Taking brass music to Africa

A consignment of 30 plastic trombones – the groundbreaking musical instrument that was conceived in Warwickshire – has been taken out to Kampala, Uganda by Warwick musician and trombone teacher Simon Hogg as part of a major programme to enable extremely disadvantaged children to participate in music.

Coventry-based Warwick Music Ltd – the company behind pBone, the world’s first plastic trombone – came up trumps when they had an enquiry from Simon Hogg, Director of Music (Performance) at Warwick School, who asked for just two instruments to support a charity that teaches music to street children.

For not only did Warwick Music Ltd supply 30 of its instruments – in black, yellow and red, the colours of Uganda’s national flag – – but it also provided 30 music stands and an extensive supply of music. Then it went and funded Simon as the company’s ambassador to visit the Ugandan capital to help teach the youngsters to play.

“I’ve known the guys behind pBone for some years but I never expected such generosity. The children in Kampala were over the moon with their new instruments. It was an emotional rollercoaster of a visit,” said Simon who returned recently from Kampala to resume his teaching duties at Warwick School.

Simon’s visit came about having spoken to a parent – a BA pilot – at a school concert. A fellow BA pilot, Jim Trott, had become involved in a project in Kampala to teach music to street children, AIDS victims and orphans. Brass for Africa – as the charity is known – now supports three music projects at orphanages in Kampala.

“It appealed to me immediately. A two line e-mail to Warwick Music resulted in not just two instruments but 30 , and the music stands and the music. A group of us made the trip which was quite life-changing for us – in a project that also changes the lives of disadvantaged children, bringing them joy and huge self-confidence,” said Simon, who was asked by Warwick Music, to act as their ambassador.

Chris Fower, director of Warwick Music, said that the privilege to help had been theirs.

“Simon is a great guy and brings huge enthusiasm and commitment to the world of music. We knew that pBones would be well received but we also knew that with him there, the children would not only have a great teacher and mentor – but would be inspired to continue.

“We knew too that pBone would be just the right instrument. It’s robust, lightweight, sounds great and is really good fun to play. And having instruments in the colours of Uganda’s national flag was an added bonus. We are now keen to continue the relationship.

“pBone was invented by Warwick musician Hugh Rashleigh who shares our goal of extending the reach of music and playing the trombone. This is a great example of how that dream is becoming a reality,” said Chris.

pBone has become a worldwide success. More than 76,000 pBones have now been sold – way ahead of expectations.

Simon’s full story of his visit can be read at www.pbone.co.uk.

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