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WATCH: Benoni Pipe Band is SA’s new champions

The band was crowned at the South African Pipe Band Champions as well as the Champions of Champions.

The Benoni Northerns Sports Club erupted in cheer when Benoni High School’s (BHS) juvenile novice band was crowned this year’s South African Pipe Band Champion and Champions of Champions on July 29.

The school’s Benoni MacTalla claimed second place in the Grade Two march.

Competition leading up to the coveted 21st annual final was fierce throughout the season, with BHS and Jeppe High School locked in a battle for the title.

As over 300 members from 19 bands from across the country descended on the city, BHS bandmaster Malcolm Engels looked on at the gathering crowd of supporters with a satisfied smile.

Base-drummer Nicholas Tyler of the Durban Callies gives Alexander Breetzke (3) a high-five.

“The band’s hard work and countless hours of rehearsal all come down to this moment,” he said.

“It would be the cherry on top if we could clench the title, which has eluded us for years.”

As the bands underwent rigorous judging in 10 categories throughout the day, the public browsed through the stalls at the market, while others settled in at the beer tent nibbling lip-smacking food from the vendors and quenching their thirst for icy beverages.

As the late afternoon shadows stretched their legs, anticipation mounted for the final judging of the astute drum majors.

Reabetswe Taele, BHS junior drum major entrant, along with Terrence Mzyk, BHS open drum major, left the audience in awe as they effortlessly shot their maces in the air, catching it while maintaining their march.

“They’ve got this in the bag,” said proud BHS supporters, words echoed by the distinguished panel of judges.

Roars of approval reverberated throughout the crowd as Reabetswe proudly claimed the junior title and Terrence his title.

“Our band performed exceptionally and we are proud of them, claiming not one but three national titles,” said the principal, Dr Eugene Rooyakkers.

“Their skill is beyond impressive. Watching them in action made my heart swell with pride.”

Breathing a sigh of relief, Engles’ excitement was palpable.

“They did it,” he said, beaming.

Reabetswe Taele claiming the junior drum major title.

“I am incredibly proud of every member. Their performance was on cue.”

Engles extended his appreciation to the band’s tutors, the members’ supportive parents, as well as the community for showing their support en masse.

“The traditions we showcased here are firmly entrenched not only in our school’s heritage but in that of our community. Thank you for being our audience,” he said.

As the 300 drummers and pipers took to the field in unison, a hush fell across the field. Signalling the end of another successful gathering, chanters began to drone and eyes filled with tears as the massed bands played Amazing Grace and Flower of Scotland.


ALSO READ: Pipe band member takes top honours

ALSO READ: WATCH: BHS pipe bands come second in championship



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