The Moravian Brass Band Union of South Africa’s (BBSA) Cape Town members during their final recording at Blaauwberg Beach for their online festival celebrating their 70th anniversary. Picture: Brian Engel
The Moravian Brass Band Union of South Africa’s (BBSA) Cape Town members during their final recording at Blaauwberg Beach for their online festival celebrating their 70th anniversary. Picture: Brian Engel

Mass brass band to celebrate its 70th anniversary with an online festival

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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Cape Town - The Moravian Brass Band Union of South Africa (BBSA) will be celebrating its 70th anniversary on October 31 with the first online music festival.

It will feature 235 musicians performing at seven locations across the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng provinces to commemorate 70 years of BBSA heritage in 70 minutes.

The voluntary non-profit music organisation forms of the Moravian Church and incorporates numerous bands across the country with band members ranging from 10 to 80 years old.

BBSA president Ernst Esau said the festival would showcase their harmonious brass approach to well-known musical items like, Heal the World, The Prayer and a special composition by one of their own band members that conveyed the theme of the festival, A Celebration of His Mercy.

Esau said that under normal circumstances the group would have held a physical festival with approximately 500 players.

“Many of our players come from impoverished and underprivileged areas where poverty, unemployment, crime and social ills are rife. The bands provide a platform for many youngsters to learn music, discipline, self-respect, self-worth, team spirit, being responsible and to enjoy themselves,” said Esau.

Head of the production team and music composer Alexander Hitzeroth conducting the band during a recording for the Moravian Brass Band Union of South Africa’s (BBSA) online festival celebrating their 70th anniversary. Picture: ERIN JANTJIES

The festival of this nature required massive planning from all 236 band members and the production team, which consisted entirely of BBSA members who filmed and audio recorded all the musicians over a five-week period in various locations across the provinces – the Cape Town group recently filmed their video recording at the Blaauwberg Beach stands.

Head of the production team and music composer Alexander Hitzeroth said he had been part of the BBSA since he was eight years old, which was when he started playing the trombone at the Salem Moravian Church brass band in Port Elizabeth, and was honoured to compose the musical piece for the 70th celebration.

“This is not going to be a traditional performance of everyone playing together but rather a series of recordings around the country that offers so many unique opportunities for audio and visuals,” said Hitzeroth.

The online festival will be available for viewing for seven days from October 31 until November 7 and those interested in attending were encouraged to buy a ticket on Quicket for R120 (https://qkt.io/ByghnP) or learn more about it on their website https://bbsa70th.com/

HEAD of the production team and music composer Alexander Hitzeroth playing during a recording for the Moravian Brass Band Union of South Africa’s (BBSA) online festival celebrating their 70th anniversary. | BRIAN ENGEL

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