Musical students from across Leeds showcased their talents in the city of Durban in a project which took three years of planning.
Current and former students from schools across the city - including Roundhay, Abbey Grange, Allerton Grange, Lawnswood and Woodkirk Academy - travelled over to schools of the South African city, which is twinned with Leeds. The students make up youth folk music group Roots Alive and spent a week to share their skills on the trip of a lifetime to share their skills, organised by Ruth Wild, head of string and guitar at ArtForms, which founded the band.
Each member raised about £1,000 through fundraising in the community - mainly public performances - so no band player would be excluded because of the trip’s cost.
Stephen Wild, head of ArtForms, said: “They performed at functions such as ceilidhs, weddings, parties. They used music to make money - to make music. It was absolutely wonderful.”
The band’s first stop was Beacon Ridge Primary School, where they taught how to play ukuleles and whistles and listened to the local children sing.
Mr Wild said: “We knew singing was strong in Zulu culture but we weren’t prepared for the great, spine-tingling surge of sound as soon as the class started to sing.”
The students also visited Thandimfundo Primary School, which came out in their entirety to greet the band, who taught - and left behind - a variety of percussion instruments.
Roots Alive also spent time at Mayville High School and Open Air School, for pupils with speical needs. During their week-long trip the students also visited a game reserve, the beach and a traditional Zulu celebration. Mr Wild said: “It was a life changing moment for all of us - staff as well as the students.
“One of the band said that it was an amazing experience - rewarding and moving. We hope it lives long in the young people in South Africa too, which I’m sure it will.” Band members are: Emma Booth, Arron Dewhirst, Emma Gilbank, Alice Macpherson, Ruth Mitchell, Matilda Parslow, Roshni Popli, Emily Richardson, Kate Williamson, and staff Stephen Wild, Nic Shipp and Tricia Kyte.