Presenters V – Z

PRESENTERS V – Z

Patrick van Blerk
Patrick van Blerk Picture croppedPatrick van Blerk has covered extensive territory and gathered much experience in the music industry.

He has been inducted into the SA Digest of Rock’s Hall of Fame for his contribution to South African music. He has won various SARIE and industry awards, as well as gold and platinum discs.

Patrick started with Gallo in 1968 and then went independent in the early seventies. He has at various times worked with or initiated the careers of many SA artists. In addition, he assisted in guiding the creative fortunes of Virgin Records in SA for three years when the label enjoyed some of the its biggest success. He introduced SA to the Gipsy Kings and the very successful dance-compilation series High-Energy Double-Dance.

Patrick’s experience with studios began as co-owner of Auvico in Johannesburg, the first 16-track recording studio in S.A. It was subsequently sold to Satbel. As a result, the famed multi-million Satbel studio complex became Patrick’s home for the next seven years.

Patrick later bought the equally famed Sonovision, responsible not only for the legendary Springbok radio shows like Squad Cars and Consider Your Verdict, but also thousands of radio jingles.

Local acts he has worked with include Ipi Tombi, Margaret Singana, Rabbitt, Joy, Julian Laxton, Sweatband featuring Wendy Oldfield, Mike Makhalemele, Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi, Kiepie Moeketsi, Alan Kwela, Spirits Rejoice featuring Sipho Gumede, Mahlathini, Gibson Kente, Mimi Coertse, Freedom’s Children, Radio Rats, Café Society, Dave Mills, Lauren Copley, Gecko Moon featuring Ringo and many others.

As a songwriter, Patrick has enjoyed success with songs such as Paradise Road, Charlie, and Blue Water. He co-wrote and co-produced the title theme from the TV series Shaka Zulu, We Are Growing, which enjoyed international success. Co-writers he has worked with include Trevor Rabin, Julian Laxton, Fransua Roos and Hal Shaper. Patrick has worked on international films such as Hold My Hand I’m Dying and Death of a Snowman. He retains film connections abroad and locally.

Patrick has travelled the music world extensively. In 1971 he represented SA at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo. He made many trips to the international trade gathering MIDEM held in Cannes. Patrick succeeded in securing major international deals for artists such as Margaret Singana, Ipi Tombi and  Rabbitt, despite the difficult and isolating political climate of the apartheid years.

CURRENTLY : Patrick is currently co-owner/founder of CAPETOWN SOUND studios in Woodstock with PAUL PETERSEN. This consist of 2 studios, a record label, music publishing – plus a newly launched sister-company CAPETOWN PLAYMAKERS, run by Andre Gilbertson, which focuses on PR, corporate functions, project management and promotion. Artists that CTS have worked with include PATRIZIO, LAVUVUZELA, RICHARD CEASAR, ALISTAIR IZOBELL, ZAYN ADAM, and THABO MDLULI – whose hits ‘Unshakeable’ and ‘Slow Down’ were written by Patrick with Natasha Simonne Burger.

Patrick also had his co-composition, ‘WE ARE GROWING”’ used by ABSA for their ‘Team Of Millions’ campaign – as a theme for the Springboks.

Patrick is now working with the CTS team on a host of new material from established artists – and also new, including brother-sister opera duo LANA & VICTOR, SA’s Got Talent finalist LOUWTJIE ROTHMAN, new house stars from the E. Cape THE BAND THE BUSINESS, and new Afrikaans star GAVIN ESTERHIZEN, amongst others.
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Gary van Dyk
Gary van Dyk Picture croppedGary van Dyk was one of the founding presenters on Fine Music Radio when it started.

“I was born in Diep River, Cape Town, and attended St Anthony’s Primary School in Heathfield, then South Peninsula High in Diep River. On leaving school went and did an apprenticeship in Electrical Fitting in Simonstown Dockyard. Eventually ended up working at Tedelex in Atlantis where I started doing some freelance photography and reporting.

Eventually the writing bug bit and I joined the staff of the Cape Herald in 1984, doing general news but eventually ending up covering the entertainment beat. In 1995 I was transferred to The Cape Argus Tonight section covering music, establishing a jazz column, theatre and movies. I am now working for the Tygerburger group of community newspapers.

During this time I also started working on radio presenting various jazz shows on CFlat (community radio), Fine Music Radio, P4 and until recently CapeTalk/702.”

While the focus of the music on this programme is jazz, Gary’s roots are also in rock, and it comes out at times during his shows when he features his blues theme once a month.

Listeners have been enjoying his presentations for compilations that can take you from the traditional standards side of the music to the funky side of fusion, and he has a knack of finding those favourites of yesteryear that everybody else had forgotten about.

“It is no secret that I am passionate about music in education, I have experienced the change that comes over young people from disadvantaged backgrounds when they start applying the dedication needed to learn the music in all aspects of their lives. It gives them a vision of their potential and an alternative to some of the rampant crime and gangsterism that could lead them astray.

