Two Kenyan youth orchestras, thanks to music-lover’s efforts

Posted on: November 1, 2016

The Ghetto Classics orchestra “benefits youth in the slum of Korogocho and other poor areas” of Kenya, writes Ginanne Brownell Mitic in Wednesday’s (10/26) New York Times. The orchestra, “started in 2009 by the classical music enthusiast Elizabeth Njoroge [has] performed for dignitaries like President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Pope Francis [and] has about 80 members from roughly the ages of 14 to 20…. [At a recent concert] Margaret Wambui, who scavenges in the dump for a living, was so excited to see her 16-year-old son, Simon Mungai, play the trombone that she was the first audience member to arrive…. [Njoroge] also founded the Kenya National Youth Orchestra [which] on Oct. 23 … performed with over 250 children from six schools in disadvantaged areas of this city as part of New York’s Carnegie Hall Link Up program.” Njoroge formed the orchestras after being “struck by not only how few classical music options there were but also how they seemed to mostly focus on the white Kenyan and expat communities…. Up to 70 percent of the Nairobi Orchestra is now made up of K.N.Y.O. alumni.” Joanna Massey, Carnegie Hall’s director of learning and engagement programs, called Elizabeth Njoroge “a rock star.”

Posted November 1, 2016