The Mamre Moravian Church Brass Band, affiliated to the BBSA, was founded in 1880 and in recent years progressed from only playing hymns in the church to classical jazz, pop, and African music.
The band now consists of 57members and the group recorded a CD containing a range of hymns of the Moravian church year a few years ago. On the day of the festival Hilton Smith, leader and musical director of the band in Mamre, and videographer Melrick De Jongh video footage at several locations. For the recordings, the band was grouped into three venues in Western Cape, one in Gauteng, and three in Eastern Cape. The project is the first of its kind in the world, lasting for approximately 70 minutes. Due to COVID-19 band members could no longer practice for over 18 months, and the BBSA could not host its annual festival either. To keep the music committee active the BBSA decided to try out the online virtual concept with members practicing at home.” This entailed a lot of sacrificing of free time and weekends,” says Smith. Each instrument was recorded individually and at seven separate venues. The recordings were then mixed together to produce a mass sound of 28 live recordings with 10 items.
TheMamre Moravian Brass Band also recorded six hymns where each musician recorded themselves. In the end, all was put together, with the popular hymn ‘Great is thy faithfulness’ recorded by musicians from South Africa, America, Netherlands, England, and Germany. “On completion of the project, I felt so proud and emotional to be a Moravian and brass band player. This was such a big achievement, the idea seemed impossible. Each member had to be in sync with their timing to achieve a good musical product, but by the grace of God we did it,” Smith added.