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The Convocation Orchestra pulls out musical touchstones Special

By Neema Tele     Sep 10, 2013 in Entertainment
Dar Es Salaam - “Anything's possible at the ceremonies”. Asonga says, because it's important to play traditional convocation music, but it's also important to entertain and play to the audience.
Dar es Salaam university, music professor Daniel Asonga has only been serving as conductor of the Convocation Band since 2009, but he's already had one illustrious moment - he climbed out of the orchestra pit and onto the stage to greet his wife, Jane Asonga, after he'd earned her master's degree in secondary education. "I do try to switch things up, depending on the crowd, and I try to pick up what's going on in the community," today said Asonga.
"I might possibly find something in the jazz vein that we could play during the preamble," said Asonga. "The band is fabulous - it is easily the best band I have ever conducted. The musicians are the best in Tanzania and that makes them very good because Tanzania has a very high standard of musician available. A number of them are members of the Tanzania Symphony Orchestra wind section and others are wind professors here – Gilbert Mutai plays in the band and is our sax professor here at the University of Dar es Salaam. So these are just the best people we can possibly get."
"The band doesn't play jazz, but Gilbert Mutai is a fabulous musician so I think our pride will be on the line. Professional pride will take over. With any show that musicians perform over and over, you can get stale, but these are professional musicians."There is a language to the music the orchestra performs. Just before the platform party makes its way to the stage, the orchestra plays the University of Dar es Salaam Cheer Song, as a signal to the platform party that they're about to make their way on stage. "I like it for its tunefulness, for its regalness," he said.
But he's certainly willing to lead the orchestra to other musical touchstones."I try to make it a blend of sort of traditional band music, but I'm also trying to update the repertoire including some newer arrangements. " he said.
"Most people in the audience won't know the traditional band repertoire, so I am trying to put in some music the audience will recognize, everything from marches to classical transcriptions originally for orchestras to band originals and movie themes," Daniel Asonga said.
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