Report by Mike Skipper
The Music Tour group, consisting of 26 girls, 23 boys and six staff members from St Andrew’s College and The Diocesan School for Girls, included a Pipe Band, Choir, String Ensemble, Wind Orchestra, Jazz Band, Contemporary Band and a Rock Band.
The tour began on Thursday 13th August. The first concert was at Western Province Prepartory School and necessitated an early start. Despite being chased out of bed at 5am the musicians set the bar very high for the rest of the tour. At 8am the “Wetpups” audience was fascinated by both the variety and quality of what they heard as our tour group entertainmented. The highlight was probably the young ‘competition’ winner enjoying his prize of getting to conduct the Wind Orchestra during a performance of “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.
The next port of call was Wynberg Boy’s Junior School at 11am. Here a packed auditorium of over 600 enjoyed an equally enthralling concert – but one in which the earlier eagerness to please had been replaced by a degree of confidence inspired by the success of the first outing. Here the Pipe Band probably caused the biggest sensation, even attracting the young audience members like bees around a honey pot during their warm-up session in the playground prior to the performance.
After lunch the tourists headed for Stellenbosch where they were treated to an informative talk on the University and a tour of the music department. At 8pm our rock, pop and jazz musicians supplied the first half of a concert which was completed by the Stellenbosch University Big Band. It was a wonderful concert with a warm community spirit in which the SAC/DSG musicians were made to feel completely at home. Many of our students ended up on stage with the University students during the final number – and dancing to an outrageously groovy version of “Jabulani”. Besides standing toe-to-toe with their older counterparts, our young musicians were massively inspired by what they saw and heard. An exhausted but happy tour group fell into bed that night.
17/08/2015, 13:08 – Saturday was a rest day which included a visit to the aquarium and the V & A Waterfront as well as a sit down dinner at Balducci’s restaurant. The cherry on the top was attending a performance of “West Side Story” at the Artscape theatre.
Sunday, in comparison, was not a day of rest. The choristers and string players contributed significantly to the quality of worship at Christ Church Constantia during the 9.15 Eucharist service. Besides singing the mass, the choir also sang an anthem of “Surely He hath borne our griefs” from Handel’s Messiah. The string group produced a warm contemplative “Our Father” by Joseph Lees.
After a lunch of fish and chips in Hout Bay Harbour, the touring party returned to Christ Church Constantia to perform a final public concert. Here the performers proved the old adage “there’s no better rehearsal than a performance”. Their presentations were marked by a surety and confidence not unlike that of seasoned professionals. The Wind Orchestra’s performance of the opening 2 movements from Carl Orff’ “Carmina Burana” resulted in a well-deserved standing ovation.
The end of that concert signaled the formal end of the tour and our young musicians were left with the warm glow of success and the prospect of pizza for supper. The last night involved very little sleep for our happy musicians who simply did not want the tour to end. The long bus trip home was sobering.
Ms Rennie and Messrs Mkula, Heynsen, Van Heerden and Pretorius must be thanked for their tireless efforts, as well as Mr Furtner for his expert technical assistance. Our professional bus drivers, Messrs Zingele and Zonke as well as Chris and JR from Blundells must be thanked for their patience and for keeping us safe. None if this would have happened without the assistance of the supremely organised Mrs Eksteen, Music School Administrator.
(Mike Skipper – August 2015. Photographs courtesy of Mr Johan Pretorius.)