2008 tour to Germany


2008 started off with a "bang" as the Band departed for our overseas tour to Germany on 21 January to participate at the 44th Musikschau der Nationen, Bremen. This was followed by concerts in Bremenhaven, Berlin and Bünde. The final leg of the tour was a visit to Munich where we had an opportunity to do some brief sightseeing and play in the snow (a novelty if you live in Cape Town) before returning to South Africa on 7 February.

The Band’s first “port of call” was Bremen and participation at the 44th “Musikschau Der Nationen”. Ten bands representing all five continents were present at this year’s show.

The Band entering the Arena

The Band routine

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The SA Band at the 44th Bremen Music Show of the Nations

Finale Bremen Music Show 2008

The SA Navy Band was especially popular with their unique blend of music (including Shosholoza and Meadowlands), which included the use of five djembe drums and four marimbas.

On Wednesday morning 23 January 2008, the Marimba Group was requested to perform for the Bündeswehr’s New Year's reception in the Bremen Town Hall.  This function was attended by high ranking German officers as well as members of the local parliament.  Although there was a slight delay as the Band’s equipment was detained by German customs in Hamburg, the group was able to improvise with a good rendition of Traditional African Songs.  This group performed well receiving many accolades by those in attendance.

That evening the band performed at the German Navy Maritime Operational School in Bremenhaven.   Although there was no ticket sales for this concert, donations for the Isivunguvungu Project were received to the amount of 1,908 Euros.  This concert was the initiative of the Officer Commanding of the school who had been the German Defence Attaché in South Africa.

Welcome by the officer commanding the German Maritime Warfare School

Petty Officer and a volunteer doing the Mexican Hat Dance

Some of the audience

The Marimba Group was requested to provide suitable music at the church service arranged for the participants of the Music Show by the organisers.

The attendance by the stand-in South African Ambassador, Minister Johannes, and the Defence Attaché, Captain (SAN) Sinovitch, was extremely appreciated by the members of the Band as this was the first time that representatives from the SA Embassy had attended the Bremen Music Show of the Nations.  On completion of the evening’s show the minister addressed the Band and conveyed his congratulations on the Band’s successful performance.

The Marimba Group of the band performed extremely well giving approximately 14 impromptu performances between shows.  The group enjoyed great popularity with many people staying for some time after the shows listening to the music.

On Monday 28 January the band departed for Berlin for three concerts.

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Despite literally being in Berlin for less than two and a half days, the Navy Band performed three concerts. The Band’s primary concert in Berlin was hosted by the South African Embassy; the other two being for the European Air Defence Systems (EADS) and for the German War Graves Commission. The reaction of these vastly different audiences was the same regarding the demand for encores, illustrating once again that the forty-two members of the South African Navy Band are able to entertain and inspire people of all ages and from all nations.

Visit to the Bünde Parliament

With the Shanty Choir - Bünde

On Thursday 31 January, the band departed for Bünde for the Band’s final concert performance which was held in the Town Hall on Saturday evening 2 February 2008. Over 700 people attended this concert. The entertaining and varied music programme of the band had audiences on their feet. The Band received good publicity from the local press as well.


Members of the Band in front of the statue of the famous Musicians of Bremen

Berlin Wall - from another viewpoint

Warrant Officers Laurence Markus and Willie van Zyl at the Brandenburg Gate - Berlin


One of the landmarks in Munich

The famous clocks - Munich

Members of the band enjoying the snow

The South African Navy Band returned to Cape Town on Thursday 7 February from a two-week, 25 concert tour of Germany. They played to over thirty seven thousand people and received standing ovations at every concert.