CTMT 2010: Rehearsals Part 2

The otherwise quiet and peaceful Castle of Good Hope in central Cape Town was a hive of activity on the weekend, with the different acts rehearsing for the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010.

If you haven’t booked tickets yet, go to Computicket and do so now – you’ll regret it if you miss this spectacular event!

After a busy Saturday afternoon (see photos of the rehearsals here), I was back at the Castle on Sunday morning, and spent the entire day and most of the evening behind the scenes, absorbing the sense of anticipation and excitement, taking photographs, waiting for things to happen, chatting with people, running up and down steps, taking more photographs, waiting a bit more, grabbing a bite to eat every now and then, drinking lots of water because of the heat, discussing ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings with my fellow ‘photies’ Brent and Lorraine, walking around the arena looking for good vantage points, and yes, taking more photographs. I loved every moment of it! 😀

Here are my photos of Sunday’s daytime rehearsals, followed by some pics of the evening’s run-through.

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CTMT 2010: Rehearsals Part 1

The last couple of days have been really busy, with all the preparations for the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010 at the Castle of Good Hope in the city centre. Have a look here for some pictures of the work being done on the arena, which included the erection of the lighting towers, the wiring of the lighting and sound equipment, the construction of the seating stands, etc. Over the weekend, the various groups of performers and marching bands arrived, some having traveled from far outside Cape Town, and thus the intensive rehearsals in the main arena were able to kick off on Saturday afternoon.

I spent the day at the Castle and took some photos of the rehearsals of the SA Navy Sea Cadets, the Drill Squad from the Western Cape Schools Marching Drill and Exhibition Association, the dancers from the Celtic Dance Tapestry, and the Drum Majorettes of Curro Private School.

To give you a bit of a taste of what will happen at the Tattoo, here are some pics I took on the day. Enjoy! 😀

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CTMT 2010: A Peek behind the Scenes

With only a few days to go before the Opening Night performance of the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010, the preparations at the Castle are in full swing.

This is how the front courtyard at the Castle usually looks in the early evening – a big open space

This year, I have been allowed to peek behind the curtain and to hang around backstage, so to speak. Camera at the ready, pen and notepad in hand, all my senses have been absorbing the anticipation and excitement, as well as the frustrations and challenges, which go together with staging an event of this magnitude and complexity.

I confess that I had not given much thought to all the preparations that have to happen behind the scenes.

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The Cape Town Highlanders commemorate the Second Battle of El Alamein (2010)

On Sunday, 24 October 2010, the Cape Town Highlanders regiment, whose headquarters are at the back of the Castle of Good Hope in central Cape Town, held their annual commemorations of the Second Battle of El Alamein.

The service began around 10h45, with the sentries and flag orderlies marching through the archway and taking up their positions on the front parade ground. A sentry stood at each of the corners of the small memorial, as the Drums and Pipes of the Cape Town Highlanders, followed by the colourful MOTHs banners and a column of MOTHs members from various shellholes around the Western Cape, entered the courtyard. The MOTHs banners lined up on one side, facing the shaded colonnade, where the dignitaries and invited guests were sitting.

MOTHs padre Errol Sadler gave a scripture reading and led the gathering in prayer and the singing of hymns, which were accompanied by the SA Army Band Western Cape (at the time, under the baton of Major Martin Chandler). This was followed by the playing of the Last Post by one of the trumpeters (I believe it was now-Captain Vernon Michels, who now leads the Band), as the SA National Flag and the MOTHs banners were lowered. This traditionally leads into the Two Minutes’ Silence, at the end of which the uplifting Reveille is trumpeted. And then it was time for the wreaths and floral tributes to be laid at the memorial.
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CTMT 2010: Media Launch

Welcome to the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010, organised by the Defence Reserves of the Western Cape

In barely two weeks’ time, the imposing stone walls of the venerable 330-year-old Castle of Good Hope in central Cape Town will be reverberating to the rhythmic thumping of drums, the wailing of bagpipes and the echoing boom of live gunfire, as the oldest military headquarters in the country hosts the sixth Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010.

One of the not-to-be-missed highlights of the Cape Town calendar, the Tattoo has proved so popular among locals and visitors that it has now become an annual event, from its humble beginnings in 2003. This year’s event is the 6th, as there were two gaps in-between. The sell-out success of the last years (2007, 2008 and 2009) has even persuaded organisers to extend the Tattoo by a day: This year, the nightly performances will take place from Wednesday 3 November to Saturday 6 November 2010.

The Castle is a fairly ‘small’ venue, in that they ‘only’ had something like 1200 seats the previous year(s) and there were only three performances. So this year they’ve added another night, and about 300 more seats to their stands, to accommodate more people. I hope they’re going to sell out this year too!

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Commemorating the Battle of Square Hill (2010)

On Sunday, 19 September 2010, a commemoration service and wreath laying ceremony took place at the Castle of Good Hope to honour the First Battalion of the Cape Corps, which had fought against the Turks during the Battle of Square Hill in Palestine on 19 September 1918.

This particular parade was memorable for me for several reasons: it was the first military parade I had ever attended; I remember how out of my depth I felt at the time, as I knew nothing of military parades, had never heard of the Cape Corps, and had no idea what the Battle of Square Hill was all about, where it took place, or why we were commemorating it here in South Africa. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware of the fact that, during World War I, the fighting was not confined to the trenches of France and Belgium in Western Europe – it extended to all the way into the Middle East! Clearly, I should have paid more attention in History lessons at school!

It has always bugged me in the back of my mind that I had never taken the time to read up about it and write an article. So I decided to do some online reading to fill in the gaps.

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CTMT 2010: Bookings Open!

I am delighted to report that bookings for the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010 at the historic Castle of Good Hope in central Cape Town have finally opened at Computicket.


The nightly performances will take place from Wednesday 3 November to Saturday 6 November 2010. The official performance starts at 20h00, but the gates to the Castle will open at 18h00. Seats are reserved, so you don’t need to worry about fighting for seats. And there will be refreshments on sale inside the Castle.

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