On Friday, the Berklee team in Nairobi was invited to the residence of Michael E. Rannenberger, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, for his annual Independence Day celebration (two days early).  It was a swanky affair held in the Ambassador’s spacious back yard.  Getting in was akin to going through airport security, complete with metal detectors and pat downs (and a strict no photos policy at the gate), but once inside we were treated to drinks and tasty food – including four large American flag cakes – and mingled with local and foreign dignitaries.

mmmm, cake!

After performances by two local choirs (see video of one below), Berklee alumnus Eric Wainaina ’02 performed beautiful renditions of the National Anthems of both Kenya and the U.S. for the 1,000 guests in attendance with his band members Marvin Mutisya (drums), Aaron Rimbui (piano), and Omamu Isaac Mugunba (guitar), and Berklee professors Ron Reid (bass) and Dan Moretti (saxophone).

Prior to the National Anthems, the Wema Children’s Choir performed several tunes, including this awesome version of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” pretty much the last thing I expected to hear. The Wema Centre, founded in 1993, is an organization that works to transform orphaned and vulnerable children, and disadvantaged youth, into fulfilled and responsible persons.

This day was so jam packed with activity that I’ll have to finish up in my next post with more videos and photos of events back at the Brookhouse School.