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Sierra Leone News: Ballanta Academy of Music announces mini-auditorium project

It used to be a garage, scattered with auto parts, building materials and extraneous academy detritus. But, in the minds of Principal Kitty Fadlu-Deen, Julius Spencer and Tani Pratt, among countless others, the garage space will soon become a mini-auditorium for performing arts, music and theatre. On Thursday 8 November 2018, Ballanta Music Academy, on Liverpool Street in central Freetown, launched their mini-auditorium project to turn a dirty, open garage into a state-of-the-art, 150-seat, concert hall. Against a whitewashed wall, the Ballanta signature band, “Groovy Colours” welcomed guests and provided the backdrop for the launch reception. Tani Pratt, Chair of the Ballanta Academy Board of Directors, said, “This Academy and our future auditorium will nourish the youth and create a home for music and arts.” “We will turn this space into a performance space that will attract music lovers and concert-goers of all ages,” said Kitty Fadlu-Deen, the Principal of the Academy. “This space will fill a hole in the arts and music environment in Freetown. We’ll be able to host concerts – big and small – and it will be affordable for all groups.” The auditorium space was designed by Jarret-Yaskey, Garber and Associates (jyga Architects) and will feature a raised wooden stage, 150 seats on two tiers, changing rooms, washrooms, and box office space. The entire project is expected to cost $60,000 USD. The imaginative design was unveiled by Julius Spencer, a Ballanta Academy Development Committee Member. He said, “The Chinese Embassy, whom we are grateful to, has kick-started our fund-raising and we have started the renovations.” The Chinese Embassy donated $10,000 USD to the mini-auditorium and has pledged to support Ballanta with musical equipment in the future. A representative of the Chinese Embassy said this project was out of passion and a commitment to the youth of the country. Julius Spencer added, “We know the importance of arts in a society and an individual. Our creativity exists despite our education system, which does not nurture imagination or creativity or arts.” He continued, “Ballanta has been educating and entertaining people in the performing arts for years and a mini-auditorium is our next contribution to the growth of the arts in Sierra Leone.” “The government will realize that the creative arts can open a vast employment opportunity for young people… in music, film, dance, theatre and other arts,” Spencer noted. “We have lost our creative instinct and become imitators. But, Sierra Leoneans, young and old, are thirsty for good quality entertainment. At this venue, they will be entertained and educated… to the ultimate benefit of the country,” Spencer said. To turn a garage space into a concert hall will not take a miracle… just hard work, commitment and a bit of money. Kitty Fadlu-Deen said the Academy has started fund raising and hopes to raise enough money to finish the project by March 2019. “We will be soliciting donations for the mini-auditorium from corporations and individuals. It’s a very important and significant effort and we hope more people get involved.” Ballanta Academy of Music is at 27 Liverpool Street in Freetown. They can be reached at 232 30632671 or ballanta.info@gmail.com.


Friday November 09, 2018.

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