(Chris Seabrooke cuts the ribbon whilst Mike Fennell, Head Master Leon Erasmus and Natalie Rungan look on)
On October 21, 2016, Durban High School officially opened their new expansion to the school: the new Chris Seabrooke Music Centre, which boasts soundproof practice rooms, an auditorium that houses a Yamaha baby grand piano, as well as a project-recording studio. This facility will be a platform for many young musicians to nurture their talent.
Funded by the DHS Foundation Trust, which was established to generate financial support for DHS through partnerships with the school’s community comprising Old Boys, parents, staff and learners This new Music Centre is a result of the dedicated support both for the boys and the ethos of the school by DHS Old Boy Chris Seabrooke, Chairman of the DHS Foundation Trust.
In 2007, Seabrooke funded the building of Seabrooke Theatre which is situated in the grounds of DHS and has been a popular venue for many theatrical productions, both produced by external production companies as well as internally, by DHS learners.
Once again, through his generosity, Seabrooke has self-funded this brand new state of the art Music Centre, an action of the vision presented by Head Master Leon Erasmus, and under the supervision of both Mike Fennell (CEO of the DHS Foundation Trust) and Natalie Rungan (Director of the Music Centre).
Seabrooke was the Academic DUX of DHS in 1970 and has produced excellence in the field of business, having directed numerous companies as well as earned his place on the boards of 25 JSE listed companies over the years. Seabrooke has always been engaged, and in particular to the arts and that of music. He co-produced over 20 stage musicals mostly with Joan Brickhill and Louis Burke, including Meet Me in St Louis on Broadway for which he received a Tony Award Nomination. He was also Chairman of the State Theatre of South Africa, Deputy Chairman of the inaugural board of the National Arts Council and deputy chairman of the founding board of Business & Arts South Africa (BASA).
Appointed as the director of the Chris Seabrooke Music Centre is Natalie Rungan is a well-known KwaZulu-Natal singer and songwriter who boasts a Master’s degree in music, and four albums.
The launch of this new Music Centre welcomed the cutting of the ribbon by Chris Seabrooke, a special song performed by Old Boy Chico Muya, the DHS Deo Fretus Choir as well as a special song called The Legacy Song, written and performed for Seabrooke by Rungan herself. In quoting a part of the lyrics, Natalie expressed her heartfelt thanks, “You will always be remembered for this amazing legacy... It takes a special kind of someone to pave a path this way”. She then presented Seabrooke with the scored music for the song in which she wrote - a sentimental gift to further acknowledge his generous contribution.
The Chris Seabrooke Music Centre is a great addition to DHS in their 150th year and provides great benefit for all learners involved in music, where they can hone their skills, express their passion and showcase their talent. The programme for the music centre will be announced in 2017 as well as how members of the public are able to make use of the facility.
In his speech, Head Master Erasmus said, “This must be the highlight of my stay at DHS. On behalf of the boys I would like to thank you. You have an extremely big heart and we want your name to live on forever”.
For more information contact Natalie Rungan at Durban High School on 031 277 1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org