social inclusion today. The statistics make it easier for us to map which areas and parts of the organisation need extra focus and which areas are working well. It is also a tool that can make it easier to measure improvements in the organisation in the future.
After conducting this survey PULSE also had a presentation were we together with the Project Officers shared ideas on how the FBF activities can be health beneficial for the members. Many had a physical and hygienic focus on how exercise, clean instruments and learning about diseases made the rehearsals health promoting. Our aim was to point out the mental and social benefits of playing and dancing in a band.
According to the World Health Organisation:
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
We also tried to communicate how empowering and increasing each individual member’s sense of well-being and quality of life would affect not only that one member, but also the community he or she is a part of and in turn the South African society as a whole.
Written by Lisa Svendsen