SAMY - flute
Samy is one of the founding members of the orchestra and has been playing the flute for 20 years.
He is the section leader and he has taught many of the the younger flutists in the orchestra.
Since he was the first to try to play his instrument, he had to figure out everything on his own. From learning how to hold the flute to trying to get a sound out and finding all the notes, everything was done by trial and error. He would spend days experimenting, just trying out different combinations of fingerings, writing it down, hoping to find a scale. What I find even more incredible is that although he's a veteran player, he is very humble and wants to keep growing. Understandably, some of his self-taught playing techniques need to be worked on, but he is quite good and being able to fix a habit that he's had for 20 years!
He said to us, "Everything I did, I did by experimentation, so what I've figured out, I want to pass on. I don't want others to waste time like I did. This is why I am so grateful for the lessons you are providing for us."
Samy works for a big security company in Kinshasa. He says that his job is really stressful, and each day, he yearns to finish his shift and open his flute case, because that's when he can find peace. You can truly hear that when he plays! He feels every note deep in his heart, and he is great at connecting music with his deepest emotions.
NATHALIE - flute
Nathalie is also one of the early members of the orchestra, and she has been playing the flute for 18 years.
She was very shy at first, but to our great pleasure, has opened up to us quite a bit. She is always with us, and always eager to play! She plays with a sweet, beautiful sound and has great technique as well!
Natalie is a single mother and has two beautiful boys. When she is rehearsing with the orchestra, her sister helps take care of her kids. She is super fashionable and always wears beautiful dresses to our workshops everyday. When we asked her where she buys her dresses, she told us that she is actually a seamstress by trade, and that all the dresses she wears are designed and made on her own. She also smiled and added, “Yes, seamstress is part of what I do, but what I am, I am a musician!” Indeed, she is a true artist!
GUYLLY - flute
Guylly has been playing the Flute for 8 years, and joined the orchestra 7 years ago. Prior to joining the orchestra, he played the recorder in the church ensemble. He has an older sister who sings Soprano in the church choir and also plays the Clarinet. He lives with his entire family, including his parents and younger brother not far from the orchestra site, and he walks about 5 kilometers each day to get there.
He used to be timid and shy at our workshops, but on our latest trip, we discovered that he has a great sense of humor. We often relied on him to ease the mood when the group lessons felt too serious.
He is always eager to learn, and even more eager to teach what he learned to his own students. You can see him enthusiastically nodding his head or jumping up and down during our lessons, and as soon as our lessons are over we see him zooming towards his students to teach them what he has just learned. Whenever we pass him by, he asks us to listen to his young students as well.
When we asked him what music means to him, he said, “I love music like my own family. Samy and Nathalie (the other flutists in the orchestra) are not my teachers, not my friends, they are my brothers and sisters.” When we asked if he ever gets tired of our long lessons, he passionately replied, "We (him and others there) are proud to learn or play music, and we don’t show that we're tired, because we are proud and happy to learn from you (the teachers of Music Beyond). In Congo, many people play instruments in their own communities, but we are the first classical orchestra, and I'm extremely proud to be a part of that. It's very expensive to learn or to pursue music, so I'm extremely happy for our lessons.”
His passion and kindness can be heard through his interactions with the other members of the orchestra, his students, and most of all, in the way he performs the Flute and smiles when he’s satisfied with his own playing.
GUY - flute
Guy is one of the younger Flutists in the orchestra, and certainly one of the most serious musicians in the ensemble.
He was the first musician we met in DR Congo, and from the very beginning, he has shown us his intelligence, his kindness, and his commitment to Flute playing. He actually practiced so hard that he hurt his lips and had to stop playing for a short period of time!
He is the only person in his family to play an instrument, and while his family doesn’t quite understand why he spends all his time at the orchestra site and complains if he practices too long at his house, it doesn’t stop him one bit.
He is usually one of the first ones to show up in the morning, and we have both been amazed by how deep his thirst for knowledge seems to be. He will gladly take a 3 hour lesson, just on long tones or fundamentals, and stare at you with his very serious eyes the entire time. He said he likes music, because he “cannot think of anything else he would rather do with his time.”
He works as a mechanic, often with Junior, a Clarinetist in the orchestra, but as soon as his work and house duties are finished, he races to the orchestra site where he is greeted warmly by his other family - the family of musicians.
He also teaches many of the younger Flutists with Guilly, and the two of them practice duets together in addition to working on the 2nd Flute orchestra parts together.
~ Special thanks to Herricks High School Students Sara Ahmed and Anchal Goyal for helping us translate our interviews from French to English! ~
...Stay tuned for more stories of members of the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra!