Trombone notes shake Artscape

Crossbones leader Bram Meese (left) buzzing on the trombone with fellow ensemble players.

Crossbones leader Bram Meese (left) buzzing on the trombone with fellow ensemble players.

Published Mar 29, 2024


The sounds of trombones boomed throughout the Artscape theatre recently as it hosted the Crossbones concert.

Organised by the Consulate General of Belgium in Cape Town and the Delegation of Flanders in Southern Africa, in collaboration with Artscape, the concert saw members of Cape Town’s diplomatic core and invited NGOs celebrate the occasion of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU, which runs from January till June.

The five-member musician group Crossbones, which prefers to be termed as a “community” and not an ensemble as they alternate with other instruments such as piano, organ or full orchestra at times too during repertoires, entertained audiences with some well-known classical sounds including music from the opera Turandot, jazz sounds, film scores and even some home-grown South African sounds including the popular Nguni rugby “anthem” Shosholoza, and Miriam Makeba’s The Click Song, among others.

Their overall message, according to quintet leader Bram Meese, is to spread joy and forge bonds through music that transcend language and cultural barriers.

Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux said: “We’re very privileged that we could collaborate as through music we can heal.”

Speaking at the concert, Flanders delegate Dr Geraldine Reymenants pointed out that a strong partnership between this Belgian region and South Africa exists in arts and culture.

“In the Belgian federal system, culture is the exclusive competence of the three Communities (Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels), and arts and culture are also an integral component of the foreign policies of those communities. In that context, the bilateral co-operation between Flanders and South Africa has a strong focus on arts and culture, with exchange, co-creation and sustainable partnerships between Flemish and South African artists and cultural organisations at its core.”

Belgium Consul General Mathias Bogaert said: “We thought it is a very good opportunity to bring the work of the European Union in the limelight here in Cape Town with a very nice concert. This event is deeply rooted in the vision of the European Union: connecting people and fostering meaningful dialogue and co-operation between individuals and communities across borders.”

Crossbones together with Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s educational Masidlale Grassroots Project strike a pose before going on stage. Picture: Artscape Theatre

In the latter part of the concert, Crossbones were joined on stage by three professional South African trombone players as well as by young violinists from the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s educational Masidlale (Let us play) Music Project with whom Crossbones hosted an interactive workshop the day before, where they conveyed their passion for music to children and young people from Cape Town and surrounding areas.

The Masidlale Music Project provides the opportunity to up to 400 youth, irrespective of their financial background, to become professional musicians through intensive training that would eventually allow them to apply for membership to the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and ultimately to be considered as members of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra or other full-time orchestras.

Cape Times