Dear students, parents, ensemble members, staff, and community members,
It is with disappointment that I’m announcing the closure of Kutsinhira’s onsite programming as of September 28. No classes or ensemble gatherings may take place indoors or outdoors at the center until further notice.
With a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Lane County, local conditions don’t meet Kutsinhira’s criteria for remaining open. Therefore, the board voted yesterday, at a regularly scheduled board meeting, to close onsite programming.
Even though we hope this closure is temporary, the decision was still an emotional one. Being able to safely gather and make music with others has been a salve for many of us these last two months. However, the board remains committed to following thoughtful standards, guided by scientific principles, research, and best practices, both to ensure Kutsinhira is doing its part for the public health of our community and to ensure our members feel comfortable gathering when we are open.
Kutsinhira adopted a set of criteria in June to guide decisions such as these. You can review these criteria, with explanations and references in this PDF. We have been monitoring these criteria daily and will continue to do so.
Going forward, Kutsinhira’s status (open or closed) will be posted in a banner at the top of our website at kutsinhira.org. In addition, teachers, staff, and ensemble contacts will be notified on a weekly basis about whether the center will be open to in-person programming the following week. The determination of whether to reopen or remain closed will be automatic, based on whether our criteria are met at a weekly checkpoint.
We will also continue looking at options for indoor teaching at the Village School this fall, as well as remote teaching methods to replace outdoor instruction. We’ll share more information after we’ve explored those options further.
As I said back in March, at the onset of the pandemic, the music will go on and we will play together again. We must first wade through these tides together. Lane County’s COVID-19 alert level is currently High, so they’re recommending we all “take measures to limit most contact and modify everyday activities to reduce personal exposure.” Please take care of yourselves and stay well!
As our lives change so radically, my mind often turns to our friends in Zimbabwe. How are they faring through this pandemic? Like most of the rest of the world, they are under a lockdown which at times is strictly enforced with an authoritarian hand. This significantly effects their ability to earn money, to obtain food and to grow their own food. I’d like to share the following firsthand accounts. Be sure to read a somber and honest on the ground report from Nhimbe’s Jaiaen Beck. If you’d like to help out, funds can be donated to Kutsinhira where we will disburse funds asap to our teachers and friends as well as to organizations operating in Zimbabwe like Nhimbe, Tariro, Ngwana, Humwe, and Vaima, so that they can help their constituents. For more:
Kutsinhira will remain closed through June 12 as per state guidelines, restrictions and statutes. As restrictions are let up we will assess the appropriateness of opening the center again. As of now, no use will be permitted. Let’s hope for a summer full of marimba classes and performances. We will update you too in the future about the planned visits by our guest artists Musekiwa Chingodza, Cosmas Magaya and others who had planned to come through this year. Zimbabwe is currently under a strict 21-day lock down. This greatly hinders Zimbabweans ability to support themselves financially and even more so effect their ability to feed themselves and their families. Food deprivation is an imminent problem if things get worse. We will keep you all informed as things evolve here and in Zimbabwe.
We hope you are all holding up and staying healthy. Be sure to take time for your mental heatlh; breath, relax and stay connected.
Kwaziwai students, families and supporters – as our school year begins I’d like to welcome our students back. Our teaching program is stronger and larger than ever with 4 childrens’ marimba classes, 5 adult marimba classes including a new beginners class for the fall quarter, 2 mbira classes and a southern African singing class taught by our newest teacher Ratie Dangarembwa. This past year John Mambira also taught a Rhythms of Zimbabwe class for our youngest students aged 8-12. We hope to offer this class again in the near future. (more…)