Arts & Entertainment

Pianist cuts first CD

Retreat pianist Reggie Dreyer is bringing the past back on track.

The CD, entitled Reminiscence, is something special, says Dreyer, because it contains 10 memorable tracks that span two generations of music.

Dreyer, who has a degree in music from Unisa and taught at Harmony Primary School in Steenberg for more than 30 years, also gave music lessons to college and high school students.

It all started at the age of 13, when “one day I just sat down in front of the piano and started playing”. From then on it was music all the way for Dreyer, who comes from a talented music family.

His late father, Mr Peter Dreyer was a church organist in the Methodist church, his sister played the violin and his brother is also a pianist.

The Dreyers grew up in Diep River and Reggie attended the South Peninsula High School in Diep River. Four years after striking his first note, he joined the popular “lang arm band”, The Philadelphians. He later also played in the Tip Top Dance Band.

While playing in these bands he started showing an interest in classical music. His first teacher was a concert pianist Ivy Parkin, who was 80 when she first met the young Dreyer

An eye for spotting musical talent, Mrs Parkin realised Dreyer’s potential and prepared him for an interview with the then conductor of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra, David Tidbold. But Apartheid put an end to his aspirations of playing in the orchestra. Although Tidbold was very impressed with his rendition of a Mozart Concerto, Dreyer was not allowed to play in the Orchestra because of the colour of his skin.

Dreyer then pursued a career in teaching, enrolling at the old Hewat Training College in Roeland Street, Cape Town. He started teaching at Harmony Primary in 1961 and retired from the same school 33 years later.

In between his busy days in the classroom, he studied music through Unisa. In 1985, five years after enrolling, he graduated.

Dreyer followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a church organist and he still plays at the Bergvliet Methodist Church.

“Choir training is my forte. I will never forget the day I took a 120 voice choir to the City Hall where they performed to a full house.”

The group, made up from different church choirs, rendered O Great Healer, which Dreyer composed.

It took him three months to complete the CD, which contains two of his own compositions and the rest from various other composers.

He is assisted by drummer Moses van Rensburg and Bas Guitarist Andre Swartz. Linley Pillay, who is the recording engineer, also did the final editing and mixing with the assistance of Grenville Williams.

If you want to listen to Dreyer’s originals and other songs of yesteryear, join him and other artists on Thursday 15 May, when he will be performing at the Bergvliet Methodist Church to help raise funds for the Faith and Light Organisation for Mentally Handicapped. If you like what you hear, you can take a copy of Reminiscence home with you as it will be on sale. For more information and tickets about the concert contact Dreyer at tel. 7156414 or 0837081749 or Stuart Munroe at tel. 7156196 or 0832842287.

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