The Jeppe High school for Boys Marimba Band competed in the International Marimba and Steel Pan Festival for the third time last weekend and came away with a 3rd place in the Proudly South African section and (together with Jeppe Girls) 1st place in the Large Ensemble category.
In winning that they finished ahead of the bands from Michaelhouse, Hilton and St Benedict’s, as well as the international competitors, which is a remarkable achievement.
The Marimba band has been going for a few years now and it’s beginning to find its feet, said the teacher in charge, Mr Brandon Holtz. “It’s not really a competition activity yet, not like the pipe band, so apart from this festival and a few eisteddfods, we are mainly a performance band, and we are becoming quite popular and the bookings are increasing.”
The next big event they will be playing at will be at the Ruth First Jeppe Fiesta at the Linder Auditorium next month.
The competition band consists of 12 boys – it’s limited by the number of instruments we have – and there are a further 20 who are part of the society and who are busy learning and developing.
“I think it’s a great school activity,” Mr Holtz said. “The boys work hard and it’s quite a time commitment. It caters for those boys who want to get involved in a musical cultural activity but who don’t fit in with our other offerings. The marimba is not as difficult to master than, say, the bagpipes, but it runs all year long and it takes time and dedication, that’s its educational value.”