Lunch Hour Jams at the FPA
The Head of the FPA Department, Dr. Grant Nthala, explains that the idea of the jam sessions was born out of the observation that a lot of people, including students and staff, hang around the Great Hall premises at lunch hour, either partaking of some meals of waiting for classes. The department then realized that it could come in to serve the entertainment needs of the people, to make the lunch hour pass in a lively fashion.
“The purpose of the sessions is to provide entertainment to students and staff,” Dr Nthala points out. “We want to create a relaxed atmosphere for individual recreation in a musically soothing environment after hours of academic work and day-to-day assignments. We further wish to showcase our musical abilities and achievements as a department through music expressions targeted at our listening, watching, passing by and admiring audiences.”
For the music students, the performances offer hands-on experience in showcasing their skills to the public. The sessions are a more relaxed atmosphere, without the pressure that usually accompanies playing for assessment. The result is that most of them have grown in confidence in performing before the public.
Since the sessions begun, they have proved to be popular among staff and students, who are usually found on the FPA grounds. Additionally, the entertainment is gradually attracting patronage from outside the college. True to their claim, one of the jam sessions attended by the Chanco Bulletin crew was a truly mesmerizing experience. During the session, three students – Blessings Chisama, Masankho Ligomeka and Priscilla Phiri – struck up a variety of smooth jazz tunes, which had patrons glued to their seats around the Great Hall entrance. That such a treat was for free is a reality that is still sinking in. The performers use instruments from the FPA Department, with some technological and engineering equipment and expertise provided by staff from the Great Hall. A lot of preparation goes into the sessions, ensuring that instruments are finely tuned, and that the electronic equipment is in proper operating state.
The result is, to use a cliché, music to the ears.