It is not common to find students staging classic musical concerts. This explains why the alumni, parents, staff, students and friends of Saint Mark’s College, Namagoma (SMACON) were in a joyful mood as the school’s choir presented their Christmas concert at the school, in Wakiso district on Saturday.
The concert, dubbed The Tiny Little Baby featured common Christmas songs, which included traditional Christmas melodies, such as Little Drum Boy, O Little Town of Bethlehem Behold a Virgin Shall Conceive and While Shepherds Watched their Flocks.
The students also sang American negro-spirituals, such as Hallelujah to the Lamb and African traditional melodies like Polycarp Ochola’s Bin Immanuel and Alleluia Amezaliwa (Kenyan melody), which were accompanied with African dance.
It thus did not matter the musical genre to which one subscribed. One unique aspect of the concert was its ecumenical character, which brought the beauty of human solidarity and peaceful co-existence. Protestant students sang together with their Muslim, Catholic and Born-again brethren. It was wonderful to hear songs of Fr Dr James Kabuye of the Catholic Church being sung alongside those from the Anglican hymn book of Namirembe Cathedral.
Students enriched their musical presentations with musical instruments like organ, cello, violins and guitars. The concert was characterised by a touch of class and excellence. The beautiful dresscode of the choristers, their stage formation and decoration created a wonderful spectacle; credit to John Paul Ssenkubuge, the choir’s trainer/ conductor.
The concert’s top-notch artistry was also boosted by skilled commentators, who narrated the related messianic scriptures of the respective songs that were sung and acted. The concert attracted even greater excitement when the school’s board chairperson, Peter Jjemba and the co-director Alice Ddamulira, took the mike and crooned Harry Belafonte’s Jamaica Farewell.
Ddamulira later performed Christmas songs, such as Joy to the world, We three Kings and Feliz Navidad with the students. The choir of the alumni also entertained the guests with a number of Christmas melodies. Buganda’s minister of finance and economic planning, Rotarian Robert Wagwa Nsibirwa (who was the chief guest) was impressed by the musicianship of the Smacon students.
He donated sh1m to the school choir. Nsibirwa later thanked the directors of the school, Daniel and Alice Ddamulira, the staff led by the headteacher, Paul Kaye, for identifying and nurturing the talents of the students through their enriching co-curricular programmes. He also commended the leadership and team spirit of the stakeholders, to which he attributed the school’s success.
Nsibirwa later gave the students tips for prosperity. “Ensure that you identify and develop your talents. Many people are living lucratively because of their talents. But you can still excel even without a talent. There are five things you need to do; value time, dress well, have a right attitudes towards work, exhibit appropriate body language and be passionate about everything you do,” he said.
Ddamulira said the concert was intended among, other things, to help students assimilate the message of Christmas and subsequently deepen their religious knowledge and moral understanding. Dignitaries, such as Hon Ritah Kisitu, Rotarian Jennifer Seninde (Innerwheel Club of Mengo), Fr Alexander Kambagira (an alumni)