What the CMDA is about:
The Casterbridge Music Development Academy is a non-profit organisation that opened its doors in 2010. The idea being to provide a platform for local children, especially from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, to develop an interest in music and the performing arts. Through sponsors they have successfully established five music hubs and are currently working on opening another three. All the hubs are equipped with instruments, coaches and computer access to assist them in their learning.
The CMDA feels that music has the ability to uplift the soul and create a sense of wellbeing and harmony. By introducing music to kids that are struggling in life, be it due to peer pressure, substance abuse, physical abuse, trauma, loss or neglect, it gives them something to focus on, achieve and feel confident about.
The establishment is a place where all youth can come and learn not only a musical instrument but how to partake in group activities and create a career path for themselves in the years to come. As a result revolutionary changes in the communities can be seen.
In the last few years, the CMDA has produced high calibre musicians and bands who can boast to having performed alongside international act Ali Campbell (UB40), as well as several local South African greats, including Judith Sephuma, Vusi Mahlesela, The Parlotones etc.
What is the CMDA’s objective?
The CMDA’s main objective is to give young South Africans the opportunity to develop or discover a new talent; to provide them with the instruments and tutoring necessary to enable them to expand their aspirations and dreams and give them the exposure they need to make these dreams a reality.
“We at the CMDA feel that music has the power to uplift and empower one’s spirit and helps adolescents release or control emotions, making it easier for them to cope with difficult situations such as peer pressure, substance abuse and the pain of loss or neglect.”
The academy’s aim is to increase the number of music hubs it has across the country giving easier accessibility to the youth in each area to attend.
Bands that are formed in the programme also gain exposure to the public through music festivals and events while at the same time being introduced to key members of the music industry that can support their dreams of becoming professional musicians.
The music hubs are based in central locations in different communities, making it easy for the youth to attend, and are run during after school hours to provide a safe place the youth can learn and grow instead of them being on the streets where they are exposed to drugs and alcohol. So far there are two orchestra hubs, one is in Pienaar and the other in Mashisheng. There are also three electric hubs in Zwelisha, KaBokweni and White River and in the process of a forth in Nelspruit, with two marimba hubs in Masoyi and Hazyview on their way.
What the CMDA hopes to achieve:
- Expand access to high quality after-school music programmes targeting low-income children and youth
- Support free or low cost after-school music programmes in low-income neighbourhoods
- Support free or low-cost music-focused summer programmes and camps targeting low-income children and youth.
The CMDA’s bands:
A number of kids come into the hubs with great potential and talent, and with the guidance of the coaches they flourish into great musicians. Once they have reached a certain level they can then be grouped together into bands and get them to rehearse and perform together. Currently, there are five bands all with their own genre and styles from Afro Pop to blues and, of course Rock.
Once these bands are established, the CMDA searches for events and festivals for them to perform at. It is through performing live that their confidence as individuals and the unity as a band develops and one sees their true love for music shine through.
The CMDA does not charge for the bands to perform at events as they feel the experience for them is worth more than a monetary amount. They do however ask that the organisers assist in transport costs and give the young band members a meal.
Address: Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, R40, White River
Contact person: Donna Dillon
Tel: 013 751 3171
Cell: 079 089 6384