A MEMORABLE MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA!
11 DECEMBER 2009, DENEL LAND SYSTEMS, PRETORIA

Article by: Major Thérèse Bester, South African Army Corporate Communication
Script by: Colonel Sidney Zeeman, South African Army Corporate Communication
Photos by: Warrant Officer Class 1 Hennie Booysen, 1 Military Printing Regiment

Guests who attended Chief of the South African Army’s Gala Evening experienced the event from a different angle this year. On Friday 11 December 2009, the Gala Evening was presented inside the Production Line Hangar at Denel Land Systems, in Lyttelton, Pretoria.

Inside the venue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From a distance the arriving guests could already experience the joyous atmosphere created by the South African National Defence Force choir.

Members of the South African National Defence Force Choir

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


An exhibition of military hardware, prepared by Denel Land Systems, a treasured stakeholder of the South African Army in the defence-related industry with specific reference to turret, gun and mortar systems, was displayed in the foyer area of the venue.

Exhibition of Military Hardware at Denel Land Systems Production Line Hangar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening started on a high note with a musical extravaganza performed by Regular and Reserve soldiers. A variety of musical pieces were showcased by a combined military band consisting of members from the National Ceremonial Guard Band, the SA Army Polokwane Band, the National Ceremonial Guard Entertainment Band and the South African Irish Pipe Band.

Combined South African Army Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All over the world, the crucial role of female soldiers within the military is acknowledged. Their contribution within our country and outside the borders of South Africa, was honoured by the performance of a medley of ABBA tunes from the movie “Mamma Mia”.

Guests enjoying the musical performance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reserve pipe bands have become an integral part of the South African Army culture. These bands represent a small part of the Reserves. They play an ever increasing role in securing a safe environment in Southern Africa and its entire community. Killaloe by Arr Clark was performed by the South African Irish Pipe Band.

Guests enjoying the musical extravaganza!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of our soldiers were not at home during the festive season because of their current involvement in Peace Missions in various countries in Africa. In recognition of their professional conduct and in acknowledgement of the sacrifice their families have made, Band of Brothers by Kamin, was dedicated to them and performed by the members of the South African Irish Pipe Band. This musical piece touched the hearts of the guests.

South African Irish Pipe Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year the highlights of the South African Army included a multinational exercise, EX GOLFINHO, in line with the African Union’s Standby Force roadmap; the celebration of a decade of successful involvement in Peace Missions as well as the handing over of the Hospice at Lenz, Johannesburg to the South African Military Health Services.

A suitable song, Amigos Para Sempre (meaning “friends forever”), was performed by two tenors, Captain Nathan Titus and Lance Corporal Nehemia Kwonglee from the National Ceremonial Guard Band. Highlights of the successful execution of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) exercise, EX GOLFINHO which was spearheaded by 43 South African Brigade, were shown. The exercise led to mutual understanding, trust and appreciation amongst the participating forces of the 14 SADC countries.

Captain Nathan Titus and Lance Corporal Nehemia Kwonglee from the National Ceremonial Guard Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the highlights was the extravagant performance of the 1812 Overture by Pyort Lliyich Tchaikovsky. The piece was originally written to commemorate Russia’s defence of Moscow against Napoleon’s advancing Grande Armeé at the Battle of Borodino in 1812. This musical piece is well known for its climactic volley of gunfire and ringing church bell signifying victory. The combined bands of the South African Army performed this magnificent musical piece and it was combined with G1 gunfire utilising four G1 guns from the Artillery Mobilisation Regiment. The overwhelming sound of gunfire certainly enhanced the performance.

Four G1 gun crews firing from Artillery Mobilisation Regiment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the gun crews firing from Artillery Mobilisation Regiment

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

A moment of silence was observed to honour soldiers who paid the ultimate price by sacrificing their lives during the execution of their duty in the South African Army. The Combined South African Army Band and members of the South African Irish Pipe Band gave a moving performance of Gabriel’s Oboe conducted by Enrico Mooricones, in their honour.

South African Irish Pipe Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lieutenant General Solly Shoke addressed the guests and made use of the opportunity to thank the Strategic Partners and Stakeholders for their contribution towards and support of the South African Army throughout the year and in the years to come.

“In the same vein, I also wish to thank my General Staff, Commanders, soldiers on the ground and civilians at all levels of the Army, for their dedication in serving the nation. By performing your duties professionally and diligently throughout the year, you have earned my utmost respect”.

Lieutenant General Shoke concluded his address with the last few inspiring words, ”Let us enter the New Year, filled with renewed strength and faith, in our ability to register further operational success in our missions, I wish you, your families and loved ones a merry Christmas and a rewarding new year”.

Lieutenant General Solly Shoke, Chief of the South African Army, during his address

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year's Gala Evening was certainly an extravagant and memorable event! As the guests departed, a spectacular thunderstorm lit heir way home.

Spectacular thunderstorm