Remembering the 2010 Gala Concert of the SA Army Band Cape Town

Update: An article I wrote about this event was published on the Reserve Force Division website. Here is the PDF document.

The auditorium and the balconies are filling up with spectators

While I was finalising my write-up of the 2011 Gala Concert of the SA Army Band Cape Town, I suddenly realised that I had forgotten to tell you about their fabulous concert of the previous year, which was held on 03 December 2010! So I thought I’d do that now, and I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the pictures in the slideshow.

Like this year, the Army Band’s end-of-year pre-Christmas concert of 2010 took place at the grand old City Hall in Darling Street. As usual, sufficient parking was available on the Grand Parade in front of the venue. We arrived in good time for the start of the event, as we knew the seats were unreserved, and quickly found some excellent seats right at the front of the main balcony. It’s not the best place if you suffer from vertigo, as it’s quite a drop doooown, but the view is very good from up there.

James Bhemgee and Staff Sergeant Andrew Imrie, Pipe Major of the CFA Pipes and Drums

Once the audience had taken their seats, the houselights dimmed, and the Army Band launched into their first piece of the evening.

Colonel P. Kobbie of the Army Support Base in Youngsfield, where the Army Band has their band room and rehearsal facilities, welcomed everyone to the concert, and thanked all those who had generously given their support to the Band throughout the past year.

WO1 Lionel Ashbury of Air Force Base Ysterplaat, the MC for the evening, introduced each of the participating performers and musicians. And there were quite a few!

SA Army Band Cape Town and Cape Field Artillery Pipes and Drums

In addition to the Army Band, there were the Pipes and Drums of Cape Field Artillery, who were led out by their Pipe Major, Staff Sergeant Andrew Imrie, as they marched onto the stage in their scarlet Royal Stewart tartan kilts. Their rendition of The Last of the Great Whales was truly moving and magnificent – I ended up with a lump in my throat, as those bagpipes swirled and soared, their melancholic echoing sound filling the entire auditorium.

Six light-footed and long-legged dancers of the Celtic Dance Tapestry performed an Irish hard shoe dance routine, and the energetic drummers of the Limited Edition Drum Corps, blue-and-white ostrich feathers stuck jauntily into their hats, ratta-tatted through a couple of fast-paced pieces.

The six light-footed dancers of the Celtic Dance Tapestry performed an Irish hard shoe dance routine

Both of these very talented youth groups had performed at the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010 at the Castle of Good Hope at the start of November, and seeing them on stage at the City Hall brought back some very happy memories indeed. There was also a choir made up of MSD (Military Skills Development) students.

The soloists included James Bhemgee (the winner of SA’s Got Talent 2010) and his sister Dominique Adams, Lezaan October and Kevin Isaacs, and Euclid Jacobs (accompanying himself on keyboard). One of the songs Lezaan performed for us was the energetic Waka Waka, which got us all back into the exciting vibe of those heady days in June/July 2010, when our country hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup!

The dramatic finale!

Among the Band members, there was Staff Sergeant Williams (who sang some beautiful gospel songs), Staff Sergeant Joel Benjamin (jazzing up things with his saxophone), Lance Corporal Donovan Claasen (thumping and rattling on his drums), WO2 Marius Swartz (on the trumpet), and Private Darryl Pienaar (on lead guitar). It was a wonderful way of showcasing the diverse range of musical talents of the individuals who make up the Army Band.

During the interval, I played roving reporter and shot some informal pictures downstairs. The Defence Reserves Provincial Office of the Western Cape (DRPOWC) had set up a small stand near the doors to the auditorium to promote the Reserves. Many copies of the Reserve Force Volunteer magazine were handed out to curious visitors, who really enjoyed looking at the colourful collages of previous events organised by the DRPOWC. Many also bought copies of the CDs and DVDs of the previous Cape Town Military Tattoos.

It was an excellent concert that struck the perfect balance between serious and light pieces, including a range of military, classical and popular songs. The variety of the performers who participated that evening was impressive, and a clear reminder that we have some hugely talented musicians in South Africa.

Best of luck and success to all of them!

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