Moravian Brass Band Union of South Africa 70th Music Festival


Luke 6:36

70 Years in 70 Minutes





  hours  minutes  seconds


BBSA 70th Music Festival

The BBSA is celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year. Unfortunately, due to the prevailing pandemic and the resultant restrictions, the planned physical festival in Elim had to be canceled. Instead, an ONLINE FESTIVAL was decided upon.

A Production Team was formed with the task of producing this ONLINE FESTIVAL under the theme, “A Celebration of His Mercy”. After much deliberation, the team decided to travel across the country to record both audio and video of players in small groups in various locations. The locations were carefully and specifically chosen. 

The festival consist of well-known musical items like, ” Heal the World”, “The Prayer” arranged by a member of our union, Leon Afrika and a composition based on our theme ‘a Celebration of HIS Mercy’ by Alex Hitzeroth

The Production Team worked tirelessly and relentlessly to ensure successful and enjoyable recording weekends, a job well done and commendable

MAMRE: 11 – 12 June 2021

Mamre, the second oldest Moravian mission station in South Africa, located around 55 kilometers north of Cape Town, welcomed us for the first weekend of recording sessions. The voice parts were recorded separately in the Lobensaal (Hall of Praise) throughout the Saturday. On Sunday we recorded the video footage with a feel of being on a movie set. The old mill and historic church of Mamre painted a picturesque backdrop. Indeed, a blessed start to the recordings of our ONLINE FESTIVAL.

CAPE TOWN: 18 – 20 June 2021

The second weekend was in the Mother City, Cape Town. The Saturday audio recordings were done at Lansdowne Moravian Church. This was the venue of the very first BBSA festival, 70 years ago, on Sunday 6 August 1951. The Sunday video footage was mostly done at another Moravian Church of incalculable and immeasurable historic significance nationally and within the Moravian Church of South Africa, Moravian Hill, in the heart of District Six. Early Sunday morning, proceedings started with 3 Fanfare Trumpeters playing and being recorded on Signal Hill by the Noon Gun and in front of the colourful houses in the Bo-Kaap.  Incredible video footage was taken at these locations.

PORT ELIZABETH: 6 – 8 August 2021

The third weekend’s recordings occurred in various locations in the Eastern Cape. Salem Moravian Church, Schauderville, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and continued the Saturday. The first BBSA Brass Festival in the Eastern Cape was held in this church on Sunday 2 November 1952, thus also of historic significance.  The Sunday players travelled in convoy to the Tsitsikamma National Park, thereafter the players travelled to Thornham and Clarkson, two old Moravian Mission stations where further video footage were taken at various locations around the two respective church buildings. A quick stop at the Storms River bridge where three Fanfare Trumpeters were filmed on a boardwalk with the spanning bridge as backdrop, breath-taking at its best!

JOHANNESBURG: 20 – 21 August 2021

The players residing in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, participated in this weekend’s recordings.

There was a great deal of excitement, anticipation and a bit of nervousness. Proceedings started off on Saturday morning at Emmerentia Botanical Gardens in the heart of Johannesburg. Video footage was taken at various locations within the Gardens precinct. Further spectacular footage was taken on the roof deck of the Troyeville Hotel, with the skyscrapers and Ellispark Stadium in the background. The Sunday, audio recordings took place at the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company. One of the players summed up the the weekend, as “70 years of braaskap” (70 years of brass buddies).

ELIM: 28 – 29 August 2021

The picturesque Moravian Mission Station, Elim, is situated approximately 190km from Cape Town, in the Overberg Region, surrounded by farmlands and low hills, a perfect setting to end off the recording weekends also considering that the actual festival would have taken place in Elim. The Saturday was very subdued with audio recordings done in a very meticulous and methodical manner. Nevertheless, great recordings were done. The emphasis was on the regional piece, “Kumbaya my Lord”. Players probably realised it was now or never and gave their all.

Tears were sporadically shed throughout the video recordings, but on Geelkop (a low-level hill close to Elim town) it was rather special. On this hill, the name ELIM is spelled out with white stones and one has a beautiful clear view of the Elim houses and church. Players lined up along the letters and once again played “Kumbaya my Lord” (Come by Here Lord….). This was followed by the BBSA salute. The moment was just too big for many…

The day ended off with footage taken at the Elim Childrens’ Home as well as in front of the church. What a weekend it was…. We all left Elim with sad hearts, but knew that it was worthwhile.