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An Instrument of Change - 35 years of investing in the arts
Community Coordinator

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Just like a masterpiece starts on an empty canvas, and a symphony begins with one small note – every great artist starts somewhere too.


For 35 years, we’ve been invested in the stories and journeys of some of our country’s greatest artists. The people whose pictures have made our walls come alive, and whose lyrics have made our hearts sing for joy.


We believe that art, in any form, has the ability to transform a society. It has the potential to take us places we never dreamed possible. It has power. And like Romera Britto said, “Art is too important not to share.”


It’s why we’ve been involved in initiatives like the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards - acknowledging emerging, young talent in different disciplines and affording them national exposure and acclaim. It’s seen the likes of William Kentridge and South Africa’s first lady of song, Sibongile Khumalo climb the ranks and grace the world stage.


Giving the youth access and a platform to be recognised is something we are very passionate about. Both the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band and the Standard Bank National Schools Big Band have afforded many young artists the opportunity to perform with some of the world’s best musicians. Jazz trumpeter and composer, Mandla Mlangeni is proof of this, having had his talent nurtured through both these bands.


It’s not just an opportunity, it could be a life changing one - because while a young musician may walk onto the stage, the next South African legend may walk off it.


The opening night of this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will host some of the Standard Bank Young Artist alumni who will perform to thousands of South Africans, and the Youth Jazz Band will be performing alongside some amazing acts too.


On Heritage Day, as we celebrate our country’s cultural wealth, our National Schools Big Band will be stepping up onto stage and performing with world-famous, Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize winner for Music, Wynton Marsalis. He is someone whose talent surpasses the norm. Someone who is at the pinnacle of brilliance. And just like everyone else, also started somewhere.


For us, it’s more than an investment into the arts, it’s a commitment to our youth and our future.


Because art can make the biggest impact. One chord can inspire a chorus, and a single lyric can start a movement. So, if we can change just one artist’s world… play on.