On Friday night, 22 July 2011, we attended the SA Naval College’s annual Evening of Music at the town hall in the Strand. The Naval College is based in Gordon’s Bay, which is just around the corner from the Strand.
And what a show it was!
I believe that it was the first time ever (?) that The magnificent South African Navy Band in their black trousers and white shirts complete with jaunty bowties were joined onstage by the men and women of the Cape Field Artillery Pipes and Drums in their distinctive red tartan kilts, wielding bagpipes and drums. The band performed under the baton of Senior Director of Music, Commander Kenny Leibbrandt, while the pipes and drums were led by Pipe Major Staff Sergeant Andrew Imrie. (These two bands have also shared the stage at the Cape Town City Hall and at St James Church Kenilworth, both in 2009, and they played together at the 2010 Dry Dock concert in Simon’s Town at the start of the annual Navy Festival. )
The combined musical talents – and sounds! – of these two bands simply blew us away.
Starting with the first piece – the stunning “The Gael” from the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”, a special arrangement by Hans Nel, complete with booming drums and swirling bagpipes, eerie blue lighting and billowing smoke, we knew we were in for an unforgettable show.
The evening’s wide-ranging programme included Bach’s famous “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” – played at a sheer breathtaking pace, a selection of songs from “Les Miserables”, with soloists PO Monyani Mokhesi and PO Emmanuel Twala, and a high-energy tribute to Michael Jackson that included all his most popular hits – and a most entertaining dance routine!
There was a change of pace with WO2 Willie van Zyl performing the saxophone solo in Sanborn’s “The Dream”, which was followed by a selection of marches featuring some vigorous drumming by the drum corps – after all, any military band worth its salt must have a repertoire of marches!
Vocalist LS Elize Jacobs and CPO Nathan Hurling on oboe enchanted us as the soloists in Morricone’s “Nella Fantasia”. And then it was home to Africa with an African Jive medley that included Mango Groove’s “Nice to See You” and Shakira’s famous “Waka Waka”, which whipped us right back to the heady days of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. As is characteristic of performances by the Navy Band, there is often some audience participation – this time, too, the cadets in their smart black uniforms took to the front of the hall to dance!
After a short break, during which various important individuals were thanked for their contribution to the evening, the CFA Pipes and Drums marched onto the stage to the familiar strains of the traditional “Scotland the Brave“. The international and wide-ranging evening’s programme concluded with a performance of my favourite, “Highland Cathedral”. We were even treated to an encore of the same piece, this time with Rear Admiral Koos Louw taking the baton from Cmdr Leibbrandt, which was quite a treat!
It is not surprising that the Navy Band has such an excellent reputation, both locally and overseas, for providing top-class entertainment. If you ever have a chance to see them perform live, don’t miss that opportunity! Better yet, take along your family and your friends too (for instance, if there is another Picnic at Admiralty House or a Spring Concert, or a Concert in the Dry Dock). And if you are lucky enough to see them in combination with the highly talented CFA Pipes and Drums (who performed during the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010) – be prepared for an unforgettable show!
I have included some photos of the performance in the Slideshow below – Enjoy!
And in case you want to click on any of the images, I have included them here as a Gallery of Photos too.