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Sunday, October 4, 2009


PG Bison Buccaneers head for Johannesburg.

Durban's popular field band, the PG Bison Buccaneers head for Johannesburg for South Africa’s next generation of music talent. This will be out in full, joyous force during the Field Band Foundation National Championships, taking place at Johannesburg Athletics Stadium on October 3.

Stirring music, vibrant dance and a positive youthful vibe will be the order of the day at this free event, which sees nine bands, each comprising 120 youngsters, competing for the title of the top field band in the country.

For the past 12 years, the Field Band Foundation (FBF) has been carrying out sterling work developing disadvantaged youngsters through the concept of the international showband, with a uniquely South African twist. The organisation added another accolade to its trophy cabinet at the recent Business and Arts South Africa Awards – taking home the Chairman’s Premier Award on the night.

The FBF currently has a membership of 4,127 young people from 286 schools in 109 townships, all intent on improving their lives through music.

The National Championships start on October 2 with the first division championships before bands in the premier division vie for the laurels on October 3. The main event on the Saturday will be opened at 09h00 by Herman Mashaba, Chairman of the Field Band Foundation, as well as Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile. Thereafter, the competition gets into full swing, with field bands from all over the country striking up their instruments in order to win the favour of the panel of local and international judges.

The participating bands are: Soweto Field Band, De Beers Musina Field Band, De Beers Cullinan Field Band, Cape Whalers Field Band, Stocks Anglo Field Band, De Beers Black Like Me Northern Cape Field Band, PG Bison Buccaneers Field Band, Mdantsane Field Band, and De Beers PPC Kimberley Field Band. Their performances – which will encompass a range of music styles and genres – will be followed by a performance by the National Field Band, which is made up of members of all the field bands in country and which recently took part in the 2009 South African Tattoo.

The FBF has been enjoying a busy and productive year: three new field bands have been started up around the country, more than 150 performances have taken place countrywide, and several HIV, life skills and leadership workshops have been held.

Some 14 FBF members received study grants for tertiary education, while four members recently returned from a year of study in Norway and five more left to study there. Continuing the connection with that country, a new project with the Norges Musikkorps Forbund was launched, whereby Norwegian youth are taught field band skills by the FBF.

The Foundation has extended its programme with Flemish music organisation Vlamo, and four FBF members spent three months with the Pioneer Drums Corps in the USA and participated in the Drum Corps International World Championships. A dance member of the Foundation is set to perform in The Lion King stage production in Hamburg, Germany, for the next 18 months.

To experience the uplifting “music for life” performed by these talented youngsters, head down to Johannesburg Athletics Stadium (next to Ellis Park) from 09h00 on October 3– and be inspired. Visit for more details.