Music lovers of Port Elizabeth are in for a treat next Sunday, 24 May, as the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) are collaborating to create an inner city culture by filling the streets of Central with the swinging sounds of big band jazz and other music to be enjoyed by all.
Trinder Square, situated directly across from the PE St George’s Club in Bird Street, will come alive with this free, picnic-on-the-grass style event, which is set to start at 12pm and continue until approximately 5pm.
MBDA Marketing and Communications Manager Luvuyo Bangazi said the agency aimed to use the arts to “bring the people of the city together to enjoy its regenerated urban spaces”.
“The MBDA has invested significantly in upgrading public spaces to create a vibrant inner city culture, so we are hoping that these public concerts in upgraded parks will become a regular item on the city’s entertainment calendar. Everyone is welcome to come and relax and enjoy the music together.”
Bangazi said that, “particularly after the discord that’s been felt in some parts of the country recently, this event offers an opportunity for social cohesion, and to bring the harmonies and flavours of Africa together.
“A variety of Central vendors will have their food for sale – local as well as from places like Ethiopia and Somalia. People are also encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets and camp chairs or blankets to make themselves comfortable on the grass,” he said.
The musical line-up includes the toe-tapping swing ensemble Two Tone, popular contemporary jazz singer Asanda Mqiki, the NMMU Wind Band, NMMU Big Band and Greenwood Primary School’s wind band.
NMMU Department of Music lecturer in Jazz Studies, pianist and big band director John Edwards, who has been pivotal in creating the event, explained that it is a combined initiative between the NMMU School of Music, Art and Design, the Vice-Chancellor’s office and the MBDA. John said that the concert will “articulate with the university’s desire to demonstrate its commitment to the growth and regeneration of the Central area.
“In addition to being a vehicle for social cohesion, the concert seeks to consolidate and strengthen links between musicians from local communities, schools and the university,” Edwards said.
Trinder Square was originally a wide pond used for watering cattle and horses, but also a popular picnic spot for Port Elizabethans. The NMMU Faculty of Arts already has an attachment to the Square, in that its artistic revitalisation last year was undertaken by fine art, craft, design and mosaic students and members of the arts faculty. Unusually shaped benches covered in beautiful, bright mosaic tiles are one of the creative features of leafy Trinder Square, a playground park with shady trees and green lawn.
Several of the buildings opposite the park – adjacent to the Club – are owned by the university and the space has been allocated to the School of Music, Art and Design with the objective of developing an artistic precinct. In this regard, the Department of Music inaugurated its pre-tertiary teaching initiative and jazz unit at the Bird Street premises last year. The concert will also be an opportunity to publicise these exciting developments.
Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the concert and Bangazi said a professional security and emergency medical presence will ensure a safe, relaxed experience for all.
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