My goal in life is to reach these young people at risk through music, and if just one life can be changed in this way, then we’re winning.

So far there’s a number on their way to the top, so the rest is a bonus!”
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Johan van Lill
Johan van Lill Picture croppedJohan van Lill is a multi-faceted, well-qualified and experienced educational expert, journalist, writer, radio personality and entrepreneur.

In art circles Johan’s voice is well-known as a presenter of radio programmes for Radiosondergrense (RSG – radio without borders), “RSG Kuns (Art)”, “RSG Matriekhersiening (matric revision)”  en “RSG Groeipyne (Growing pains)” as well as for “Cape Diary/Kaapse Dagboek” on Cape’s Fine Music Radio (FMR).

His radio voice is also to be heard on Sunday nights talking about religious matters on the radio programme “Kruis en dwars”. Johan received two nominations for best presenter at the annual ATKV Media Awards (ATKV Mediaveertjies) in 2013.

As a writer, he has developed various educational series and curriculum materials for primary and high school and he has also authored youth and children’s books. These titles include books for learners and teachers, as well as reading series for all the school grades. His articles about the development of mathematics and science skills in children appear regularly in magazines and newspapers. Johan is also a regular guest on educational radio and TV programmes.

As an entrepreneur, Johan van Lill is the director of Wordwise Media, an independent company that delivers a wide variety of media and educational services.

He is a passionate collector of art and an expert in young South African painters.
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Vernon Varty
Vernon Varty Picture croppedVernon presents The Jazz Lounge on Wednesday evenings at 19:00.

I was born in Pietermaritzburg, and we moved to Durban when I was four years old (1941). My first seven years of schooling entailed attending six different junior schools, all over the then province of Natal, finally stabilising from Grade 8 through to matric at Mansfield High School, Durban, a kind of tough grammar school. The most distinguishing aspects of my high school career were surprisingly good results in rifle marksmanship, a still-enduring love for cricket, and an even more enduring passion for anything relating to aviation. One of many dreams which have come true for me was achieving my night-rated pilot licence, which gave me eight years of unbelievable joy until the 1975 oil crisis.

My dad was, among other things, a marvellous jazz musician, and I still wish today that I had accepted his advice to take music lessons. I finally began, at the ripe old age of 20, to try and teach myself, and although I still can’t read a note I am fortunate enough even now to still be working as a semi-professional musician.

I started trying to play guitar just at the beginning of the rock & roll revolution, and four years later toured the Copperbelt with Dickie Loader and the Blue Jeans. After a few years playing with various rock groups my interest shifted towards jazz and popular show-type music, which has kept me involved ever since. I somehow managed to get work with some very good bands and superb artists over the years, working with top names of the time, and doing lots of transcription recording work for the SABC.

I moved to Cape Town at the end of 1988 for a marvellous motivational training job, which kept me enthralled right through to a somewhat forced retirement in 1998.

In 1992 I joined the very happy Riverboat Jazz Band, and a year later we were invited to play at a New Year jazz festival in Palm Springs, California. Marvellous experience … one band each from UK, Netherlands and South Africa, and 27 bands from all over the USA. The legendary British band leader Chris Barber was also there as an independent guest artist, and he chose our band for 12 of his 18 performances.

Our Riverboat Jazz Band is currently completing its 13th consecutive Summer Sunday season down at Ferryman’s Tavern at the V & A Waterfront. I also play in a smooth sophisticated dance band called Casablanca, a nostalgic-jazz group called Evergreen, and even would -you-believe a Bierfest-type band called Ein Prosit. I also do ad hoc work with other bands.

Joining Fine Music Radio as a jazz presenter (8 years ago) has turned out to be one of my most enjoyable activities, and I have made many new friends in the process.

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Paul Whelan

Paul is part of the team that presents World Café.

He usually presents on first Wednesday of the month. He’s very keen on current and vintage sounds from west and north Africa, the Caribbean, east and central Asia and Scandinavia and not averse to pepper his shows with healthy dollops of Americana and Anglocana.   The playlists for his shows can be found at: http://www.paul-worldcafe.blogspot.com/.
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Sybil Whiteman-Morris
Sibyl Whiteman Morris Picture croppedI was born in Cape Town and was fortunate to grow up in a household where there was music from morning to night. My mother was a distinguished and successful piano teacher who had played in public in her younger days – even in the Royal Albert Hall – and my father, though earning his living as a mathematics lecturer and professor at UCT, followed a parallel music career and obtained an MMus degree in composition under Prof Erik Chisholm.

