20 years of partnership

‘Strongest Together’

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.

NMF and FBF 20th anniversary symbol

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)
YouTube link to 20th anniversary celebration kick-off video

Author: Khayalethu Benela

Edited by: Jacob Mhlapeng

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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.

2021 PULSE TEAM DURING ZOOM MEETING, Photo by Peter Maluleke

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

Author : Jacob Mhlapeng

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A blast from the past- the activity library is back!

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:

  • Warmups
  • Ice breakers
  • Energizers
  • Team builders
  • Ideas for new ways of teaching
  • Dance (new)
  • 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!

Photos: Ingrid Thorstensen

Written by: Ingrid Thorstensen

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Activity Library er tilbake!

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:

  • Warmups: Oppvarmingsøvelser
  • 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!

Fotografi: Ingrid Thorstensen

Forfatter: Ingrid Thorstensen

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FBF goes Bollywood

 Field Band Foundation has taken it to another level, expanding their musical diversity and creating a new range of music repertoire. PULSE team has been tasked to come up with musical arrangements from Bollywood to celebrate Diwali. Diwali is also called the Festival of Lights which is celebrated for five days by Indians all over the world to honour Rama-Chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana.

For this task, the team did a research on the elements used when composing Indian and Bollywood music. After the research they had to find ways in which they can transcribe the music to fit the level of the Field band members and to fit the instruments used by Field band as they are brass instruments tuned in G Major.

On this project elements from Aller spiller a project which Khaya was part of in Norway were put into good use by transcribing difficult part of the songs and breaking them down so that they can be played effortlessly by the beginner musicians. Learnings of the Aller spiller project were also visible through the creativeness of making difficult passages of the songs interesting for musicians in state of being challenging.

Dancers during dress rehearsal
Full band during dress rehearsals

Khaya Benela and Franqo Ntshole where at the forefront, leading with creating the arrangements which came out outstandingly. Names of the songs arranged are

Kal Ho Naa Ho: by Loy mendonsa 

Teri Meri: by Himesh Reshammiya

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: by Jatin­-Lalit

Bole chudiyan: by Jatin-Lalit

When Franqo was asked about his experiences about writing the music he said “Arranging music from a different culture was a very interesting experience because while you are in your comfort zone as an arranger, you are also out of your comfort zone because all the elements are what you have never been exposed to. However, it is very fun because it gives you the opportunity to explore in depth using your artistic knowledge. The nice thing about music is that if you treat it like art you can make anything work or sound beautiful. After all, the most important thing is to connect, be relatable, make a statement and have fun, just to name a few pivotal factors”.

And this is what Khaya said

“The process was not easy as we are used to writing classical and African traditional songs, but it was also fun, and motivating learn more about different cultures and types of music. After writing all the songs and testing them with the members, it felt good as it was sounding as planned. I feel that I have gained a lot of experience even though this is my first time writing Indian music”.

Khaya Benela arranging Teri Meri.

Franqo arranging Bolechudyan

Are there challenges? Of cause! But that is what makes it fun! The challenges are what gives you the opportunity to explore. The challenges you are more likely to encounter is deciphering several elements such as a special traditional or cultural instrument and finding a suitable way to represent it in your arrangements because the actual instrument might be sacred and not accessible to anyone. The advantage of this is that it gives you the opportunity to learn and improve your diversity.

Pics: Nomkhosi Mnisi and Jacob Mhlapeng

Author: Jacob Mhlapeng.

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Greetings from Oslo!

Hello from Oslo! 

As the South Participants are in the office in Johannesburg, we are working from our home offices here in Oslo. 

The days are surely much different than what they used to, but we are all still adjusting to the new normal and our new tasks. We are also happy that our team of 2 has been expanded a little by having Ingrid, a former PULSE participant, on our team once a week. 

Because of the current situation, our tasks have also been adjusted to fit this work situation. Right now we are focusing on four, big tasks where we have managed to create work groups consisting of both FBF and NMF staff. This is the first time we are trying such collaboration, and it is a very interesting way of working. Everyone have such different experiences and knowledge and the collaborations bring much value to the project. 

Our different tasks consist of: 

  1. Project Description 

Where we are focusing on creating an overview for PULSE participants with everything from HR questions to what to expect before, during and after the exchange.

  1. M&E Tools for PULSE

Where we are looking into strengthening our monitoring and evaluation systems both on the PULSE North and South side.

