The Alex Field Band will be attending the national field band competition for the ninth consecutive year next month.
The event is hosted annually by the Field Band Foundation and will be held at the Wanderers Cricket Oval on 10 and 11 October.
Six bands from 23 national bands that excelled at the regional [provincial] competitions earlier in the year will participate. From Gauteng, the Alexandra, Dobsonville and Springs bands will participate. The Kimberley, East London and Blouberg bands from Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces will also participate.
Each band is composed of 220 to 250 seven to 21-year-old orphaned and vulnerable children. Only 110 members will participate in the competition, mainly on percussion.
The Alex Field Band’s choreographer Emmanuel Rattle said the band clinched first position in 2011, second position in 2012 and third position last year. “We have rehearsed well and are aiming for first position this year,” he said.
The members are mostly school children in distress who have a lack of parental care and support. Most of them are HIV positive orphans and are from child or grandparent-headed households. The band provides them with life skills including manners, self esteem, self awareness and self protection. Personal welfare, school uniforms, clothing and health and hygiene items are gained through grants, networking, non-profit organisations and government departments.
National social officer of the band Nana Pule said 98 percent of the children rely on this social intervention for most of their school life. “The music provides them with therapy, emotional healing and possibly a discovery of hidden talent which could become a profession in the future,” she said.