Pro Carmine raises record amount for reading club

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Pro Carmine Choirmaster, Peter Breetzke, hands over R5 500 raised at a recent joint concert with UK choir, Moorland Voices, to Mpumi Frans, site manager of the Joza Reading Club. They are joined by Club organisers Esther (far left front) and Michael Ramani (far left back), Shiloh Marsh (far right back) of AMP! Music Project who linked the choir with the Club, student volunteers from Rhodes and several of the club members. Photo: Jayne Morgan

STAFF REPORTER 

Pro Carmine choirmaster, Peter Breetzke, handed over nearly R5 500 to the Joza Reading Club on On Wednesday. The money will help buy new books and fund the translation of some existing ones into isiXhosa. The cash was raised at Pro Carmine’s joint concert with visiting UK choir, Moorland Voices, at the National English Literary Museum (NELM) last month, and is the highest total ever collected at a single Pro Carmine performance.

The club, which runs out of the Joza Youth Hub, aims to get Foundation Phase children into reading.  Youngsters from local schools are taken to the centre twice a week, where student volunteers from Rhodes involve them in reading, writing, games and singing. They’ve also recently started teaching the children chess.

“Our aim is to develop biliteracy, and there is no doubt that the Reading Club activities are enabling our children to become engaged and fluent readers,” said Esther Ramani, one of the project organisers.

She added that their books are old and tired and need replenishing. “The money raised from the concert will go towards buying more books – especially in isiXhosa – to start more children off on their reading journey.”

A group of Grade Twos and Threes from the Club started last month’s concert off with two songs in isiXhosa and one in English – which proved a real treat for the UK visitors and clearly inspired the packed hall. Peter Breetzke believes that the worthiness of the cause was just as important as the quality of the music. “It was a real treat to sing with Moorland Voices and it was an evening of some excellent music. But I think people were especially touched by the children. We would like to thank everyone who came and gave so generously.”

The two choirs sang individual pieces, but also came together for four numbers – including former Rhodes Head of Music, Christopher Coburn’s arrangement of Michel Legrand’s classic Windmills of Your Mind, which Moorlands Voices learned especially for the performance.

This is the second time that Pro Carmine had partnered with NELM to raise money for a literacy based charity – the first was last September in aid of Project Read.

Peter Breetze said, “We’d also like to thank NELM for making their magnificent venue available. It was a perfect spot for the choirs to perform together and the space clearly inspired people on the night.”

Site co-ordinator of the Joza Reading Club, Mpumi Frans, listens to Hlomela Zakhe from CM Vellem Primary School read the story of Cinderella. Pro Carmine Choir recently raised R5 500 to buy new books for the Club. Photo: Jayne Morgan

Learners from the Foundation Phase at CM Vellem Primary School in Joza enjoying the big books at Joza Reading Club, which they attend twice a week to improve their literacy skills. Pro Carmine Choir recently raised R5 500 to buy new books for the Club. Photo: Jayne Morgan

It’s not just about books! Foundation Phase learners from Archie Mbolekwa and CM Vellum Primary Schools are enjoying learning chess at the Joza Reading Club which they attend twice a week after school. Student volunteer Naphtali Khumalo is showing them the basics. Photo: Jayne Morgan

Asanele Zondani from CM Vellem Primary School enjoying a story at Joza Reading Club which she attends twice a week to improve her reading skills. Pro Carmine Choir recently raised R5 500 to buy new books for the Club. Photo: Jayne Morgan

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