Generations united in commitment to music

Family members in the brass band that will perform at NMMU tomorrow are (back, from left) Lloyd Hitzeroth, Cathy-Jane Mintoor, Alexander Hitzeroth (crouching) and Tarryn Mintoor and (front, from left) Antonio Lottering, Cristin Rensburg, Leah Rensburg and Tyrone Hitzeroth
Picture: Brian Witbooi

A shared passion for music passed on to sons and brothers will see three generations of Hitzeroths pay tribute to their late grandfather at the Salem Moravian Band concert on Sunday (30/04/17).

The family’s involvement in the band dates back to 1926 and great-great-grandfather Isaac Hitzeroth and his sons, Henry and James Hitzeroth.

Eight Hitzeroths will be on stage with 44 other band members at the NMMU south campus auditorium to pay tribute to family members who once played in the band but who have since died.

The oldest member of the band, Tyrone Hitzeroth, 65, said the annual concert was a celebration of heritage and it gave them hope for a brighter future.

“Brass music is part of our culture. This is something that I was born into, you look to your father and you see your family play so you also grow an interest and want to play,” Tyrone said.

Watching younger members of the family continue to join the band and appreciate music made him proud, he said.

“While we are a church band we also play a wide range of music and a lot of our players also play in the St George’s Brass Band where they enjoy two passions,” Tyrone said.

“When young people are part of this band they spend a great deal of their afternoons in band practice, which means they have something that keeps them off the streets.”

While Tyrone does not know how long his father was in the band, the oldest photo he has of him in it was taken in 1926.

Other members of the family who will perform tomorrow are greatgrandchildren of Isaac Hitzeroth – Alexander, 35, Lloyd, 28, Antonio Lottering, 28, Cathy-Jane, 29 and Tarryn Mintoor, 22, as well as greatgrandchildren Leah, 13, and Cristin Rensburg, 10.

Descendants of James Hitzeroth will also perform.

The concert will consist of well-known musical items such as the Hallelujah chorus, arranged by band member Antonio Lawack.

Trombone player Alexander said he had been playing since he was eight.

“Just like my dad, this is where I started playing music but, knowing that my grandfather and his father could have all been musicians if they lived in a different time, I am lucky enough to be the one who gets to do this for a living,” he said.

Alexander is a Johannesburg-based musician and will perform a song that his grandfather loved.

The church, which is now in Korsten, was initially in North End but moved after the Group Areas Act came into effect in 1950.

“We will be playing music that is dedicated to our heritage, we will be playing music that our forefathers sang and enjoyed in church,” Alexander said.

The concert starts at 3.30pm and tickets are R50 at the door.

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