Arts & Lifestyle Central Karoo youth produce innovative live-streamed lockdown concerts from Prince Albert

Central Karoo youth produce innovative live-streamed lockdown concerts from Prince Albert

Pact, the Prince Albert Community Trust, is helping youngsters reach their full potential

Music has always been used to bring people together. Whether in celebration or commemoration, it has the ability to heal, unite and uplift. It is also one of the most powerful tools for communication.

A group of young people from Prince Albert, together with non-profit organisation Prince Albert Community Trust (Pact) recognise this valuable resource for self-expression and have implemented a series of live-streamed lockdown concerts that channel their skills to an audience more accessibly during this period of social distancing.

The concerts, which take place every Saturday, were originally inspired by a series of performances by Waldo Ewerts, CLO of Pact. The idea for the series was developed during a brainstorming session where the idea of virtual performances was combined with  infrastructure in place for the organisation’s annual #us4us concert, a community-led initiative that usually takes place in September and whose status for 2020 is still undecided.

The team decided that the nationwide lockdown would not put a dampener on their plans and opted for virtual auditions as a platform.

“We already had audition dates in place for #us4us – for artists to perform they have to go through the auditions first and then move on to the coaching phase,” Ewerts says.

“Due to lockdown we had to think of alternative ways to let the auditions continue. We came up with the idea that we get artists from Prince Albert, Leeu Gamka and Klaarstroom to send us short videos of themselves performing indoors to keep the energy going.”

Ingrid Wolfaardt, executive trustee at Pact, says the success of the organisation’s endeavours is as a result of its ability to work together to uplift the community and doing away with ego-driven goals for the greater good of all.

“We all play a part individually, but it is through sharing ideas and sharing the execution that we achieve what we set out to and make magic happen,” she says.

The concerts are facilitated by a group of devoted people in the community, which includes one of Pact’s art facilitators, Burnett Bosman, dance facilitator Corbin Pienaar, media officer Selwyn Maans and #us4us coaches who previously were involved in the first live-streamed concert.

Despite the logistical challenges posed by the lockdown, the team has harnessed the power of online connectivity and social media to create a stage for the performers. The team hopes this is an opportunity for the wider world to recognise untapped talent in places like Prince Albert.

Naaim Briesies, Pact’s Prince Albert office manager, based at the POP Youth Centre, and an #us4us coach, has also grown up with music.

A poet and rapper, he grew up on a farm where he where his love for music was born. He is inspired by artists like Kurt Darren and Dozi, and says it was the discovery of rap that allowed him to truly express himself.

The goal for these concerts is to showcase the wide scope of musical talent – ranging from DJs, to singers and dancers – that remains largely untapped and untrained in this country. Briesies hopes the concert series gets artists to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the opportunities that come their way.

Pact is also involved in various music-centred initiatives, including sound and lighting engineering internships with Eastern Acoustics, ballet workshops and photography and videography workshops. These equip the youth with tools to pursue careers without formal education.

To get involved, whether through skills sharing or financial support, contact Ingrid Wolfaardt at Pact on ingrid@pactrust.co.za.

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