Crowd backs St George’s institution asked to tone it down during test
Members of the St George’s Brass Band have vowed to continue playing their tunes in the stands while international cricket is being played at St George’s Park.
That was the promise from band secretary Nathan Meyer yesterday after the band were asked to pipe down due to their sound making it difficult for umpires to hear during the match on Saturday.
“It started on Friday, when the stadium manager came to us and asked us to play between overs and when a boundary was hit,” Meyer said.
“I felt really bad, and I’m sure other members feel the same, because the band have been playing here for the last 22 years and it was never a problem,” he said.
Meyer said they had a meeting with match officials and the stadium manager on Friday and again yesterday to discuss when they were allowed to play.
Band chairman Bernard Leander said another meeting was held yesterday morning and all issues were sorted out.
In the meeting, it was agreed that the band would scale down from 35 members to 15.
They were also asked to play more softly when spin bowlers came into the attack.
Asked why the band had left the stadium on Saturday, he said it was “to gather all of our members and convey the messages obtained in the meetings held earlier”.
“We were not banned from the stadium or anything like that,” he said.
The band were asked to quiet down during the second session of day two of the second test between the Proteas and Australia at the iconic “Old Lady” on Saturday.
That led to the band leaving the stadium – and then returning after a collective call by the Bay crowd for them to come back.
Play was stopped twice in the second over of the evening session after the band had returned and continued to play, during and between overs. Meyer said that, in his view, the band played a massive part in motivating the players and bringing the crowd together.
Eastern Province Cricket president Donovan May said the match umpires did not have the jurisdiction to ask the band to stop playing as it was outside the field of play.
“The band has been around for over 20 years. We will not withdraw our band on account of the umpire having an issue with it, unless we are forced by international cricket laws to do so,” he said.
“There are bands which play at cricket grounds all over the world.”
Fans also spoke out in support of the band, saying that they created a special atmosphere inside the stadium.
Johannesburg-based Protea fan Maselo Machaka said the band was part of South African culture.
“This is our culture. When we travel to other countries to play, we don’t tell them what to do in their stadiums, so why do they come here and want to change things to suit them?” he asked.
Australian cricket fan Roger Gordon said the band created an atmosphere in the stadium and added to the fanfare of the match.