The annual Botswana Music Camp has been slated for December after the organisers secured sponsorship from Standard Chatered Bank.
According to the organisers, the camp will take place from December 6 and reach a climax on the last night (December 13) when all the participants are expected to join together in a spirited concert showing what they had achieved in the week.
There will be seven categories at the camp - marimba, ditlhaka, African drums, solo singing (classical), solo singing (pop), dance and instrumental.
Michael Sibanda, will be the group leader for marimba, where he will mentor a maximum of 15 participants. While the instrument and the technique of playing tend to be of the Zimbabwean-style, the organisers say that there is also a chance for players to develop pieces based on Tswana music.
Twelve participants are expected to be mentored by David Nkosi under African drums group.
Aspiring solo singers are lucky in that they will compete for places in two categories - classical and pop. Charles Lesia will be the group leader of the classical music, while pop will be under Mpupile Mathibe. The prerequisites for both classical and pop solo singing are that the would-be participants should have a good voice and some singing experience.
Thabo Kobeli from Vuyani Dance in Johannesburg, South Africa, will share his dancing skills with 15 participants in the dance category and the prerequisite of dance include the knowledge of either traditional and contemporary dances.
Renowned Motswana musician, Tsilo Baitsile will take 12 instrumental band participants under his wings. Would-be participants should be able to play an instrument well enough to follow the leader's instructions and should bring their own instruments except drums, which the Music Camp provides.The ditlhaka category will be new at the camp and at the time of going to press, the organisers were hoping to identify a player from Ramotswa to mentor the participants.
At the camp, participants are free to join one of the aforementioned groups where he or she will spend four hours a day working with the leader of his or her group. To promote the spirit of awareness and appreciation, participants will spend an hour a day with the leaders of other groups. They will also join the camp choir in the morning for an hour of singing.
According to the organisers, "Botswana Music Camp is a week-long residential camp for people who love music". Participants spend the week making music together guided by experts. It is not regarded as a school and there are no lessons in techniques of playing rather the aim is to expand repertoire, style, enrichment and contacts among the participants who all should be 16-years -old and above.They further say that the camp goes back to 1985 when the late Khabi Mngoma, professor of music at the University of Zululand, advised them to run a music camp. The first workshop was held at Maruapula School and Hugh Masekela was a group leader, while Professor Mngoma taught violin.
Music Camp has taken place yearly since then in Gaborone, Kanye, Serowe and Francistown. For the first time, the Music Camp takes place at the Botswana College of Education,David Slater of the Music Camp Committee told Mmegi that some of the greatest names that have taken part in the camp include Masekela, Prof Mngoma, Steve Dyer, Tsilo Baitsile, Captain Sight Mongweotsile and Charles Lesia.
Others sponsors include the Department of Culture and Youth, German Embassy, American Embassy, Janet Herman, Dr Pearl Mashalaba, Dr Friedah Matthews, David Slater Music, Merial, Doreen Nteta, Derek James, Sieglinde Nilsson, Solomon Monyame, OP Advertising.
Lovers of music are expected to pay P800 to participate. Individual applicants can apply for a reduction on the charge.