Bloem says farewell to a great Guy

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Peter Guy PHOTO: SEITHATI SEMENOKANE

After almost 21 years since he started the Bochabela String Orchestra programme, double bassist, Peter Guy, will be loosening his grip on the reins, as he’ll be devoting more time to his elderly parents in the United States of America. Guy will stay involved with the programme for the next three years.

As founder of the Bochabela String Orchestra and programme director of the Manguang String Programme, which forms part of the SACR’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, Guy said that he had full confidence that the programme will continue to change lives for the better. “I’ve had some interesting discussions with people concerning what happens with NGOs when the founder leaves or dies. And it’s a new world for us because I won’t be here as often but I will still be involved in the programme. We have a trust in the name of the programme and I’m one of the trustees, so I will still have a fair amount of influence in the programme,” said Guy.

He added that he had great confidence in the staff and that his plan was to ensure that the young people who grew up in the programme, who are now young adults, will then take over the leadership and the management of the programme. They are currently in the process of identifying people who have specific skill sets needed to ensure the programme continues to run smoothly.

The Bochabela String Orchestra recently performed at the Rheingau Musik Festival (RMF), an international summer music festival in Germany, and have been invited to return next year.

“We have a staff of 23 people, including six who work for the government. But the others are privately funded and that is why I will stay actively involved as a trustee. This will be a learning curve but I can say that I have confidence in the staff we have and that they will take over the running and the leadership of the programme.”

Meanwhile, the Bochabela String Orchestra has just come back from performing at the Rheingau Musik Festival (RMF), an international summer music festival in Germany. “It all started with a chance meeting with Austrian violist, Klaus Christa, in Stellenbosch 10 years ago. Klaus took a real liking to the kids and he said if there was ever a chance that we could go to Austria, he would welcome us. One thing led to another and we’ve been overseas seven or eight times now, with the Bochabela Orchestra but of course with different pupils.

“This is now the pinnacle because to play at German and Austrian music festivals in the summer is the high point for a lot of organisations. Last year we played with the Vienna Boys’ Choir in Vienna, and that was very special. But this is now a new step into an ever evolving higher standard. This was so successful, they invited us back to the festival next year. This is a great opportunity for the kids, and a great validation for what the programme has been doing.”

Seithati Semenokane

seithati@centralmediagroup.co.za