Soon after the team arrived in Cape Town, we were brought to the 2012 Cape Town International Jazz Festival’s (CTIJF) opening event at The Fugard Theater.  Festival founder Rashid Lombard, producer Billy Domingo and director of training and develop Craig Parks kicked the week off with an excellent showcase of student bands from Cape Town and Cape Flats.

Being that this is my first time to Cape Town, I did not know what to expect.  We were truly surprised by the quality of musicianship and talent showcased by the 10 student bands that performed.  Chair of music business/management Don Gorder, professor of woodwinds Jim Odgren, assistant director of admissions Gojko Damjanic and I made page upon page of notes identifying a number of exceptional students we heard.

The tough part was next.  With all of this talent, we needed to select two students to received full-tuition awards to the 5 Week Summer Performance Program and two students to receive Berklee Online Awards for an online class of their choice.  With the help of Craig Parks, we were able to select the following winners;

5 Week Full-Tuition Scholarships
• Drum Set – Megan Hilda Saayman
• Guitarist – Gavin David John Kemp

In Megan’s case, we noted her musical taste, groove and the fact that the beat never moved.  She was locked in.  For a young musician that has only been playing for three years, we were truly impressed by her musicianship.

We thought Gavin was the band leader.  He has a presence both personally and musically.  He demonstrated a fine level of skill as a lead player, accompanists and soloist.

Both of these fine, young musician were presented with their awards at the free concert held at Green Market Square on Wednesday evening.  They were greeted with gracious applause.  Megan was even asked to demonstrate her prowess as a drummer (see photo).

The winners of the Berklee Online awards are trumpeter Robin Kock and trombonist Steven Campbell.  These young talented were part of the horn section for a fantastic band from Alexander Sinton High School.

We could have easily selected a number of other musicians for award from this student band festival.  For now, we look forward to seeing Megan and Gavin in Boston this summer, and helping Robin and Steven expand their musical knowledge through their online courses.

Stay tuned for my next post about our clinics in Guguletu.

Award Receipient Megan Saayman at 2012 CTIJF

5 Week award winner Megan Saayman plays for a capcity audience at Green Market Square in Cape Town.