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Monday, August 3, 2015


(Vera Dubin, founder of Friends of Music)

Highly successful occasion for Friends of Music and appropriate tribute to Vera Dubin. (Review by Michael Green)

Every year the Friends of Music organisation stages a special concert to raise funds for Beth Shalom (Abode of Peace), the Jewish retirement home on the Durban Berea.

This year the Sunday afternoon concert at the Durban Jewish Centre was presented as a tribute to Dr Vera Dubin, who founded the Friends of Music 33 years ago, who is still the very active chairman, and who will shortly celebrate her 90th birthday.

A programme of light music and a variety of accomplished performers attracted an exceptionally large audience, about 500 people.

About 30 members of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra appeared in the unusual role of pop musicians, playing mainly items from American films and stage shows to appreciative listeners.

The concert opened in most unusual fashion, seven lively pieces played by a marimba band, the marimba being a wooden instrument that resembles a xylophone. The players, about 20 of them at several marimbas, were children from the Curro school at Hillcrest. Their flying mallets and uninhibited zest created a happy atmosphere that was greatly enjoyed by the audience and which was maintained throughout the concert.

Three of Durban’s best-known instrumentalists, Elena Kerimova (violin), Boris Kerimov (cello) and Liezl-Maret Jacobs (piano), then played five tuneful items that included the Russian folk song Black Eyes, a Spanish Serenade by Glazunov and two pieces by the Romanian composer Grigoras Dinicu.

This was followed by a novelty, Many Hands On One Piano (six to be exact), with Liezl-Maret Jacobs, Jacques Heyns and Bobbie Mills at one keyboard. It looked a little crowded, but without colliding they skilfully performed arrangements of well-known music by Mozart, Schubert, Liszt and Rachmaninov.

Something completely different was provided by Platform Jazz, a group formed by Cathy Peacock, a trumpeter with the KZNPO, in 1990. The seven players – trumpet, clarinet, trombone, saxophone, piano, double bass and drums - had the audience humming, clapping and tapping as they performed such old favourites as Twelfth Street Rag, In the Mood, and I’ve Got You Under My Skin.

The concert as a whole was a highly successful occasion for the Friends of Music and an appropriate tribute to Vera Dubin. - Michael Green