Gearing up for Kenyan schools music festival


Dec. 2, 2017, 1:30 p.m.

The Kenya Music Festival (KMF) 2017 finals are scheduled to take place earlier than in

the past. This year’s event was brought forward to July breaking away from traditional

August school holidays – owing to the General Election set for August.

Notably, the fete marks a historic 91st edition of the annual schools and institutions

music competition, reportedly expected to attract an estimated 1.7 million students.

The core objective of the festival is to mentor and nurture the diversity abound in the

budding performers of music, dance and elocution, who showcase their talents during

the event.

It also avails opportunities for skills development whilst also promoting appreciation

and preservation of Kenya’s rich cultural heritage through music and traditional dance.

The competition is expected to kick off during this month [May] at the regional levels,

building up momentum before culminating at the national contest.

As is the annual tradition, the festival draws participants from across the pre-school

early childhood, primary, and secondary schools to vocational, middle-level colleges

and universities categories.

Enhancing National Unity, Cohesion and Integration through the Kenya Music Festival

is the theme for this year’s performances.

The grand finale is set to take place at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and

Technology in Kakamega County from 10th to 27th July 2017.

According to the festival’s chairman Peter Wanjohi, preparations for the competition

have been on-going since early in this year.

“We have introduced some new items focusing on building peace in the country ahead

of the forthcoming elections,” said Wanjohi. 

At estimated more than 600 competitive items have so far been selected and shortlisted

by the Kenya Music Festival’s steering committee.

These include patriotic songs under the slogan, Chombo Cha Amani [instrument of

peace] besides also a rhyme dubbed My Country, My Pride, My Future expected to

spread peaceful messages.

“We have few months left to the elections.. the peace agenda [enables] our children to

know national issues that affect this country besides also sharpening their talents and

skills,” said Wanjohi.

There have been efforts to formulate more standardized performances during the

competitions, resulting in a draft syllabus which contains guidelines for participants.

A series of training workshops, which brought together about 300 adjudicators and

trainers have already taken place culminating in a week-long forum held at the Tom

Mboya Labour College in Kisumu.

Ms Ruth Agesa, Executive Secretary of Kenya Music Festival said participants studied

and analyzed set pieces, which were selected for harmonized adjudicator’s judgement

during competition.

“They held discussions on possible gaps in the music selected and provide direction on

how the set-piece performances will be adjudged,” remarked Ms Egesa.

The festival has notably also attracted participants drawn from neighbouring Uganda,

which is a member of the East African Community.

“This year’s competition is expected to bring on board several participants including

those from outside our borders,” added Ms. Egesa.

As a key event partner, UNICEF has been keen on thorny issues like violence against

children and challenges of school dropouts – be articulated and highlighted through

dance and musical set pieces.

Central Bank of Kenya is main sponsor. Other partners include National Environment

Management Authority, the National Committee on Citizen Participation on Security,

National Police Service, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Music Festival Open

Class, Public Service Commission, the National Transport and Safety Authority and

Equatorial Nuts.

 2 months, 3 weeks ago