  1. 20th Anniversary Alumni Survey

With the 20th Anniversary of collaboration, there is an Alumni Survey being developed

  1. 20th Anniversary 

2021 will be our anniversary year, which will be celebrated and marked both in Norway and South Africa. 

We are very excited to see where this collaboration will take us.

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Ponahalo Free State workshop( Norsk)

Ponaholo Free State workshop fant sted på Lapa Mandzi i Parys fra 18. – 21. september.

Formålet med workshopen var å forsterke kompetansen innen musikk og bevegelse, ensemble fremføringer og kommunikasjon til de ansatte i Field Band Foundation.

Dingani Chabalala (bandkoordinator for Kimberly FBF) og Khayalethu Benela (deltager i PULSE) hadde arrangert to låter til workshopen. Dingani hadde arrangert den verdenskjente sangen Jerusalem av DJ Master KG, mens Kaya hadde arrangert en sang kalt «He lives in me» av Lebo M fra filmen Løvenes Konge.

Franqo dirigerer en av de musikalske øvelsene

Tilstede på workshopen var 17 deltagere og 5 fasilitatorer.

Fasilitatorene var:

Sindisiwe Ncobo(Education Facilitator)

Tebogo Ntshole(PULSE)

Khayalethu Benela(PULSE)

Peter Maluleke(Education Facilitator)

Dingani Chabalala (Band coodinator)

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Tilbake: Peter Maluleka and Khaya Benela
Foran fra venstre mot høyre: Dingani Chabalala,Tebogo Franqo Ntshole and Sindi Ngcobo

Workshopen inneholdt undervisning i:

Kommunikasjon og utforming av CV

Utvikling av ferdigheter

Bygge selvtillitt

Positv syn på livet og livsmestring.

Kommunikasjonsøkt gjennomført av tilretteleggerne
Morgenavkjørsler før du starter dagen ledet av Sindi


Lek – tradisjonelle leker fant sted

Formålet med lekene var å styrke samholdet i teamene, forbedre fleksibilitet og evne til kritisk tenkning.

Sindi deltar i et av spillene


I disse undervisningstimene ble deltagerne gitt mulighet til å danne egne små ensembler og spille selvvalgt repertoar.

De mindre ensemblene deltagerne hadde satt sammen jobbet med dikt, kor og brasstykker. I tillegg til dette, hadde man øvelser med fullt ensemble som besto av brass, perkusjon, pit-perkusjon og dansere.

Workshopen ble avsluttet med en konsert hvor deltagerne hadde forberedt deres egne kreative innslag. Publikum på konserten var medlemmer av lokalsamfunnet som hadde blitt invitert av verten for lokalet, Lapa Mandzi.

Forfatter: Tebogo Franqo Ntshole

redaktør: Jacob J Mhlapeng

Oversetter: Solvor Vermeer

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Ponahalo Free State Workshop.

The Ponahalo Free State workshop took place in Parys at Lapa Mandzi from 18-21 September.

The objective of the workshop was to enhance the staff members skills on music and movement, ensemble performances and communication skills..

Two main songs where arranged by Dingani Chabalala who is a band coordinator of the Kimberly FBF and Khayalethu Benela who is the current PULSE participants.

Dingani arrange a world famous song called Jerusalem by DJ Master KG and Khaya arranged a song called He lives in me by Lebo M which is an extract from a movie called The lion king.

Franqo conducting one of the musical practice session

 In attendance was 17 participants and 5 Facilitators

Facilitators: Sindisiwe Ngcobo(Education Facilitator)

Tebogo Ntshole(PULSE)

Khayalethu Benela(PULSE)

Peter Maluleke(Education Facilitator)

Dingani Chabalala (Band coodinator)

Back: Peter Maluleka and Khaya Benela
Front from left to right: Dingani Chabalala,Tebogo Franqo Ntshole and Sindi Ngcobo

Sessions conducted were:

Communication sessions -CV writing

                                       Skills development

                                       Building self confidence

                                      Positive outlook on life and resilience

Communication session conducted by the facilitators
Morning excises before starting the day led by Sindi

Games- Indigenous games took place.

The purpose of the games was to strengthen the team spirit, improve flexibility and critical thinking.

Sindi participating in one of the games

Ensemble performance:

The participants were given an opportunity to creatively come up with their own choice of ensembles and repertoire to perform.

