With the FynArts Festival behind us, it doesn’t mean the curtain will come down on the fine art of music appreciation – far from it! Overstrand Arts/Kunste (OAK) continues to host local and international musicians at least once a month in the Municipal Auditorium in Hermanus.

In front, from left, are Louis van Heerden, Ella Fourie, Johan Radloff, Werner Zybrands and René Naudé. Back: Bennie Kotze, Mari Geyer, Jack Holloway, René du Plooy and Pieter van Aswegen.

Apart from bringing outstanding international musicians to our stage, OAK has created a platform for young, local musicians to perform and also to attend live concerts. Schools and parents should make use of the opportunity these concerts present in contributing to the well-rounded education of our children.

OAK was founded a decade ago when Ward Councillor for Betty’s Bay, Louis van Heerden, with the support of then Municipal Manager, Werner Zybrands, motivated Council to purchase a grand piano for the Municipal Auditorium. A committee was then formed to bring performers to Hermanus and provide a platform for local musicians to exercise their talent on a professional stage.

OAK recently had their AGM, where a new board was elected. Louis van Heerden stepped down after 10 years as Chairman, but has agreed to stay on as a committee member. He has handed the reins over to Werner Zybrands, whose legal experience and many years in municipal management, including his years as Chairman of the Roodepoort Theatre Board in Gauteng, have prepared him well for this role.

Pieter van Aswegen, who has been involved in staging a variety of music and stage productions and promoting art exhibitions during his career in marketing, was elected Vice-Chairman.

Prof Ella Fourie is the professional musician and music academic on the committee. In addition to her years at Pretoria University, where she taught Piano and Piano Didactics, she has taught and mentored many gifted young musicians and adjudicated at many eisteddfods and national music competitions.

Then there is Johan Radloff, who was a Colonel in the Air Force before being responsible for marketing and international business development for SAAB Grintek Defense Systems. Although his background seems to make him an unlikely candidate for OAK, Johan’s interest in music started at home at a very young age and is still growing in his retirement!

New branches in the OAK tree have sprouted in the form of Mari Geyer, who has been appointed Treasurer and will be assisted by outgoing Treasurer, Bennie Kotze, and new committee members René Naude and Jack Holloway. René has directed a variety of Arts programs and was in charge of marketing in the music department of PACOFS, while Jack’s career in teaching, wordsmithing and marketing has run parallel with his love of the arts and community service. Both René and Jack recently settled in the area.

René du Plooy, with her knowledge and love of music and excellent administrative abilities, will continue as Secretary, a role she has fulfilled since OAK was formed.

OAK is dependent on ticket sales and membership fees in order to cover the costs of the concerts. The public is encouraged to support this invaluable organisation which brings high-quality performances to our doorstep at a very reasonable price. Plus, you save on petrol as it eliminates the need to drive to Cape Town or Stellenbosch!

Some of OAK’s exciting upcoming events include:
JULY: James Oesi (double bass) and Andrea Vasi (collaborative pianist) from the Netherlands.
AUGUST: Niël Rademan Group (piano, accordion, cello, percussion) PLUS the Eisteddfod Gala Concert.
SEPTEMBER: South African-born pianist, Jan Hugo, out from France.
OCTOBER: Tertia Visser-Downie accompanies UCT opera students.
NOVEMBER: Jongdo An (piano) from South Korea.
JANUARY: Gustavo Romero (piano) from the USA.

For more details on OAK’s monthly concerts, keep an eye on our What’s On pages or contact René du Plooy on 082 940 4238 or renedup@telkomsa.net

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