PRESENTERS H – J
Vic Hall is the regular presenter of Saturday Scene, the popular light jazz programme on Saturdays, from 9:00 to noon.
Vic Hall is so at ease behind the microphone, and has such an array of stories to tell from his days in radio, one would automatically assume that broadcasting has been his full-time occupation. But for Vic –who hails from the UK but considers Cape Town his home – the role of DJ has always been a sideline, albeit an important one. His career is in the business world of retail, and it was through an offer from one of South Africa’s big grocery chains that he immigrated here in 1982.
As a boy in his home town of Loughborough in Leicestershire, Vic says he was enchanted by the atmosphere of the local fairgound, with its hustle and bustle and blaring music. This led to the excitement of the dance floor, and Vic became proficient as a DJ, doing regular gigs at English nightclubs and eventually becoming resident DJ with EMI, sharing the stage with acts such as the Three Degrees and the Supremes.
He later joined a radio station near Reading and found being alone behind a mic in the studio a very different environment than a rowdy nightclub. It is here, he says, he learned the challenge of radio, a lesson he has conveyed to young broadcasters he has mentored. “It’s essential you talk to an individual, “ he says, “and visualise one person listening to you.”
Radio has featured large in Vic’s life in South Africa. In 1989 he worked for Radio Good Hope, and then moved to Johannesburg, where, in 1990 he began working freelance for Radio 702. At the time, 702 was primarily a music station, and was broadcasting from Garankua in the “independent” homeland of Boputhatswana, although it also had a studio in Johannesburg. It was on 702 that Vic says he set a record for on-air broadcasting. From the studio in Garankua, just outside Pretoria, he handed over at the end of his show to a presenter in Johannesburg, to discover that the cable linking the two centres had been severed by thieves. By the time someone was able to travel out to the isolated studio and take over from him, he had been on the air for a gruelling 9½ hours.
In 1995, 702 dropped music and became a talk station, and in 1997 Vic found his way back home to Cape Town, taking up a national position in retail. The following year, FMR’s Leslie McKenzie approached him to take over the Saturday Scene slot from Eric Allen which, apart from an 18-month break in 2002/3, he has presented ever since.
Inserting a disc in one of the studio’s CD machines, Vic says his taste in music is very wide, and includes the classics, but feels his presentation style is best suited to the easy-listening jazz mix he plays on Saturday mornings.
“For me”, he says, “what’s important about music is the memories it evokes.”
Judging by the appreciative calls he gets from listeners, he’s getting it just right.
As far back as she can remember, music and dance were an integral part of Jennifer’s life. It was always taken for granted that she would follow a career as a professional ballet dancer but a fractured foot in her matric year put paid to this. Instead she studied music, winning a gold medal at the Afrikaans Eisteddfod, a UNISA bursary and attaining UNISA’s Performers and Teachers Licentiates as well as the LRSM and ARCM in London. On returning to South Africa Jennifer opened a ballet school in Bellville where she taught for more than 40 years. Amongst the many pupils who went on to professional international careers in dance are Eduard Greyling and Diane van Schoor, recently retired principal of the Royal Ballet School, White Lodge, London.
Jennifer is a Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing UK, and for the past 20 years has served on the board of the Council of Management of the Cecchetti Society of Classical Ballet, Southern Africa. Under the auspices of the Cecchetti Society she has compiled and produced several CD’s as well as books of music for use in the ballet class. Since her retirement Jennifer continues coaching, examining and adjudicating.
Thirteen years ago, after intensive coaching by David Hicks, Jennifer started broadcasting for FMR and regularly presents Wednesday morning Classical Choice and, sporadically, some evening programmes. She has six grandchildren and considers herself very blessed indeed to be able to derive so much pleasure from her THREE B’s: BALLET, BROADCASTING & BABY-SITTING!
David Hicks is a retired School Master (Physics and Chemistry with a sprinkling of Maths). Born and educated in East London, studied at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, he taught in the then provinces of Natal, Transvaal and the Cape Province, finally coming to Cape Town in 1973.
