2005 Report


Visit of Starehe Boys to Macclesfield 2005: taken from Jan 2006 newsletter

One of the best moments of 2005 was the visit to Macclesfield not only of HRH Princess Anne, but also of six students and the Bandmaster from Starehe Boys’ School, Nairobi.  One of the boys, clarinettist Kennedy Miruka (or Kennedy Junior as he became known!) writes in his own inimitable style of his first trip to England: 


“Our visit to Macclesfield is one of those phenomena that I find very difficult to describe. Whenever someone asks me to describe the visit I always feel I have stunted vocabulary for that.  Should I say it was marvellous? exhilarating? unforgetttable? superb? varieted? or what?
On arrival to Maccles my first impressions were that we were at home away from home. Immediately we stepped out of the train we were all infested with smiles. The smiles coming from our hosts emitted a homely warmth that spread amongst us like bushfire. Never before and never again have I met such a friendly, homely and lovely people! One incident that I vividly recall is when I left my suitcase in the train to Manchester and Sue, Colin, Beryl and Vin had to take a lot of trouble until they found it.
My most memorable activities were The Reception of HRH Princess Anne, the concert by MDMT, the visit to Silk FM, the numerous trips around the countryside of Macclesfield especially to Jodrell Park and Quarry Mill Park.  The reception was fantastic. Something very special about it was that the Princess was able to start up a conversation with every individual in the big congregation. Something else very striking about Macclesfield is the numerous performance of concerts. By the time we left Maccles I had already incalcated a few pieces by MDMT in my memory (Our bandmaster is very good at that, he can hear a tune once and play it exactly the same way after three years without using any script!)Most memorable were Macavity The Jellicle Cat, In The Mood and Misa Luba.
When we went to Silk FM with Mr.Donaldson, he told me it was his first time to a radio station, so was it for me. It was therefore fantastic to hear our voices on air the following morning. It was such a great experience one would not easily forget.
One particular visit to Quarry Mill Park really impressed me about not only Cheshire but the whole of the U.K. I realised that history is really valued in the U.K. as we were able to see items that are actually many centuries old but well maintained. In Kenya it is hard to come by things that have more than a century of recorded history. What I will not forget about Quarry Mill Park is the large wheel driven by water power. We also noticed a big difference in the colour of landscape. We really wondered what you give to the grass to make them so green and Stephanie told me that you give them a lot of rainfall, a fact that was confirmed to us by Colin and Beryl and by our own observations.
We never missed out on the legendary Old Trafford City. The stadium was so astonishingly galactical and the pitch was so green we wondered if footballers really stepped on it during the match. We were even astonished to learn that the grass is usually sold periodically.
We were all equally surprised by the populace of Macclesfield. Contrary to our expectations and contrary to the state at Kenya, the majority of the populace consisted majorly of old people. We kept wondering where the teens were. More surprising was that the congregation by the local standards was regarded as big while in fact it was just a small fraction of the numbers we are used to in Kenya. John Squares, the church minister even surprised us more by telling us that the Macclesfield Methodist Church was one of the biggest churches around.
I have very many comments about the food. By the way, the first time we went to a hotel I ordered hot chicken wings and guess what I was brought, cold steamless chicken wings with a lot of pepper and other spices. I only came to learn later what hot food meant. The food was generally very good but had low temperatures. The only thing we had to adjust to was the salad. We never eat vegetables uncooked, it was therefore very funny for us to start eating salad which we considered as uncooked vegetables.
        The visit to Macclesfield was a great opportunity that exposed us to such a wonderful experience that none of us would easily forget. With the musicality of the area and the friendliness of the families, we would have all wished to stay there forever but all that has a beginning also has an ending and so the last day for us in Macclesfield finally came and we all had to leave. We will never forget that last day because it was the most difficult part of our lives. Parting ways with our hosts was the most difficult thing to do then but we hope we shall meet each other again. We would like them to visit us in Kenya and also enjoy another home away from home as we did.”
Kennedy Miruka

Our visitors from Starehe.

We were privileged to welcome into our home Starehe Bandmaster Yahya Sebit and pupil Edward Mbogo. Whilst they shared a common love for music they were very different characters not surprising in view of the age differential, approaching 80 and 17. Sebit’s pride and commitment to the quality of music produced was matched by the style displayed when he put on his Bandmaster’s uniform, a sight to behold! Edward provided the counterpoint through his quiet, unassuming personality, yet no less dedicated to his own standards of musical, and indeed personal social, performance. Their frequent expressions of gratitude were unnecessary in view of the sheer pleasure their visit gave us and our family. Both would be warmly welcomed back, anytime.
Sue and Vin Thomas. (Friends of MDMT)