A visit from Kenneth Jones-Madrid

The Venezuelan Embassy had arranged for Kenneth to visit the school in Melbourne, and flew him, his uncle, who lives in Australia and the Cultural Attache from the Venezuelan Embassy down to Melbourne.

Jeff Bell, the wonderful Principal of Laverton College, had organised, in response to this visit, to move the full school assembly from Friday to Wednesday to allow for Kenneth to play for the school and for us to meet the school community – which ranges in age from 6-19, and from dozens and dozens of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Laverton College embraces a wonderful multicultural diversity within its student community and the wider community of Laverton.

Jeff introduced us all, and I gave a short speech about the program we are establishing – then I introduced Kenneth Jones-Madrid. He played a beautiful and complex piece of Bach ( if you want to hear the music, not as played by Kenneth, but the same piece, here ).

His performance went for about 6-7 minutes.

I was watching the faces of the 600 kids and young people as they watched him and listened to him playing. Most were spellbound, some pretending not to be, but all was as quiet as quiet. And still.

As Kenneth finished… the hall erupted into loud and continuous applause, woohooing, whistling and even a bit of screaming! It was like the kind of reception you’d get for a rock-star!

He played another short piece as an encore and the same again. In fact the applause kept coming back.

Several teachers said they had never seen such a reaction from the school before.

I certainly wasn’t expecting it – and nor was Kenneth; he said he hadn’t experienced that before from an audience!

This is so tremendously encouraging, because it means the kids are quite wonderfully accepting of such music, and the program has been boosted by such a reaction. The kids were invited to ask questions for the last five minutes and really asked some very good ones! Even Jeff was impressed by them!

Considerable thanks to Jeff and Steve and the other teachers for organising this at such short notice. And thanks for looking after the Venezuelans so well – they were very touched and impressed by the school and its hospitality. As was I!

Onward and upward!

Christopher A Nicholls
Sistema Australia Inc.

Office: PO Box 4240 Manuka ACT 2603, Australia
P: +61 (0)2 6495 1093
M: +61 (0) 418 487322
E: chrisn@sistemaaustralia.com.au

W: http://www.sistemaaustralia.com.au
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