Music has been an important part in his life: he began piano lessons at the age of 10, took part in the Chorus of student productions of Gilbert & Sullivan operas and as an undergraduate was a member of the Rhodes University Chamber Choir, then directed by Dr Georg Gruber. In Cape Town, he was founder of the Cape Town Symphony Choir and remained a member until he retired in 2012.
From early childhood, holiday journeys were by train and train travel (particularly steam) became a passion, culminating in an odyssey from London across Europe and Siberia, a train excursion in Alaska, from the East to the West Coast of Canada, across Ireland and through Scotland back to London.
He became a Home-Owner in the Southern Suburbs in 1983 and became a keen gardener with an eye to Indigenous plants and spending time in the kitchen preparing interesting meals for occasional dinner-parties. He has shared his home with three (successive) Scottle Dogs – MacNah, MacTavish and now MacDuff. All three dogs in their separate ways have had the temperament of Scots: laconic, vociferous, affectionate or aloof according to their mood, but also typically thrawn – [(a Scottish word) – consciously, deliberately and perversely stubborn]: do dogs become like their owners or vice versa?
His association with FMR has been long – almost from the inception of the Station, presenting Mid-day Concert once a week, and Composer of the Week and Music among Friends from time to time through the year.
Rose presents Midday Concerts and Matinee on alternate weeks, and some evening programmes.
Not long ago a family member said: “How lucky you are always to have worked with what you really love.” That’s true, and it’s been music all the way.
A number of work-related family moves gave me the opportunity to work in different places, though it wasn’t always easy to leave and start afresh. I have compiled light and classical music programmes for the SABC and at the RBC. For a number of years I wrote music and ballet reviews for Die Transvaler. I have been music librarian, assisting in royalty breakdowns (serious music ) at SAMRO, worked as librarian at Wynberg library (music) and was senior librarian in-charge at Southfield library.
Teaching music has been part of my life since the age of 17, when I taught my own music teacher’s children in exchange for the loan of a piano! I have especially fond memories of teaching at Kingsmead College, the School of Art, Ballet and Music in Johannesburg and the Battswood Arts Centre in Cape Town. One of the great things about teaching is how much you yourself always learn. The same applies to presenting programmes for FMR.
Born in Johannesburg, I was educated in Pietermaritzburg and studied music for matric with my long-time teacher Rina Willemse. Subsequent teachers were David Goldsmith, Peggy Haddon and Adolph Hallis, under whose guidance I obtained Associate and Licentiate piano diplomas. I also studied recorder and cello. I graduated with a BA (Unisa) majoring in English and Music and later studied library and information science at post-graduate level at UCT, obtaining the PGDipLIS. In 2008 I graduated with the BMus Hons (Musicology) from Unisa.
After a break from studies and research, I wanted to broaden my horizons, contacted Rodney at FMR, and subsequently began compiling music for Friday’s Classic Breakfast. Thanks to Priscilla Laing’s patient training, I began presenting programmes from July 2011. However, the library links remain in place at FMR – always interesting and challenging. My other interests include reading, ballet, gardening and tennis.
Lesley presents Reflections on Sunday mornings once a month, is on the Simply Choral team of presenters on Sunday evenings, and can often be heard in the specialist music programmes on weekday evenings.
Wise counsel from my mother, pianist/organist Elsie Jennings, steered me towards music as a hobby rather than as a career, but my formal training nevertheless encompassed piano, organ and singing. In fact, from the cradle, singing in harmony had been part of my upbringing, thanks to both parents (my dad, Cecil, was a singer) and my elder sister Norah. Norah and I were both of the mezzo variety, so we were delighted when Philippa was born a soprano! We sang as a trio at every opportunity – with our brilliant accompanist/mother as mentor – laying the cornerstone for a lifetime of solo, choral and ensemble singing.
Solo repertoire includes inter alia Bach’s Mass in B Minor and St John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Duruflé’s Requiem and most of the Haydn masses, but my particular love is for ensemble singing.
Membership of mum’s choir at Christ Church, Kenilworth was not negotiable! Joined Dr Claude Brown’s Melodic Choir in 1958 at age 13 (when I encountered the late Michael Fisher, newly arrived to take up his legendary teaching career at Bishops); am a founder member (1964) of Barry Smith’s St George’s Singers, with whom I’ve sung a large and varied repertoire both as chorister and soloist – and a founder member of the vocal sextet True Voices.