My first experience of radio was at the age of 8 when I sang solos on the  Children’s Corner programme at the old SABC studios in Riebeek Street!  Before I left home to study overseas at the age of 17 I played the first movement of the Schumann Concerto in the City Hall with the then Municipal orchestra under Edward Dunn at a lunch-hour concert which was broadcast live. I studied at the Royal Academy for a year, collecting the requisite Licentiates and Associateships before departing for Amsterdam. There I had plenty of opportunities for performing solos, concertos and chamber music, on both piano and my second instrument the clarinet.

I won a few prizes in piano competitions (notably one for the best performance of a contemporary Dutch composition)  which led to some broadcasts on Dutch radio stations, and I gave public recitals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague etc. I left Amsterdam with the Prix d’Excellence, the highest award for solo playing, as well as the Orchestral Diploma for clarinet. Highlights were playing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and the Saint-Saens 2nd piano concerto in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Small Hall for my final examinations. Subsequently I gave recitals in various German cities (Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Cologne etc). On returning home I was appointed Senior Lecturer in piano at the University of Port Elizabeth and stayed for several years until I left to get married.   I belatedly did a Master’s degree in Chamber Music at UCT when my sons had finished school; my piano tutor was the unforgettable Lamar Crowson and my supervisor for the thesis was Michael Tuffin, another noted FMR presenter.

Amongst other activities I have given many lectures on music for Adult Education programmes; I broadcast  recital programmes on SABC; gave solo recitals in major cities in South Africa, played with the SABC, Natal Philharmonic and Cape Town orchestras under conductors such as Charles Groves, Louis Fremaux, Franz Litschauer, Georg Tintner, David Tidboald and Edgar Cree. I also made two CDs of piano solos which are sometimes aired on FMR! I compile and present occasional programmes for FMR on Great Interpreters, Composer of the Week and Music among Friends.

Apart from my family (husband, two sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughter), my main interests  are photography (especially wildlife), for which I was awarded my APSSA in 2000, going to game reserves, walking in our beautiful fynbos and reading, and I admit to an unhealthy amount of internet surfing!
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Paul Wise
Paul Wise Picture croppedPresents Classical Choice on Mondays and Classic Breakfast on alternate Saturdays

Real-world occupation: a former high-school teacher of English and parliamentary Hansard reporter/editor, now a freelance copy-editor, proofreader and translator.

Reason for FMR involvement: I’ve spent my whole life with music (I come from a family of musicans) and I’ve always been fascinated by the medium of radio – so it seems logical.

Musical credentials: Grade VIII piano (passed by the skin of my teeth), and lots of choirs. And, oh yes, playing the tuba (briefly and VERY badly) in a school wind band.

My music: I enjoy presenting music that’s out of the way but easy on the ear. That way, I hope to please the ordinary lover of classical music and also intrigue the expert. Every programme is a voyage of discovery for me, and an adventure in pronunciation!
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John Woodland
John Woodland Picture croppedI was fortunate to be schooled at Bishops in Rondebosch. I started taking piano lessons when I was seven but it was only in high school that I began taking music seriously, thanks to the excellent music department there.

In 2005, my matric year, I travelled to the Oundle International Organ Festival in England for an inspiring series of masterclasses, concerts and the opportunity to interact with like-minded young musicians. The following year I stayed on at Bishops as the Claude Brown Organ Scholar. During this time I accompanied the school choir on its tour to Russia and was invited to give an organ recital in the Netherlands. In 2007 I completed my LTCL in organ performance with distinction.

Fast forward a few years: I am now studying towards a PhD in chemistry at UCT having specialised in biochemistry and some philosophy along the way. It is not for nothing that chemistry is regarded as the ‘central science’ and I am inspired by its promise in the treatment of disease, in the management of our environment and in improving our understanding of the brain/mind.

I am also interested in politics and am passionate about literature. Time spent in the outdoors, particularly hiking or cycling with friends, is never wasted.

While I have a great appreciation for all genres of music, especially alternative rock and sultry jazz, classical music remains closest to my heart. I was privileged to train and conduct the UCT Choir, a student-run group and the most diverse ensemble on campus, for three years (2010 -2012).But now I am a member of the St George’s Singers under the direction of Dr Barry Smith.

And Fine Music Radio? An avid listener of FMR, I was fascinated by the medium of radio and first made enquiries to join the FMR team in January 2006 when I was still at school. Thanks to the professional guidance and enthusiasm of Rodney, Rick, Victoria and Maggie D, I was soon up-and-running and spent almost two years presenting Winding Down fortnightly.

After a stint on Matinee, afternoon labwork eventually forced me to migrate to the evening programmes where I continue to share my passion for solo, orchestral and choral music with others – and am kept on my toes by listeners who ensure that I keep learning.

In 2009 I presented a 13-part series on organ music entitled ‘The Organ: A Whistle-Stop Tour’ and, in 2013, atwo-part series on ‘The Musical Art of Theme Parks’ with Kyle Paulssen.

John can be heard on Collage on Tuesdays (8-10 pm) once a month, and occasionally on other evening programmes.
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