On February 24, 2012 (the day I became a citizen of the United States of America) I founded The Tersia Jonck Music Education Fund to support music education of children ages 6 to 13 at Excelsior Primary School in South Africa. I was taught music notation and piano by my mother Tersia when I was 3 years old and started having music lessons at Excelsior Primary when I was 6. In 1975 Excelsior Primary was a classic apartheid school in Bellville, South Africa, in a middle class all white suburb. I flourished as a young pianist subsequently attending D.F. Malan High School and the University of Stellenbosch - all during the apartheid years. I was active in student politics but had to wait until my final year of university studies to witness the release of Madiba from Robben Island. In 1994 South Africa had its first free elections. By then I was the Chorus Master at the State Theater in Pretoria and my chorus participated in the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings - an event I will never forget and one that felt like the birth of my country. In 1998, my country still merely a toddler, I moved to the United States.
Today at age 23 the country of my birth is living through all the beauty, excitement, Angst - in short, growing pains - we expect from a young adult. It is living with that fact which freedom fighters everywhere know to be true: Freedom is not free - to have it is to understand the price tag it comes with.
My mother Tersia (at the fabulous age of 76) still teaches music at Excelsior Primary. As some of you know, she has tried unsuccessfully to retire twice! She not only teaches piano and music theory, but is the conductor of a successful choir and even more beautifully has embarked on a sing-along class for the entire school. Excelsior looks very different from the school I attended. Today, kids of many races greet my mom at the gate when she arrives for the school day.
We are currently running a special campaign to send the choir to the national choir competition in Pretoria to defend their title! They have won their category for the last two years. So far we have identified 11 children who will need our help.
Meet them here and read their messages. Click on any of their names to be linked to our fundrazr campaign.
We need $275 per child. With your help we can do this!
UPDATE: We have $530 more to raise to send my mom's choir to Pretoria to perform in the national choir competition! The fundrazr page lists the amazing $8,473 that YOU have graciously given since 2012 - there is no way to do a specific new challenge without setting up a new account. So far we have raised $2,060 of the total $3,000 we need for this special project.
Yay! I can't believe we're going to Pretoria this year to compete at the Finals. It will be really awesome to win the trophy a third time in a row, but Mrs Jonck says there are very good choirs in our category.
When my father heard how much this trip is going to cost it was like a hurricane hitting his wallet! I thought he was going to have a heart attack or a stroke!
You see, he has to pay another R900 for a sports tour the following week. I wish I could do something to help him ...
So any financial assistance that I can get would really help.
It would be just awesome for me to go on this trip to Pretoria. I have been a member of the junior and senior choir for 6 years. I have attended ALL concerts. I would do ANYTHING to go, because if I don't, I am letting the choir down.
The problem is my dad is the only one who works, but we are trying our best to collect enough money. I really hope we will succeed. Then I too can go on stage in Pretoria and make my school proud.
Lots of love,
Dear American friends
I am writing on behalf of my sister, Diyana, and myself:
We are SO proud of our choir to be invited to the ATKV Finals in Pretoria. It is awesome, because we have to fly there!
The only problem is that it costs a huge lot of money. My parents have to pay double the amount, because both their daughters sing in this choir!
Our family are really trying our best to collect as much as we can, but I am afraid we are going to fall short .....
It would be SOOO nice if you can send us a few dollars, PLZ !!!
Daneen and Diyana Fuller
My name is Remi-Mari McHelm and my sister, Georgia, and I both sing in our school's Senior Choir. We just love to sing! Fortunately Mrs Jonck thinks our voices are good enough to sing in her choir, so we made it and we are very proud of it.
2017 is a very special year: we have been invited to the Eisteddfod's Gala Evening in September AND to the ATKV Finals in Pretoria! Now isn't that just awesome!!
When we complain about the lot of money we have to raise for the tour, my teacher tells me: "If you are talented you must be prepared to work very hard. There is NO other way."
My father says it is impossible to pay R6000 for my sister and me. So we collect money from everyone we know. We hope we will get a nice donation from somewhere, but all our friends are as broke as we are!
My name is Kenneth and my sister, Amaka, and me sing in Excelsior's choir. Amaka has been in the choir for four years, but this is my first year.
It is such great fun, because Mrs Jonck teaches us the most beautiful songs and we can compete at the Eisteddfod and at the ATKV singing festivals.
I am 11 years old, and will hopefully be in this great choir until I am 13.
It would be great if you people can collect some money for the two of us. The tour is very, very expensive, and my parents cannot afford to send us both on this tour. Can you maybe send us a few dollars? As you may know; dollars are much, much more worth than our South African money.
I wish I can one day visit your amazing country .... my sister says that will never happen, but my teacher says we must follow our dreams.
With lots of love, from Kenneth Nwabufo
Hallo, I am Logan Joseph. I am so glad that our choir was invited to the final concert in Pretoria. Pretoria is way too far from Cape Town. They say we cannot go there by bus. Our choir mam says we will be so tired that we will not do our best. But a bus is much cheaper than to fly by airplane? My parents said I cannot go, because the choir tour costs too much. When I told Miss Jonck she said she will make a plan. Our family tries our best to get donations and sell raffle tickets and our choir mam is going to help me make hamburgers for our market day next week. I must just get orders from the teachers. This will help a lot, I will sell the burgers @ R20 each. Twenty burgers will get me R400. How cool is that!
My name is Anathi Bongwana. It is my first year in the choir. The thing that motivated me to go for an audition was because they won the competition twice in a row. I was so glad that the choir teacher took me in!
I would love to go to Pretoria, but it is just too expensive. My parents can't pay for it because they are struggling with financial problems. That is why I urgently need someone to help me out.
Greetings from South Africa!
I would love to go to Pretoria, but my Mom is struggling to get the money.
This would mean SO much to me. It would make me very sad if I don't go.
I am glad to be in Excelsior Primary School and I am very proud to sing in this wonderful choir.
God bless you!
I love this choir. I have been a choir member for very long, and it is very sad that this is my last year. I would love to go to Pretoria, but it is SOOO expensive. I will appreciate any help that I can get.
Thank you for reading this.
I am so happy to be part of a choir like this and to have a good voice.
Unfortunately my mother cannot pay for me and my sister Remi-Mari.
Whether I go on this tour or not, I will always love singing, no matter what!