BALLANTA ACADEMY OF MUSIC
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Our aim is to reach out to schools in the community and offer music education to disadvantaged children. With your help we will succeed
The Academy is named after Sierra Leone’s famous composer, musicologist, librettist and musical thinker, Professor Nicholas Julius George Ballanta (1893 – 1961). Its founders were Mr. Logie Wright and Dr. Kitty Fadlu-Deen. They conceived the idea and invited fourteen prominent citizens who were ardent music lovers to form a board of directors. It was officially launched on October 25,1995 at premises leased from the Freetown City Council at 27 Liverpool Street. It is the first institution of its kind in the country. It is a company limited by guarantee, and therefore non-profit. The Academy has grown from strength to strength and presently is the only music education institution offering a wide range of music instruction courses. It is registered with the Ministry of Technical Vocational and Higher Education from which it receives a subvention. Today it is home to the Ballanta Music Makers, Groovy Colours, Five Star Brass, Ballanta Gospel Band, Ballanta Student Band and the Ballanta Studio. The Balanta Bafa is a monthly showcase of talents within the academy entertaining guests in the evening. Lunchtime concerts also provide an opportunity for students to perform. Research efforts have produced the book and DVD, Music Masks and Maestros. Material for some videos in the heritage website www.sierraleoneheritage.org were produced by the academy.
The academy serves not only its students and musicians; it is the institution which provides a centre for ABRSM (UK) music examinations, advises on musical content and entertainment, organizes music festivals and concerts, designs and executes musical projects that reach out to other schools, churches and communities and provides entertainment to the community at large including commercial houses. It has projects involving less advantaged children in the playing of instruments and in dancing. We are currently serving two schools in the municipality as outreach schools, the Samaria Methodist Primary School and the Thomas Peters Municipal School as well as three private schools – the KidZone Academy, YAS Learning Centre and Tower Hill Kindergarten and Primary School.
We have developed close relationships with the Wells Cathedral School in the UK. Their team of volunteers share their musical experiences with academy students and staff once a year. The Senior Experten Service (SES) in Germany send us a volunteer, Stephan Flore to work with the brass players of the academy and groups associated with it. The most recent development is the training of our teachers to teach a new curriculum based on non-formal music education, utilizing contemporary (pop) music and cultural music elements. This curriculum has been introduced by the Global Music Academy of Berlin. The training is also being done by them at the Global Music East African Campus in Addis Ababa.
BAM’s Vision: To be a worldwide beacon for the development, promotion and research of West African music and performing arts, providing first-class tuition in classical, modern and indigenous music and performing arts for the people of Sierra Leone.
BAM’s Mission: We exist to provide a center for music and arts education and entertainment of indigenous and international content through practice, training and research to people in Sierra Leone, thereby providing a platform for nurturing talent to be internationally recognized.
The first board members were: Mrs. R. Lulu Wright (Chair), Justice Ebun Thomas, Mrs. Joy Samaké, Mr. L. J. Tani Pratt, Alhaji M. B. Mahdi, Dr. William Conton, Mrs. Ore Awoonor-Renner, Mr. Nat Wellington, Mr. Logie Wright, Dr. Kitty Fadlu-Deen, Prof. Syl Cheney-Coker, Mr. Peter Hilken, Dr. Mike Forde and Mr. Winston Jonah.