To run alongside the orchestra’s summer course for 2017, we introduced the Words on Music course. This intense course was initiated by Shirley Apthorp, European critic for the London-based Financial Times and director of Umculo, an organisation dedicated to supporting social change through music in South Africa. BBC producer and fiddle-player Daniel Tetlow, as well as acclaimed South African arts journalist Paul Boekkooi, joined Shirley on the faculty.
We had an intimate, fun and diverse group participating in the course. Jiba Xulu, a young Rhodes University alumni and arts administrator now based in Vereeniging; Francois Lion-Cachet, a law and media law student at Potchefstroom University; Nkululeko Mqobongo, a vocal student from Klerksdorp at Potchefstroom University; Ansie de Swardt, a retiree with a passion for opera and classical music; and Isha Ranchod, a Nelson Mandela University music graduate with a psychology major – all with a passion for writing and the arts.
The group did interviews with the musicians, tutors and conductor, did reviews and reports, worked with social media, honed their journalism skills, and even created podcasts. This adventure was a great starting point for the new writers.