COVID Capers 2

As our economy starts to re-open, and some of us are getting back to work, news is mixed for us at Masamba Samba School.

On the positive side, it looks like the schools will be re-opening in September, which might mean that we can get back to our many teaching projects. It was disappointing that the lockdown was called when we were facing into a really busy time with workshops, but hopefully, we can pick up where we left off.

Performances are another matter. It is hard to see howdy public shows will be allowed for the remainder of 2020. This is not only disappointing because we enjoy the opportunity to perform live, but it will also have a financial impact, and make life very difficult.

On the plus side, we have had a couple of positive results on the funding front:

  1. We have been awarded a Business Continuity Voucher from the Dublin City Local Enterprise Office, to the value of €2,500. This voucher will facilitate us to work with a marketing consultant to design a promotional strategy, which will hopefully accelerate our re-entry into the ‘marketplace’ – i.e. get us some extra teaching work in.
  2. We were also successful in getting the maximum grant of  €500 from the Civic Theatre Artist Emergency Relief Fund. It may not be a huge amount of money, but anything that assists cashflow is vitally important at this time.

There has been an impetus to simply ‘Bunker down’ until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, as this would be a way of saving money. We don’t agree. We have remained busy throughout the lockdown, as has been detailed in earlier posts to this site. Since our last blog, we have completed the following:

The drafting and adoption of a Music Tutor’s Code of Practice, which confirms our commitment to providing a quality learning environment in all that we do. This in turn has brought out other aspects of policy that need to be updated. We are planning to carry out a complete overhaul of our organisational handbook, which currently weighs in at 124 pages, before the end of July – fun times ahead;-)

On the policy front, we are also developing a ‘Return to Work Safely Protocol’, which is a statutory requirement for all companies, and which should be completed in advance of any direct teaching or performance work taking place. We have received some training on this, through our association with a network of community services managers, but as the government guidelines are changing rapidly at the moment, it remains unclear what the final document should look like. Hopefully, there will be some definitive information for our sector soon.

We’re delighted to have received this framed top, from our good friend Ken Dawson who passed away in 2013. Ken joined Masamba when he moved to Ireland from Canada, and quickly became a dedicated member, and contributed greatly to the craic! 
We were devastated when Ken was taken from us, and this project has been on our agenda for some time. Many thanks to Micheal Breathnach at the Oat Gallery in Ballinasloe for taking on the work – as they like to say across the water, GOOD JOB!!!!

There are some more details on Ken’s time at Masamba here:

Also, we had some stickers made for tagging instruments and also possibly to hand out to kids in workshops. Lots of work to finalise details with the printers, but now that they’ve been done once, it will be easy to repeat them.

We have also been forging ahead with our project to put our new customised drum skins onto our instruments, and also to complete the final drum wraps. Both Contemporanea and Horizon Digital Print have put in some sterling work in creating these  items for us, so we owe it to them to show them off to all in sundry. 

Initial Feedback to Connor Rousseau’s video about Masamba’s work in the community, entitled ‘A Child’s Heart Sings to the Beat of a Drum’ has been extremely positive, and we are hoping to spread the word, and maybe get it attached to a few websites and maybe even a TV broadcast. The documentary can be found on YouTube here: 

Masamba’s continued operations are only possible with the generous support of the Community Services Programme, an initiative of the Department of Rural and Community Affairs.

About Simeon

Masamba Samba School is Ireland's premier Afro-Brasilian music and dance group.
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