Bergvliet High pupils vie for Jazz Fest slot

Aviwe Rulumeni, Aidan Cay, Che' Arendse, teacher Lynn Hannibal, Matthew Slevers, Nathan Tromp, Dillon Poggenpoel, Kin Daniels and Seth Strydom from Bergvliet High School.

Eight Bergvliet teens have a shot at sharing a stage with some of the biggest names in jazz.

The Bergvliet High music pupils were among 50 youngsters from across the province chosen to be part of a music and careers workshop run by the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Every year, Grade 10s to 12s from five schools in the province get to attend the workshop run over four weekends. They learn about career options in the music business, including performing, sound engineering, lighting and festival management.

At the end of the programme, the young musos take part in a live performance and are selected to join the All Star band that performs at the festival’s free community concert on Greenmarket Square.

Wynberg High School’s band will perform at this year’s one. If the Bergvliet pupils come out tops they could take to the stage at next year’s.

Dillon Poggenpoel, a Bergvliet High Grade 10 and bass guitar player, has been playing music since he was in Grade 5. “Id like to matriculate, continue studying music at university then join a band and travel the world,” he says.

Everything he’s heard about how competitive the music business is makes him nervous, but he believes he can make it if continues working hard.

“Sometimes I do get a bit nervous; I ask myself if I am original and creative enough for the industry, but every industry is competitive and if you’re good at what you do, you’ll go far.”

This is the second year Bergvliet High has been part of the workshop. It last took part in 2018.

The programme also arranges for an established artist to mentor the pupils at each of the chosen schools. Bergvliet’s mentor this year was musician and UCT lecturer Amanda Tiffin.

Dillon says he learnt from Amanda that it’s important not only to play the instrument but also listen to the music.

The school’s music teacher, Lynn Hannibal, says the programme is a boon for pupils wanting to pursue careers in music.

“It touched on themes such as dreaming big, taking yourself seriously, being brave and using the opportunities given to you.

“What inspired me to be a music teacher was that I had great music teachers myself at Saint Augustine Primary School and Livingstone High School.”

She says its rewarding watching her pupils grow and develop in their craft, and she has had pupils come back to tell her that even though they didn’t pursue music as a career it taught them to be confident, patient, work hard and always present a polished product.

The 21st annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be on Friday and Saturday March 27 and 28 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). The free community concert in Greenmarket Square is on Wednesday March 25. For more information, visit www.capetownjazzfest.com.