Gold, standing ovation for KZNYWB in Carnegie Hall

THE KZN Youth Windband (KZNYWB) won gold at their Youthband Wind Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York, thanks to the contributions of two Toti local band members.

Sara McInerney (17) and Chantal du Toit (27) are proud to return from abroad wearing gold.

During their week in New York from 10 to 16 March, the musicians participated in many activities and saw their fair share of the city. Ice-skating in Central Park, feeling the energy in Time Square, admiring the Museum of Modern Art and cruising past the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty are experiences they will never forget. Being makers of music, Juliard ranked as top priority over all other sights.

“All the musicians shared the hotel, so we were really able to socialise and get to know one another’s cultures and differences,” said Sara. “We all had our love of music in common, so we couldn’t help but build friendships.”

A vicious snowstorm struck on the day of their performance. A usual one minute walk from the hotel to Carnegie Hall became a 10-minute long battle with the elements, an experience few of them experience in KZN.

“Our practising room was absolutely incredible. We sat there between four walls signed by the most amazing musicians,” said Sara. “It was the most euphoric experience, knowing they were once warming up in the very same room as you, performing on the same stage, possibly sitting in the same seat.”

Sara admits that the KZNYWB surprised themselves by winning gold.

“We have far less practises every week and our instruments are not of the same quality as the other bands, but we proved neither of those factors hold much importance to us, as we performed a complicated piece, a rearranged version of ‘Puta Puta’,” she said.

After their performance they received a two-minute standing ovation. Sara admits the stereotypical ‘South African’ questions didn’t stop.

‘Did you fly here?’, ‘Do you have wild animals in your garden?’, ‘Do you ride elephants in Africa’ were some of the many things they were asked.

While the KZN Youth Wind Band shared a piece of South Africa with New York, spectators and the sold-out audience were in awe of their diverse culture.

Sara admits that the KZNYWB surprised themselves by winning gold.



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Holly Konig

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