Dynamix Jazz Band, made up of The Settler’s High School pupils, will be one of four bands performing at the Bon Amis Music Picnic, at the Bloemendal Wine Estate in Durbanville on Sunday April 14.
The picnic, which is celebrating its second year, was created to provide a platform for school bands and, along with Settlers, the other bands will be represented by Elkanah House, Milnerton High School and Parklands College.
Elkanah House will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary, while Milnerton’s rock band will provide an alternate sound to the other three jazz bands.
Although Dynamix is made up of high school pupils, their teacher and band coordinator, Tracey Johannes, says that the six-piece-band, do not see themselves as a high school band, but rather as a jazz band with their own identity.
Tracey said: “I do not like it when we are called a high school jazz band because if you perform as a school band and there is a mistake then people do not look take much note of it because they think it’s a school band, so mistakes can be made. We do not see it like that; we take every event as a gig, and we always want to perform at a top level “Every year, the size of the band differs because we do not fill the numbers. Everybody that is part of the band is here purely on merit. We do not hold auditions but during class or sometimes even recommendations from the other students, I allow them to perform for me and then I decide if they can fit into the band or even how the band needs to transform in order to fit them in.”
Tracey, who is a former pupil at Settlers and played the piano for the school’s orchestra before she took over the band in 2010, added that the name Dynamix represented the band’s brand and they also stand out from other bands with the type of music that they play.
“I do not want the band (Dynamix) to play songs that are expected of a high school band, so instead, our repertoire includes Latin and Afro-fusion music played by local and international bands. The type of music we play is from people such as Chaka Khan, Tucan Tucan, Jimmy Dludlu as well as some songs from Earth, Wind & Fire.”
Dynamix recently performed at the Artscape Youth Jazz Festival and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival Sustainable Training and Development Gala Concert.
Ms Johannes-Tracey described the performance as a highlight for many of the band’s members.
“With every gig that we do, I always tell the guys that they must go out there and learn as much as they can while also putting out their best performance.”
This approach seems to have worked wonders for the band as they have won the V&A Waterfront Band Slam Competition in 2014, 2015 and 2018, as well as the Tygerberg International Eisteddfod Jazz Band Category for four consecutive years.
One of the band members, Matthew Muller, says he is enjoying his time in the band and he hopes to enjoy many more highlights this year.
“I only started at Settlers two years ago because my previous school stopped offering music. The jazz band was a big draw card for me so I made it my goal to join them, and now I cannot believe that I am part of the band and get to perform on these different stages. I feel so grateful to be in such a good space.”
The 16-year-old matric student pupil is an avid music lover and plays bass for the band even though his favourite instrument is the piano.
“I am not a hundred percent sure on what I will be doing in the future exactly, but I know that my future will have something to do with music. I want to get my bachelor’s degree in music and then see from there as to what path I will take. I want a future in music as I cannot picture myself doing anything else.”