Playing towards sustainability
The Western Front
January 26, 2015
A young Tanzanian girl sits in a concrete classroom crammed full of blue steel desks. In her hands is a clarinet, the sun reflects off its shiny keys as she shifts her hands to form an F note. The sound of music fills the room.
Although the African Blackwood, known as Mpingo, used to craft the clarinet is indigenous to Tanzania, it was only weeks ago that the girl had first seen or heard a clarinet. This is the case for the majority of Tanzanians, said Michele Von Haugg, founding director of Clarinets for Conservation.
Clarinets for Conservation is an organization that aims to teach children in Tanzania and the U.S. sustainability through musical education.
The organization focuses on the importance of the endangered African Blackwood.
On Thursday, Jan. 15, founder Von Haugg and Western alumna Audrey Miller visited Western to perform and raise awareness for their cause.
Miller travelled with Von Haugg when they spent the summer of 2013 in Tanzania working alongside each other.
Every summer, from May to the end of July, clarinet musicians visit Tanzania to teach students how to play.
Von Haugg decided to take her love for music and her clarinet back to its place of origin and use it to teach people in East Africa about the value of Mpingo, she said….