The world-famous MaP Marimba band tours the United States every other year, and plays concerts all year round at various venues in Botswana. MaP offers Marimba as an Enrichment activity to students in its after-school ‘SPE’ programme.
The MaP Marimba Tour, 15 April ~ 6 May, 2016
If someone were to ask me to describe happiness in just a few words, I think saying the “Maru-a-Pula Marimba Band” would be the most fitting of answers… some of the most exhilarating and joyous music that has ever touched my ears.
Nicholas Taborsky, Milton student
Starting in New York City and finishing in Boston, the MaP Marimba Band played 23 concerts in just 16 days and conducted numerous workshops for 18 schools and colleges. Audiences responded with unhinged dancing delight, forming conga lines, surrounding band members on stage and roaring for encores.
The New York area itinerary included visits to Avenues School, Tuxedo Park, Riverdale, Hudson Cliffs and In-Tech Academy. As we traveled up through New England we stopped at Williams College, Putney, Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Loomis-Chaffee and Taft. In the Boston area we played at Groton, St. Mark’s, Brooks, Milton, Harvard University, Roxbury Latin and Sharon Middle School.
The band visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum, took a Big Bus tour of lower Manhattan, saw the Broadway show, An American in Paris, attended a reception in their honour at Botswana’s Embassy to the United Nations, enjoyed a guided tour of the Juilliard School and shopped till they dropped at many of New England’s finest malls.
Band leader and innovative composer, Laone Thekiso, led 11 of MaP’s most talented marimba players: Nicolaus Nshoya, Tshepang Lenkopane, Teto Mokgachane, Gobopa Mojaphoko, Tyra Molosi, Unami Ntsuke, Yame Leinaeng, Nicole Tsiane, Ludo Bonyongo, Leloba Jefferis and Jenny Yu. In his Peolwane magazine review, former Maitisong Director, David Slater praised band members as “accomplished young musicians who play with the most infectious verve.”
Thanks go to our Music HOD, Celine Matthee, for her meticulous handling of the planning, logistics and finances of the tour. Several AFMAP Directors helped make the tour a huge success: Antoinette Quarshie coordinated the generous hospitality of Riverdale staff, parents and students throughout our time in New York City; Wendy Davies and Walter Johnsen donated our Broadway show tickets; Sue Heywood and Andy Jackson coordinated a superbly planned visit to Tuxedo Park while Phil and Susan Smith attended to all our needs in Williamstown. We are particularly grateful to Carolyn Stafford of Syracuse, NY, and Scott Tarantino of Sharon, MA, who made it all possible by loaning us their superb marimbas!
This was my fifth marimba tour and it’s always one of my favourite activities. I usually drive one of the vans, introduce the band and explain that we are raising funds for the MaP Orphan & Vulnerable Children Scholarship Fund. This year’s MaP’s marimba band members were superb ambassadors for MaP and Botswana; they exuded joy and generated enormous goodwill throughout an arduous tour. Well done and PULA!
Andrew Taylor, Former Principal