Musicians swim for instrument drive

Double-bassist Zanelle Britz and flautist Louisa Theart, who are swimming from Robben Island to Big Bay to raise awareness about the need for instruments for academy musicians.

To raise awareness for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s (CPO’s) instrument campaign, musicians Louisa Theart and Zanelle Britz have committed to swim from Robben Island to Big Bay beach in late November.

Ms Theart, 36, of Wynberg, is a flautist with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and Ms Britz, 37, of Vredehoek, is a double-bassist.

They share a love of open water swimming, which sparked the idea to raise awareness and encourage people to donate old but functional instruments to the orchestra for use in outreach initiatives.

“Our outreach projects touch the lives of the most vulnerable children in our city. Many of them go on to play in our flagship youth orchestra which is open to audition for any young people. This creates an environment where people from vastly different backgrounds play together and forge lifelong friendships,” said Ms Theart.

“This project is about more than music, it is about community and nation building. It is an opportunity to learn that we are all on the same team, working towards the same goal. Swimming for a cause like this is a dream for me. Investing in this dream, one child at a time, is worth every minute of training and discomfort in Cape Town’s cold waters.”

According to the CPO, thousands of children have been reached over the last 20 years through projects such as Masidlale grassroots training projects, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra Music Academy, feeder strings and woodwind bands and the flagship orchestras, the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (CPYO) and Youth Wind Ensemble (CPYWE).

“We are doing the instrument drive as there’s so many people that have instruments they don’t use anymore and these instruments will be useful in the hands of young players and it could help shape their futures, that’s the heart in this,” said Ms Britz.

“I don’t think people are aware of what we do, of the different programmes we have, the youth ensembles and the basic programmes we have where the young ones start. So we’re building them up from a young age with the hope of seeing them make it to the professional orchestra.”

Ms Britz said that this swimming challenge is a combination of their passion for swimming, for the ocean and of course the music.

“If we can get cash donations that will be excellent, if we get instruments that will be great. We (orchestra) are reliant on private donors as we don’t get financial backing from the government, so we are reaching out to the people and it’s about the future of the orchestra and the young ones who have dreams of making it as musicians,” she said.

Contact Louise Enslin about donating an instrument or make a donation at GivenGain here