Jeppe High School for Boys

Marimba Band takes 1st place

Marimba Band takes 1st place

The Jeppe Marimba Band participated in the Education Africa International Marimba and Steelpan Festival at St. Dominic’s recently and came away with a first place and a special mention. More than 90 schools from all over Southern Africa participated in the festival, making it the top marimba competition in Southern Africa.

The Jeppe band participated in three categories. In the Open Large Ensemble Battle of The Bands, where they played alongside a number of Jeppe Marimba old boys, they received a special mention and were given a bundle of music education material as a prize. The books will be placed in the Innovation Hub. They then came first in the High School Small Ensemble Strictly Classical.

Fortune Phiri, the band captain, has been in it since Grade 8. “I had no musical background, but it looked like fun, so I joined,” he said. “Since then I have been learning all the time, under our coach Bradley Lithgow. His dedication and hard work have definitely taken us to where we are now.”

And the Marimba club is certainly in a good place. “We now have three groups,” Fortune explained. There is a Grade 8 beginners group, who are learning to play from scratch, an intermediary band, and the senior band that enters competitions and does performances.” This is not the first time that Jeppe has won at the Education Africa competition. In 2019 they won the overfall senior category.

“There are two sides to the band,” Fortune said. “We enter competitions, and we also perform. Most recently we played at the welcoming dinner at the DHS Winter Exchange. We also went on tour to Durban as part of the Westville Exchange and we played there, together with their band.”

They are also called on to play at various functions at the school and are booked to perform at corporate and other events. “The money we earn there goes into the fund used to buy more instruments, and that has allowed us to grow the numbers of boys who play.”

Fortune is a Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund boy who decided that he wanted to make a contribution to Jeppe and to leave it a better place than it was when he arrived. Apart from Marimba captain, he is also captain of the Cross Country team, serves in the Emergency Care Club, he is a School Prefect, and has Academic Full Colours.

“I decided to use every opportunity that comes my way. To tap into what the school offers and grow every part of myself,” he said. He certainly has done that, he is a credit to the school.

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