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Introducing… The UMKULO Team:

Chris Dorsey

Blogging Persona: “Task Man”

Actual Role: Outreach Director

Trendy Translation: Dude with a Vision

Chris went to Cape Town in May 2007 on a study abroad through his university. Majoring in Music Business, Chris realized there was a huge love for music but no way to express it in an organized fashion. With others on the trip, the question was asked: “what if there was a local academy that could use music education to help the poor?”

Chris went back to Cape Town for three months in 2008 to get this idea off the ground. With the help of a local radio station, CCFm and non-profit organization, Living Hope, he launched the Mobile Music Academy. He saw first-hand the talent and desire to learn in the children who auditioned and were accepted into the Academy. Chris realized the best way to help sustain them and promote music education in Africa was to create a non-profit in the States. Thus, The UMKULO Project was born.

Lauren Winfield

Blogging Persona: “The Story Lady”

Actual Role: Director of Marketing & Strategic Planning

Trendy Translation: Idea Wrangler and Detail Connoisseur

Lauren went to Cape Town in March of 2007 to study the music business of South Africa for her degree thesis. She realized there wasn’t much of a business in place, but there were incredibly talented and music-loving individuals who had no real way to express themselves. She then shifted her focus onto a local church choir and how music can give back to the community and give hope to the poor.

With a marketing degree under her belt, Lauren’s dream has been to use her studies, her love for non-profit organizations, global issues and music to help better the world. She was introduced to Chris through a mutual friend and ever since their first chat over coffee, The UMKULO Project has been rolling. Lauren provides the marketing know-how, the experience with non-profits, and the spark needed to turn the dreams of The UMKULO Project into reality.

Adam Rae

Blogging Persona: “The Overseer”

Actual Role: Operations Planner

Trendy Translation: Business Love Junkie

Adam began starting businesses in his mid-teens. He’s always had a love for turning ideas into self-sustaining projects. He went to a university in Kansas to study music but life brought him home to Colorado and later to Nashville with the realization that business was his passion. He recently graduated with an Entrepreneurship degree and is currently working as an accountant at a local restaurant.

Adam nearly went to Cape Town in 2008 to help AIDS organization, Living Hope set up a program helping the poor save money and create small businesses. He raised the support, but a doctor suggested he stay for medical reasons. He donated the money to Living Hope and continued to look for ways to serve. Lauren introduced him to The Umkulo Project and immediately, he got on board. With Adam’s expertise, the vision is becoming reality and has a realistic chance to catch fire.

Kendra Crabtree

Actual Role: Music Education Specialist

Trendy Translation: Musically-Inclined Perfectionist

Kendra spent a month in Swaziland (an island country within South Africa) in 2006. She left part of her heart there and knew she’d be back. With a lifetime of music experience, she focused her studies on Music Education and turned it into a degree. She moved home to Knoxville after graduation to teach private lessons and find out where her life was heading, but Africa kept resonating in her mind.

Recently, Kendra felt she was to spend an entire year or more in Africa. After one coffee chat with Chris, she realized her talents could be utilized in the poor townships of Cape Town at the Mobile Music Academy. As the only member of the team with music education experience, Kendra offers a unique perspective that will enhance the music scene in Cape Town and beyond as The Umkulo Project seeks to support music education across Africa.

p.s. Kendra was planning to go to Cape Town in January 2010, but has since bumped her trip up to Summer ’09. She’ll be an Umkulo Liaison and will be the first in Africa since the formation of The Umkulo Project.

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