Africa Bound

By Katie Kilroy, Director of Bands

Kwadziwai (hello), Charlotte Prep!

I am honored to be a recipient of the 2018 Summer Sabbatical Scholarship Program ! Prep recently launched this faculty scholarship program thanks to the generosity of parents of children whose lives have been deeply and positively impacted by their learning experience at our school. The family has generously committed to contributing $10,000 per year to make this program possible into the future. Angela Stefanini and Anupam Mathur are also award recipients, and we would all like to say a heartfelt thank you to the family that made this opportunity possible.

In 2012, I fell in love with an instrument called the mbira that the Shona people of southern Africa have played for more than 1,000 years. My connection with this instrument led me to earn a master’s degree in percussion performance with a focus on West African djembe and Shona, or Zimbabwean, mbira. I spent my two years of grad school traveling the U.S. building a network with teachers, cultural centers, and musicians. Although my research ended when I came to Prep three years ago, I brought my knowledge of the music with me. I have created the West African Drumming Ensembles, which the students love, and I play mbira in class and even teach Shona songs!

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