2007unity festival
Report On The Unity Brass Festival Held At The Cape Town Good Hope Centre, 13-16 September 2007

After 4 years of planning between the Moravian Brass Band Union of South Africa (BBSA), the Moravian Music Foundation (MMF) and the Brass Works of the Moravian European Continental Province, we finally started picking the fruits of our labour when members of the American contingent started arriving Port Elizabeth on 3 September 2007. The Americans, who traveled in South Africa as a group, were able to visit Port Elizabeth, Shiloh, Clarkson and Thornham in the Eastern Cape, and Elim and Genadendal in the Western Cape before arriving in Cape Town for the festival itself. The European contingent made different travel arrangements in South Africa either as individuals or in separate groups. A few of them were able to visit Port Elizabeth and Clarkson in the Eastern Cape and most were able to visit Stellenbosch, Genadendal, Alantis, Mamre, Pella, Goedverwacht, Wittewater, Goenland and Elim in the Western Cape. Some members of the European contingent were also able to attend and participate in the 550/270 Anniversary celebrations in Genadendal. We also had non-Moravian participants from 3 groups in Germany, namely the Dettingen YMCA Posaunenchor, the Essingen Posaunenchor and The Brass Guys.

The festival started with a concert in St Martini German Lutheran Church on the evening of Thursday, 13 September 2007. Christo Appel, the Chairman of BBSA, Western Cape and Rev L Mcubusi, the Vice President of MCSA expressed words of welcome. The main performers at this concert were The Brass Guys, a brass quintet from Germany, who presented a varied and high quality programme. This performance was ably supported by a BBSA Representative Band from the Western Cape and the A W Engel Trombone Consort.

On the Friday morning, 14 September 2007 all participants gathered at the main festival venue, the Cape Town Good Hope Centre, for a full day of rehearsals. Rev M Salewski of Germany, with Sr E Frank interpreting into English, delivered a short devotion in German. A second concert was held in the evening at Moravian Hill Church in the former District 6. Tyrone Hitzeroth, the president of BBSA, did the welcome and Prof K T August delivered a short history of the Church in District 6. The BBSA Representative Band from the Western Cape, followed by The Brass Guys, again opened the concert. The concert was concluded by the Salem Moravian Bands in the form of a lower brass quartet (Salem Storm), a brass ensemble and a wind band. Their programme endeavoured to depict the influence and role of music in the old District 6.

Rev J Kroneberg of South Africa delivered the morning devotion on Saturday, 15 September 2007. The rest of the day was devoted to rehearsals followed by a moving Communion Service led by Bishop E M Temmers. He was assisted by Rev Drs A Frank, and D Schattschneider, from the USA, Rev Dr K T August, Rev B Abrahams, M Abrahams, D Engel, J Kroneberg, M October, E Theunissen and M Wyngaard from South Africa, and Rev M Salewski, from Germany. Musical accompaniment was provided by a brass band conducted by Ronald Johannes of South Africa.

The festival reached its climax on Sunday, 16 September 2007. The day started with the playing of chorales in front of Moravian Hill Church. The festival concert was then held, with a festival sermon delivered by Rev Dr A Frank included in the programme. Sr Angelene Swart, president of the MCSA and the Unity Board, brought greetings on behalf of these institutions. The music programme was varied, with an emphasis on old Moravian music and music composed and arranged by Moravians. The conductors were Rudolf Engel, Tyrone Hitzeroth, Hilton Smith and Clive Kroneberg, from South Africa, Ben van den Bosch, from the Netherlands, Allen Frank, from the USA and Marshall Lamohr, a South African working in Germany. About 440 players participated in the festival and the audience exceeded 2000 persons. This was indeed a mammoth task that was well executed.

Whilst the original planning of the festival was the joint effort of BBSA, the Europeans and the MMF, the actual organizing of the festival was left in the hands of BBSA. Our partners however continued to assist us as best they could. We are thankful for the support received from the Unity Board, the Moravian Church in South Africa, and sponsorships received from, HCI Foundation, The Moravian Church Foundation, Zeister Zendingsgenootschap and the Dettingen YMCA Posaunenchor. We were thankfully able to call on many other people for assistance, and we are particularly pleased that we were able to accommodate our visitors in private homes. This, we believe, contributed greatly to better Moravian fellowship, which, together with our calling to praise God, was the primary motivation for this festival. This is the first time that a festival of this nature was held by Moravians, anywhere in the world, and although mistakes were made and certain things could have been done better, we learnt a lot from the experience and the festival was, by all accounts, a resounding success. A foundation has now been laid for future festivals of this nature to be held in Europe and the USA.

We thank the Lord for all the talents bestowed on us and for His mercies, which allowed us to succeed in this big, venture. May we long continue to praise him with the sounds of our instruments.

T. Hitzeroth
President: BBSA

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2007unity festival