SA Tattoo 2018: A full day of rehearsals

The SA Tattoo is going to blow your socks off.

Seriously, if you haven’t yet bought your tickets, please head on over to Computicket! There are three performances:

  • Saturday 06 October 2018 at 4pm
  • Saturday 06 October 2018 at 7pm
  • Sunday 07 October 2018 at 3 pm

You really don’t want to miss this.

Promoting the SA Tattoo 2018

I attended an exciting day of rehearsals in the Sun Arena, Time Square, Menlyn Maine. The whole complex and venue are so brand new, that they don’t even show up on Google Maps and Google Streetview. Luckily, the Uber drivers knew where to drop me off, although picking me up was another story. Not having been here before, I was a tad disoriented, and the Pretoria Uber drivers, I discovered, are not as patient and laid-back as the Capetonian ones. Sigh.

p.s. Remember that you can click on any of the images in these galleries to access the slideshow.

The venue inside is SPECTACULAR!

As I arrived at the Sun Arena on Wednesday morning, friendly Sarah MacDonald welcomed me at the door and gave me my special access pass (Yay! Thank you, Rory, Simon and Charles!). We went through to the arena, where I met up with Charles Canning, Rory Bellingan, Simon Carter, Andy Dippenaar (the voice of the Tattoo) and Brian Wilson – the Tattoo drum major from Northern Ireland (! love the accent!).

The seating stands had already been set up a day or so earlier – there are more than 7,000 seats set up in a u-shape around the arena. A huge painted backdrop depicting a Castle hangs down at the far end, with an opening for the Castle gate, through which the different bands and dancers march onto the arena. The rigging crew, sound and lighting crew were dashing hither and thither, carrying cables, gaffer tape, spools of colourful marking tape, microphones, walkie-talkies, head torches… I always love that kind of hustle and bustle of preparations for what promises to be a fabulous event.

The venue

The first act I saw was the ‘action item’, involving ‘good’ soldiers confronting the ‘baddies’ with much colourful smoke and machine gun fire.

Then there was a bit of a lull, as a TV crew did brief interviews with each of the organisers. It was fun to watch them, so I snuck in a few shots too.

Next up were the massed military bands. I recognized some familiar faces from the SA Army Band Cape Town, and trotted over to greet Warrant Officer Andre van Schalkwyk – the man who usually wields the mace at parades. This time, though, he had handed over the mace to a young lady who was looking smart in her uniform. I think the massed military bands include members from the KZN Army Band, the Kroonstad Army Band and the Ceremonial National Guard. We even had some Zulu dancers!

After they had cleared the stage, I saw on the rehearsal schedule that there would be a bit of a break, so I took an Uber back to the hotel, to download photos and charge batteries. Hubby had come home from the conference too, so we headed off to buy some food at the Woollies Food Store across the road.

In the late afternoon, I returned to the venue for another session. I caught the drum majorettes rehearsing their very fast-paced routine, complete with high-flying batons and spinning flags. Next up were the Highland Dancers, followed by the Irish Dancers – both hard-shoe and soft-shoe. All of the dancers are absolutely incredible – so much energy!

The Johannesburg Youth Orchestra plays the accompanying music for a couple of the pieces – and there is a choir too.

Once the dancers had finished their rehearsals, the massed pipes and drums arrived. We could hear them warming up in the echoing passage outside… Wow… They ran through their routine, making sure everyone was aligning – dressing – correctly. There are a LOT of pipe bands participating this year – the ones I know of are the Cape Town Highlanders, the Cape Field Artillery, the Cape Garrison Artillery and the Transvaal Scottish. As they were all in civvies during the rehearsals, I couldn’t use their kilts to identify them.

And then it was time to run through the Finale, which involves all the participants. Each group needs to know exactly when and from where to march onto the arena, and how to line up in neat rows and columns. It’s like assembling a jigsaw puzzle with moving pieces.

This was also the first time I heard Corlea Botha sing – WOW. Hold onto your seats. What a voice!

Dear friends of the Tattoo – this is going to be an AMAZING show. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you really need to get off your butts and reserve them! You do not want to miss this.

Head on over to Computicket! There are three performances:

  • Saturday 06 October 2018 at 4pm
  • Saturday 06 October 2018 at 7pm
  • Sunday 07 October 2018 at 3 pm

Now go and reserve your seats at Computicket!

2 thoughts on “SA Tattoo 2018: A full day of rehearsals

  1. Hester Kuhn says:

    We had the priviledge to wat h the Tattoo on Friday evrning. My son was involved with the SANDF band for 24 years and the band and members have so much become part of my heart and soul. What a delightful evening. I loved it in the Sun Arena. The previous Tattoo I saw was at Monte Cassino. This is a smaller place but much more intimate. The acoustic was awesome. Well done to all and a special Thanks to Major Andrew Strugnell of the SANDF band for making this possible for me. You can indeed keep your chins up. Thank you once again. Hester Kuhn


    • Reggie says:

      Hello Hester – I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed the show. It really was spectacular! I intend to post more photos of the various shows and the different groups of performers in the coming weeks.


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