Played principal contralto and mezzo roles in almost all of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas for the Cape Town G&S Society.
Teachers – Molly Walsh and Josephine Evans (piano), Claude Brown (organ), Gudrun Barella, Albina Bini and Lloyd Strauss-Smith (singing).
This hobby of mine has taken me places too: the St George’s Singers were privileged enough to perform in Vienna and Israel (1981), and to be invited to the UK to participate in the 1996 Worcester Three Choirs Festival as well as the 2007 Elgar 150th birthday celebrations. And 1989 and 1990 found me leading classical music tours to festivals in Bregenz, Salzburg, Verona and Lucerne.
Meanwhile, body and soul were kept together administering the Physics Department at UCT for 38 years – until early retirement in September 2008, when I took up a new career teaching English as a second language.
As far as FMR is concerned, James Patrick is squarely responsible for having inflicted me on the listening public! In 2005 he needed a substitute for Winding Down for six weeks while he was overseas – and I was horrified to discover that my studio training would comprise little more than sitting with him in the studio for several Winding Down sessions. It was akin to learning to drive a car from the passenger seat! And the learning continues … every FMR programme is a challenge (I literally pray on every trip to the studio!). But the rewards are enormous – and I’m particularly thankful for the amount I learn every day.
Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Dragana Jevtovic studied Philosophy, Psychology and History of Art at Belgrade University before completing her BA Mus (Hons), specialising in the vocal arts, at the Faculty of Music, Belgrade University of Arts.
She sang at concerts in Yugoslavia and throughout Europe as well as in the USA and recorded for Yugoslavian Radio and Television.
She was a music critic for Radio Belgrade 202 and the leading Belgrade daily newspaper, Politika.
From her arrival in Cape Town in 1993 she sang for Cape Town Opera until 1998. She taught singing for ten years and continued performing as a soloist, in Cape Town, Holland, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
Besides appearing as a classical concert soloist, she has also focused on her native Balkan folk music and has performed with the Balkan groups Superstar Okestar in Sweden, and Gypsy Magic in Cape Town. As a member of the Balkan Band “Playing with Fire” she performed at Balkanology concerts, the Cultivaria Festival, KKNK, and was a regular soloist at the annual Yiddish Song Festival held at the Baxter Theatre and in Johannesburg. In South Africa she has lectured on Ladino Music and conducted corporate motivational sessions employing music.
Dragana’s interest in jazz began when she attended Miles Davis’s concert at the age of 13. Since then she has met many jazz greats (Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, Winton Marsalis, Mike Brecker, Stacey Kent, Jim Tomlinson, Joe Lovano, Dusko Goykovich, Billy Childs, and Chris Botti among others), and worked on organizing The Belgrade Jazz Festival from 1980 to 1992. She is an eager follower of the South African jazz scene.
Besides studying and working, Dragana had lots of fun in Serbia: she dived to sunken ships, ran a scuba diving school in Montenegro, skied in the Bosnian and Serbian mountains, sailed in the Adriatic, made crazy clothes and enjoyed fast driving and giving huge parties. The fun continues! In 2011 Dragana won the silver medal in Slalom at the South African National Skiing Competition, held in Lesotho.
Dragana has been an FMR presenter since 2006 and compiles and presents Jazz, Classical and World Music programmes.
She has many interests involving the arts. She runs a ceramic studio from her home in Durbanville and her Blue Guinea Fowl and Royal African designs have found their way into galleries and homes all over the world: www.draganajevtovic.com.
She also plays the piano and saxophone.
Dragana is the mother to two daughters (a scientist and a cellist), four stepchildren and adores her husband, three dogs and two cats.
I would describe myself as a typical Sagittarian. I spent the major part of my working life as a chef and catering superintendent for a major corporation. Prior to which I was a merchant seaman (of no fixed abode!) and a global chef.
I have always had a love of literature and theatre, and a passion for films and music. Although I have catholic taste in music, I consider jazz to be the foundation of my musical experience.
To paraphrase the Bard: “If music be the food of life … eat!”
Richard presents Sunday Scene on Sundays at 10:00. He willingly fills in wherever else he is needed.
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