New Vision (Kampala)

13 October 2012

Uganda: Help Mbale Band Make It to CHOGM 2013

Of course it's five years since Uganda was host to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since that time when Uganda garnered international attention.

However, as that CHOGM euphoria ebbed low, to the Commonwealth Resounds, an international organization that volunteers to promote musicians across the Commonwealth countries, a band from Mbale that performed during CHOGM's stopover in Kampala in 2007 remained etched in their memories.

And it's for that reason that, Mbale Schools Band has received an invitation to represent Uganda as one of the performers at the CHOGM 2013, taking place in Sri Lanka in October/November.

More than 150 players were credited for being able to read music on paper and dance to it. The ability to read music means it could play more than 100 hymns, classical pieces, traditional Ugandan songs, and all types of music from Michael Jackson to Mozart.

It's this versatility and wide range of musical talent that has made them an outstanding band before the eyes of many.

The group is one of the seven bands currently under the support of East Uganda Youth Music Foundation, a Ugandan NGO established in 2010.

It has more than 400 young musicians learning to play music in bands that are established in Mbale, Kapchorwa, Namabassa, Bukedea, Bungkoho, Tororo and Iganga with many of the children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The organizers have offered to pay for this youthful band's food and accommodation while in Sri Lanka, but cannot help with transport.

The band spokesman John Webale, whom Blitz had a chat with and actually saw the Commonwealth Resounds invite sent to them, is desperately looking for sponsors to come to their rescue and have the youngsters get international exposure.

"I appeal to potential sponsors, either private or commercial, and who support youth music in Uganda, to come forward and assist us," said Webale.

For any help, you can contact John on 0781 572140 or email euymf@gmail.com. The band's website www.euymf.org can also lead you to them. To see their performances on Youtube, go to www.youtube.com and search "Mbale Schools Band".

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