I'm Neville Young, a medical college computer person and amateur trumpet player in London, UK. Our three kids all play or played in Haringey Young Musicians (HYM) - the orchestra and the big band. In the summer of 2000 HYM, including my two oldest kids and their Mum, went on tour to South Africa, and this group, the Siyakhula Music Project, was one of the places that they visited.
It clearly made a huge impression. I have written on the Siyakhula page about the fact that it is not a rich project. They are doing something there on very limited resources that is of great value. Since meeting the group (one child stayed with us and there were number of joint concerts and events) I have felt strongly that I wanted to do something to help, and that, because I am a trumpet player (however bad!) myself, that it would be nice if it was in the form of some money towards equipment and other resources they need. This is not in any way to decry the value of the incredible fundraising that happened in Haringey to pay the costs of the travel here (it has cost tens of thousands and many people have done amazing feats of fundraising to get there) but it's just that, in effect, I wanted to buy them a trumpet or two, and since I can't do that on my own, I thought I would ask you to help.
The idea has grown a little since my original idea but it's still the same thing - a present from a group of people. You will see on the donation page how it is possible to identify yourself as a member of one group or another - I just thought it would be fantastic to be able to say to them "This is from a world-wide group of trumpet players/this is from my colleagues/ this is from people who read the same newspaper as me". I suppose it's a sort of solidarity thing. Years ago TPIN clubbed together to buy a good trumpet as a surprise for a young player and I enjoyed that immensely - something almost conspiratorial about it!. I'm trying to do something that feels like that, I guess.
And no, I haven't thought what to do about people who say they are members of two or more groups, I haven't drawn any Venn diagrams! The donation page was getting so complicated that I wondered about dropping the whole thing and just having one button but in the end I thought people might think it fun. In another way it does not, of course, really matter! It all ends up in the same place.
The PayPal thing has been a bit of a nightmare. You will see my attempts at clear guidance on the relevant pages but since this is more of a personal ramble, let me tell you that it all got a bit complex. It seems that it probably works very well if you are in the US - I assume that they have better access to the credit card people's computer systems and can do their validation quicker. But outside the US you have to sign up properly as an international user, it wants you to get some numbers from your next statement (which is why a card with online statements is a good idea - not essential but just quicker!) it wants your inside leg measurement, blood group, favourite yoghurt flavour and your top ten 80s pop songs. Now, if you can write cheques (or checks if you prefer) in pounds sterling then great, please do, because that's probably going to be fast and cheap, but if you can't, and you would have to use PayPal, please please do because even though it's a bit fiddly outside the US you only have to do it once and then you will be a truly cool dude (or dudette) and a member of the fast lane of the online economy and things, and your neighbours will look at you with new awe. And you can use it for all sorts of other stuff (eBay, buying excellent trumpet bags from Jim Gerdel, some secondhand stuff on Amazon, etc etc) and you will, in the long term, have done yourself a favour, and been able to make your donation, and you will thank me (honest!) Please think about it and don't be put off by the hassle - it's relatively slight and you are helping these kids and their music workshop. I signed up with PayPal before I'd even thought about this current thing and yes, it was a slight drag (though not as bad as some online systems I've used) but since then I have found it entirely trouble free.
Just to add a bit, the main fundraising effort was centred around Siyakhula's visit here in 2001. I am no longer actively pursuing it, not because the project does not need further support, but just because I have too many other things to do and am a bit too thinly spread at times. If any more donations are made I will certainly pass them on. Really, Siyakhula could probably do with a proper support group with charitable status, a secretary, regular fundraising etc - but I fear I am past my sell-by date for that sort of work so it's not going to be me doing it, unless some unimaginably radical alteration in my circumstances takes place. Redundancy followed by a massive lottery win would be about right, for example.
I hugely enjoyed doing the fundraising and it met its objective - a concentrated, quick, focused attack which left us with money and instruments and music to send home with them. In fact, most of the money got turned into instruments before they left, so they had good new stuff to take back with them. The two boxes of music - a fantastic collection! - kindly given to me by an old friend, languished here for a while due to prohibitive shipping costs, but were then handed over to Brian in the summer of 2003 when he was here for a brief visit. His delight, not only in the music but in the fruits of all these other efforts, was something to see.
I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to the many kind people who gave money, instruments and music. You really have made a big difference. Thank you.
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