PRESENTERS C – E
My mother Diana, being a stout-hearted Scot who wouldn’t miss Hogmanay for anything, gave birth to me in Glasgow on 30 December (not giving you the year). I was about four when I began taking dancing lessons with Jean Lindsey which apart from serious ballet tuition, included learning the Highland Fling, tap, musical comedy and Classical Greek. During the war (there I have almost given my d.o.b), I joined a concert party to entertain wounded troops stationed in hospitals in and around Glasgow. Dancing in my little kilt all the Highland dances I was taught as well as the Coppelia waltz in a pink tutu and sometimes singing “Daddy wouldn’t buy me a bow wow.” Came to SA in 1946 when my father Erik Chisholm was appointed Principal and Dean of the College of Music.
Having a musician for a father it was only natural I lived a life seeped in music and opera. I learnt piano, trumpet, and even played drums. Blessed with a good singing voice, I sang in school choirs, took singing lessons from Madame Adelheid Armhold and (once-upon-a-time) could sing The Magic Flute from start to finish.
But ballet was my passion so I continued my dancing studies at UCT Ballet school under Dulcie Howes. I became a soloist of the UCT Ballet Company, and would have followed ballet as a career had a serious back injury not ruined my prospects. So, those who can do, those who can’t teach and I made my career running my own studios in Rondebosch, Tulbagh and Malmesbury while also studying drama.
After my marriage I moved to Durbanville, continued teaching on a part-time basis while helping my husband in his surgery and rearing three daughters. In 1976 I was appointed to head the ballet department of the then Department of Coloured Affairs. An appointment which kept me on the hop travelling throughout the Republic and Namibia, opening up and running 140 ballet schools. A system which may have been rooted in separate education, but which opened up avenues and job opportunities for youngsters who otherwise would have been deprived of studying ballet. Incidently the system produced some of the finest dancers in the country as well as dozens of teachers.
After my husband’s death in 1988 I left Durbanville to live in Newlands, where I continued my work as Principal Advisor of Ballet until I took early retirement. Or thought I retired. In 1994 I was invited to start writing dance reviews for the Cape Times, and this extended into writing articles about dance related subject. A further extension being writing reviews for Amateur Dramatic productions.
Then, in 1997 my friend Eduard Greyling conned me into replacing him on Fine Music Radio for six weeks. He presented Midday Concert twice a week and with a pending overseas trip wanted someone to replace him. Game to try, I accepted the hook and surprise surprise, he never returned and I have been a Fine Music Radio presenter ever since. Switching, after several years, from the Midday Concert to Classical Choice on Tuesday mornings from 09.00 – 12.00. For a while I did a stint compiling and presenting Symphony concert on Wednesday evenings. When Michael Fisher became ill I “helped out” with Thursday Matinee. Sadly he died. Now I present this programme every second Thursday afternoon from 14.00-16.00.
In between writing crits and FMR, I interfere in my daughters and grandchildren’s lives, go to the theatre, opera and concerts as often as possible, and hope one day I’ll learn to spell.
Nic Ciro has always been comfortable juggling the dual roles of teacher and radio presenter, and, it seems, he has become remarkably proficient at both. As teacher he educates senior art students in the practice and philosophy of art at Reddam House in Tokai. As radio presenter, he hosts, four days a week, FMR’s popular afternoon drive show, Winding Down, between 4 and 6pm. With wide experience in commercial radio, Nic could have made announcing a full-time career, but he has always kept it as a sideline. ‘Teaching keeps me grounded,’ he says, and reckons the two sides of his life actually complement each other.
Nic graduated with a Masters in Art History at Wits and Unisa, and it was his intention to become an academic. But while studying at Wits he got caught up in the exciting world of radio at the campus radio station. He became heavily involved in commercial radio in the 80s – from Wits he applied to 5FM, where they wanted him as a newsreader. Then Kevin Savage at Capital Radio in Johannesburg took him under his wing, and he underwent rigorous training as a presenter. Later, back at 5FM, he went on to have his own show, did controversial film reviews, and rubbed shoulders with some of the ‘greats’ of the ‘golden era of radio’, such as Rock Professor Chris Prior, Rafe Lavine and Alex Jay.
Nic and his wife Joan moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town about 16 years ago, and he worked for a few years at 5FM at the SABC’s Cape Town studios. But eventually, he says, he got tired of commercial radio and the ‘pop’ thing. In 2008, he approached Rodney Trudgeon to join FMR, and was offered a slot on the afternoon drive show, which he has now virtually made his own. He says he is always surprised at the number of people who say they listen to the show, and reckons that, along with Fine Business Radio at 6pm, it probably has a bigger audience than official figures would suggest.
Nic says he developed a love for classical music through collaborating with Joan – a drama teacher – in the staging of a school production of the play Amadeus. From the music of Mozart he progressed to that of the Baroque, to Haydn and to the Romantics, including Chopin and Mahler. ‘I am drawn to music which enriches me and feeds my soul,’ he says.
He says he has never been ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘puritanical’ about music, and compiles his show from ‘gut feel’, introducing listeners to interesting new pieces while keeping up a regular dose of popular classics. He admits he can’t please everyone all the time, but what he does appear to be doing, through his warm, sincere approach, is making the classics accessible to as broad a range of people as possible.
Listeners to Cape Diary will be familiar with the bubbly voice of Beryl Eichenberger. Having lived in Cape Town for more than 35 years she is well known in the South African Public Relations field. A retail background led her into Promotions and PR and, after a stint with Independent Newspapers, she started HIPPO Communications in 2000.
When FMR turned 10 she was asked to run a publicity campaign for the station and having always had a love for radio she, in turn, asked if she could be auditioned as a presenter. Having been an amateur actress in her time and been interviewed frequently on behalf of her clients she auditioned successfully and has been one of the Cape Diary presenters for more than 7 years.
She loves to do voiceovers and radio ads when not working with her clients and tending to her cats.
Rick auditioned for the old English Service, Radio South Africa back in 1962 and that same year made his professional radio debut in a radio play as well as recording a radio advertisement. (Which means in 2012 he celebrated 50 years in the business!) He appeared in literally hundreds of radio plays and programmes for the English Service and Springbok Radio in the years to come.
In January 1997 he compiled and presented his first programme for Fine Music Radio ‘From Stage and Screen’ which eventually became ‘Musical Memories’ and ran uninterrupted every Sunday for 12 years.
Rick can be heard every Tuesday between 1 and 2 with a programme of light, easy listening jazz – ‘In The Mood’ and on Saturdays between 12 and 2 p.m. with Musical Memories – nostalgic light music from yesteryear and this programme also includes listeners’ requests!
He is also a regular stand-in for James Patrick’s ‘On the lighter Side’ (Saturdays 12 – 2 p.m) and various other programmes.
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