Student organises Christmas concert for kids

Metro Kids Africa children who took part in last years concert.

A Pinelands music student is putting the finishing touches to a Christmas concert for underprivileged children.

Kirtsten Pienaar, a third-year Stellenbosch University music student, is organising the concert in aid of Metro Kids Africa, a non-profit that helps kids from poor neighbourhoods.

This is the second such concert Kirsten has organised for Metro Kids Africa. Last year’s one, she said, had raised about R6 000.

This year’s concert, at Rondebosch United Church on Monday December 10, will see a special performance by renowned cellist-and-violinist couple Peter and Suzanne Martens and performances by UCT and Stellenbosch University students.

“This concert is bound to be a spectacular musical event. We have superb musicians performing, and the programme caters for a variety of musical tastes, from jazz arrangements to classical arias. There will be something for everyone,” she said.

The Pinelands-based Metro Kids Africa was founded in 2005 by James and Janet Senior, who moved to South Africa from the UK in 2004.

It runs after-school programmes in areas such as Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Lower Crossroads, Tambo Village and Phillippi.

They also work with various schools – helping pupils to make wise choices. According to Ms Senior, they reach about 8 000 children a week.

“During summer, we can have 2 000 children at one time, but we normally have between 200 and 800 children attending our programmes each week.

“The programmes consist of 90-minute sessions, which include games, songs and a lesson time. Lesson times cover Christian-based life skills such as making wise choices, bullying, self- esteem and respecting each other,” said Ms Senior.

Kirsten said she had learnt about the organisation through her mother.

“I was made aware of the tragic circumstances of so many children and the life and hope that MKA offers them through their programmes. When Janet suggested a concert as a fund-raiser, I was very much eager and willing to take part and contribute.

“I asked if I could conduct a choir of children involved in the programme, and together with Janet, James and the other leaders from MKA, we established a small choir of children, ranging between the ages of 10 and 18 years old.”

Kirsten said she gladly took on the mantle of putting together a programme for the concert, knowing it was a chance to work not only with other musicians, but also with the choir and the children who would benefit from the concert.

“The children’s enthusiasm and sheer joy when we rehearse and sing reminds me why I love music and its power to uplift and unite across barriers of language and culture,” she said.

Kirsten encouraged the public to support the event, saying it was a wonderful way to start the festive season. “Christmas and the festive season are a time of love and generosity, and what better way to show the Christmas spirit than by supporting this very worthy cause and the beautiful children involved,” she said.

Tickets are R100 for adults and R60 for pensioners and students. For more information, contact Ms Senior at 021 531 2653 or office@metrokidsafrica.org