Ensembles consisted of choir ensemble, Poets and brass ensembles. There was also a full band sessions which consisted of Brass, Percussion, Pit percussion and dancers

The workshop was closed off with a concert whereby participants prepared their own artistic creativity to perform at the concert, which was attended by community members who were invited by the accommodation manager of Lapa Mandzi

Author: Tebogo Franqo Ntshole

Editor: Jacob Mhlapeng

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PULSE og “Den nye normale”

COVID-19 har kommet med en del utfordringer for PULSE programmet, noe som har skapt en styrke og motstandsdyktighet i teamet. Vi har nylig startet å jobbe fra Sør-Afrika hvor vi er plassert på Field Band kontoret og ting er ikke slik de pleide å være før pga av retningslinjer og smittevern vi må følge slik at alle ansatte er trygge på arbeidsplassen.

På kontoret må vi sprite henda når vi ankommer jobb og vi må også alltid ha på munnbind når vi er med og blandt folk. Vi må registrere oss hver dag, ta temperaturen og sjekke oss for symptomer.

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Håndspritstasjoner er lokalisert på forskjellige områder på kontoret og vi må sprite oss hvert 20 minutt- også på øvelser.

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Før vi går hjem så må vi ta temperaturen og registrere det ned i loggboken igjen

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Første uken tilbake på kontoret var litt utfordrende fordi vi måtte bli vandt til nye COVID-19 reglene. Det er forskjellige regler i Sør-Afrika enn det var i Norge så det var en omstilling vi måtte gjøre. Etter ca en uke var vi blitt vandt til de nye reglene i Sør-Afrika og på kontoret, og det å holde avstand og bruke munnbind ble nå vår nye hverdag. Nå vasker vi og spriter henda helt automatisk, uten å måtte tenke over det engang.

Dersom man blir syk eller viser tegn til COVID-19 symptomer i arbeidstiden, blir man isolert inne på et komfortabelt “isoleringsrom” mens man venter på legehjelp.

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Selvom livet har endret seg med pandemien, så har vi klart å adaptere oss til situasjonen og står sterkt sammen som en gruppe

I Norge så har PULSE teamet blitt redusert fra 6 til 2. Madelene og Sol jobber på hjemmekontor og er fortsatt i kommunikasjon med både Field Band og NMF. Jobben har endret seg fra mye praktisk arbeid til å bruke digitale medier som et undervisningsverktøy. Det har vært en stor endring, men de omstiller seg også på den nye hverdagen

bilder av: Nomkhosi Mnisi og Khaya Benela

Oversatt av: Madeleine Klouda

skrevet av: Jacob J Mhlapeng

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PULSE and “The new normal”

COVID-19 has presented numerous challenges for the PULSE programs and with those challenges we have grown resilient by the day and stronger from every stride we make. We have recently resumed work tasks in South Africa, working from the Field Band office and things are no longer the way they used to be, because the office restriction which are made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep the employees safe at all times.

At the office we are required to sanitize our hand upon arrival and we are also required to put on a must when ever we are around people. We also have to register in, check temperature and symptoms of COVID-19.

In the office, sanitizing before at the entrance

Sanitizing stations are allocated in different parts of the office and we are required to sanitize every time after 20 minutes including during rehearsals.

Sanitazing during band practice.

After working hours before we go home as a requirement we take temperature and record it in the registration book.

Recording temperature before and after work

First week was somehow challenging working at the office because we had to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations. Coming from Norway we were not used the South African COVID-19 regulations and it was somehow challenging to get used to them. After a week, we adjusted well to the regulations of the country and the office. Social distancing and wearing a face mask is a new normal. Washing and sanitizing hands regularly comes automatically without thinking about it.

If one gets sick or shows signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during office hours, they will be isolated in a special and comfortable room while waiting for paramedics or doctors.

FBF Sick bay

Even though life has changed since the pandemic of COVID-19, we have managed to adapt with the situation and we are thriving as a group.

In Norway, our PULSE team has been reduced from six participants to two. Madeleine and Sol are working from their home offices, still communicating regularly with both Field Band Foundation and NMF. The job tasks have changed from a lot of practical, hands-on work, to using digital media as a teaching tool. This has been a big change, however they are also adjusting to the new normal.

Pictures by: Nomkhosi Mnisi and Khaya Benela.

Writer: Jacob J Mhlapeng


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