This morning we all jumped into the van and made our way to the University of Cape Town. There, we were greeted by excited members of the community, both students of the music school and outside participants. In an ensemble room found in the basement the band set up their equipment and marveled at all of the wood on the walls, giving the room a spectacular sound. Winnie passed around her charts to her players and introduced everyone to the audience members. She explained to her listeners that the first part of her workshop would be held like an open rehearsal. The band had never played the tunes before and would be sight-reading the material. Everyone except for Steve Kirby that is, a tasteful guitarist, Harmony teacher at Berklee, and a frequent traveler for No Boundaries trips with Winnie. The now full band (consisting of Winnie on vibes, Bobby on trumpet, Steve on guitar, Manuel on bass, and Marko on drum set) dove right into the song. The music was great, the players were engaged, and they all demonstrated a great deal of discipline and schooling in their sight reading and musicality. All of this combined excited the students so much, that upon being asked to come up and play after the performance, the students were too shy to do so. A few nudges later, a group of students got up to sight read one of Winnie’s pieces. The students presented great enthusiasm and were eager to learn. This was especially the case when it came to the few drummers that came up to play. Marko Djordjevic, a percussion teacher at Berklee, is an extremely intense and high energy musician with an abundance of technique, talent, and love of music. Anyone sitting in his seat behind the drums knows they are going to learn a thing or two from him. After a great deal of work with the ensembles, the group was broken into smaller sections to work on bass, brass, drums, vibes, guitar, and a little music business for about 45 minutes. When we left, the students were even more excited for our return on Thursday.
The Delft Big Band is one of the great youth bands of Cape Town, ran by Ian Smith. The No Boundaries team was asked to come sit in on a rehearsal, and Bobby was asked to sit in on their Wednesday night gig on trumpet. We made our way to their rehearsal which was found inside of a printing factory. Tucked away up the stairs and in a back corner was a decently sized live room with a band stand set up, where about 20 young musicians sat with their instruments. We jumped right into the rehearsal, where Bobby played alongside the trumpeters, Manuel helped out the bassist, Steve helped the guitarist, Marko and the band’s drummer switched off tunes, and Winnie conducted a few pieces. With an enormous sound, a great leader, and a wonderful vibe, the band blew us away. After a fairly short rehearsal, the group was ready to take on their gig.