South African high school bands are surprisingly good. The kids are not only talented, but remarkably fearless – life hasn’t as yet made them too jaded.

So it’s nice to see that the V&A Waterfront are hosting a high school battle of the bands competition through the month of February called the V&A Waterfront High School Band Slam 2014.

In conjunction with Marshall Music and Coca-Cola, twelve high school bands from around the Peninsula have been selected to perform at the V&A Waterfront outdoor Amphitheatre every Friday in February. The overall winner will be announced on 7 March.

The full line up is as follows:

San Souci High

Date: 7th February 2014

Time: 6pm

Sans Souci’s Jazz Band, the “Jazz Cats”, was founded in 2000 by Graham Coote. The band has been fortunate enough to perform in many prestigious venues in and around Cape Town. In 2011, the band placed second in the High School Jam Competition, held at the Grand Arena at GrandWest. The Jazz Cats have also been invited to perform at the Mount Nelson for the UNISA Alumnae Women’s Day Breakfast, as well as at St. George’s Cathedral, for the Fikelela Aids Charity Performance. Since 2012, the Jazz Cats have been led by Stigue Nel, while audiences are always captivated by their enthusiasm and musical performances.

St. Josephs Marist College

Date: 7th February 2014

Time: 6:40pm

St Joseph’s Marist College Jazz band began in 2007 and has grown from strength to strength.

With a repertoire ranging from jazz standards to more contemporary pieces, the band boasts a versatile group of musicians. The band shared the stage in 2009 with nationally acclaimed group, Coda and has since entertained the Rondebosch community with their ‘cheerful and eager sounds’.

The Band has performed on SABC 2’s Hectic Nine-9 television programme, and has had the opportunity to receive master classes from Cape Town jazz pioneer Professor Mike Rossi. The band has since been led by the skills of Ms Kelly Bell.

Bergvliet High

Date: Friday 7th February 2014

Time: 7:20pm

The Bergvliet High School band was first established in 2011 when a group of students with the help and support of Miss Veotte were asked to perform for Good Hope FM radio. The band has now performed at various venues and events around Cape Town.

Wynberg Boys High

Date: Friday 14th February 2014

Time: 6pm

The Wynberg Big Band led by Blake Hellaby is an 18 piece band which performs classic jazz as well as modern funk and pop. The band has had many successful performances starting with The Night of the Stars which was the first concert under Blake’s conductorship, as well as the Ensemble (a smaller band comprising of the more advanced jazz students). The band went on to have a successful performance at the Baxter Theatre participating in the annual Baxter Big Band Jazz Festival. The ensemble and big band then went to perform at The GrandWest Backstage Pass where they were awarded 2 prizes, one for best rhythm and the other for the best overall band.

Milnerton High

Date: Friday 14th February 2014

Time: 6:40pm

The Milnerton High Band started in 2012. The initiative was taken by drummer, Keanu de Freitas, bassist Dylan Fourie and Patrik Patterson on guitar. In 2013, Jesse Daniels on keyboard, Emily Chiu on flute and Robert Marlor on saxophone joined the band. These six members formed the backing band and performed at the High School Jam competition held at GrandWest and went on to win in 2013.

SACS – [have heard outstanding things about these guys]

Date: Friday 14th February 2014

Time: 7:20pm

The SACS Big Band has been under the directorship of John Walton since 2005 and has developed into an ensemble that loves to perform regularly. The band also attends the National Jazz Festival in Grahamstown every year. They have received master classes from both local and internationally renowned artists and are always striving to provide the best entertainment. In 2012, they were selected to perform at the inaugural Gauteng Big Band Festival, and were the only band outside of Gauteng to receive this honour.

Somerset College

Date: Friday 21st February 2014

Time: 6:30pm

Somerset College Jazz Band is a nine year old band started by Simon Chapman. The band performs various styles of jazz which includes some pop.

Heathfield High

Date: Friday 21st February 2014

Time: 7:10pm

Heathfield’s School band has been performing at the Cape Town Big band festival since 2007 and has had the privilege of performing on the Expresso Show in 2012 and 2013. The Music Department’s highlights include travelling to the Bonyi International Youth Music Festival in 2007 and to the Tutti World Youth Music Festival in Beijing, China in 2011. The Ensemble taking part in the Band Slam competition includes members from the school’s senior and junior bands.

Wynberg Girls’ High

Date: Friday 21st February 2014

Time: 7:50pm

The Wynberg Girls’ High Big Band was started in 2009 under the direction of Basil Raad and Adam Coolsaet. They have performed at the Baxter Theatre, the Kenilworth Race Course, the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre and the Grand Arena at GrandWest. The band also regularly performs at school functions and assemblies. The band plays a mix of swing, rock, funk and Latin jazz and features different vocalists from the music department.

Westerford High

Date: Friday 28th February 2014

Time: 6pm

Venue: The V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre

The Westerford Big Band has been under the management of Marike Schoonwinkel since 2009, and have made a name for themselves in and around Cape Town. They have performed numerous times at the Cape Town Big Band Jazz Festival and at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival. The Band has been a platform for talented jazz musicians at Westerford, many of whom have gone on to further their studies both locally and internationally.

Rustenburg High

Date: Friday 28th February 2014

Time: 6:40pm

The Rustenburg Girls’ High School Jazz Band was founded in 2001 by Rosemary Davis who nurtured its development into a fully-fledged ensemble with a versatile Jazz Combo running alongside. Since Rosemary Davis’ retirement in 2010, Robyn Jepson has continued to develop the performing skills of the Band through exposure to public performances and master classes from prominent jazz musicians, including Dr Mike Rossi, Gordon Vernick, Nicky Schrire, Lwanda Gogwana and Siya Charles. She has also expanded the saxophone section by adding the baritone saxophone. The band appears annually at the Cape Town Big Band Jazz Festival and at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown. Last year, the band was invited to perform at the Expresso Breakfast show on SABC 3.

Settlers High

Date: Friday 28th February 2014

Time: 7:20pm

Settlers High’s repertoire ranges from well-known jazz standards, to local and international jazz and pop covers. The band is involved in school events which include The Music Evening, The Fairmont Contact Cultural Evening and the Junior and Senior Prize-Giving ceremonies.

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Go support the kids – you’ll be really surprised as to how much young talent there is to get behind.

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