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Jazz students find their voices

3 Nov 2014 - 09:15
Mash Mashego; Cristina Rossi; Nathi Mavuso; Maryke Johnson; Kirsten Esterhuizen; Sarah Elphick; Sarah Blake; Thandeka Dladla; Jaren Hendricks; Monique Hellenberg; Megan Armstrong-Davies; Eddie Shand.
Centre stage: Mash Mashego; Cristina Rossi; Nathi Mavuso; Maryke Johnson (pianist); Kirsten Esterhuizen; Sarah Elphick; Sarah Blake (bass player); Thandeka Dladla; Jaren Hendricks (drummer); Monique Hellenberg; Megan Armstrong-Davies; Eddie Shand.

Several first-year South African College of Music (SACM) students had the opportunity to showcase their musical talent and develop their stage skills when Monique Hellenberg – jazz vocalist and part-time SACM lecturer – organised a student concert at a well-known jazz venue in Cape Town recently.

Jazz studentsCentre stage: Mash Mashego; Cristina Rossi; Nathi Mavuso; Maryke Johnson (pianist); Kirsten Esterhuizen; Sarah Elphick; Sarah Blake (bass player); Thandeka Dladla; Jaren Hendricks (drummer); Monique Hellenberg; Megan Armstrong-Davies; Eddie Shand.

Hellenberg believes that while the classroom can nurture talent, it doesn't always provide students with all the necessary leadership and public performance experience that most professional performers gain while making their way in the entertainment industry. She set about organising a vocal showcase for the students in which they displayed their talents in The Crypt which was sold-out on the night.

Performing in a professional setting in front of close to 100 audience members enabled students to emerge more confident. They also had a chance to work with a band (comprising students Jaren Hendricks, Sarah Blake and Maryke Johnson) and get remunerated for their hard work. "Besides singing so beautifully and confidently – all of my first-year UCT students showed fantastic band leadership skills," Hellenberg exclaims.

One of the performers, Megan Armstrong-Davies believes the experience "liberated" her. "The sheer exhilaration of conquering a huge fear, the sensation of total joy that comes with excelling at that which you had yearned to do properly, was quite simply the most wonderful achievement ever," she enthused.

For another performer, Kaz Henderson, the acknowledgement from her closest companions was enough. "[My performance] had the effect of silencing my most stringent critics," Kaz says of her children, " ... who have decided that perhaps mum can sort of sing after all!"

Sarah Elphick also hit her stride on the evening, commenting, "I had such fun and I'm really glad that I decided to do it."

This article originally appeared on the UCT website.