Opening of the Chris Seabrooke Music Centre

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On Friday 21 October 2016, Durban High School officially opened the new expansion to the School: the Chris Seabrooke Music Centre, which boasts soundproof practice rooms, a project-recording studio and an auditorium that houses a Yamaha baby grand piano. This facility will be a platform for many young musicians to nurture their talent.
Funded by the DHS Foundation Trust, which was established to generate financial support for DHS through partnerships with the schools community comprising of Old Boys, Parents, Staff and Learners This new Music Centre is a result of the dedicated support of the boys and the ethos of the school by DHS Old Boy Chris Seabrooke, Chairman of the DHS Foundation Trust.
In 2007, Mr Seabrooke, funded the building of Seabrooke Theatre which is situated on the grounds of DHS and has been a popular venue for many theatrical productions, both produced by external production companies as well as internally, by DHS learners.
Once again, through his generosity, Mr Seabrooke has self-funded this brand new state of the art Music Centre, an action from the vision presented by Head Master Leon Erasmus, and under the supervision of both Mike Fennell (CEO of the DHS Foundation Trust) and Natalie Rungan (Director of the Music Centre).
Chris Seabrooke was the Academic DUX of DHS in 1970, and has produced excellence in the field of business, having directed numerous companies as well as earning his place on the boards of twenty-five JSE listed companies over the years. Mr Seabrooke has always been engaged with the arts, and music in particular. He co-produced over 20 stage musicals (mostly with Joan Brickhill and Louis Burke), including Meet Me in St Louis on Broadway for which he received a Tony Award Nomination. He was also Chairman of the State Theatre of South Africa, Deputy Chairman of the inaugural Board of the National Arts Council and Deputy Chairman of the founding Board of Business & Arts South Africa.
Appointed as the Director of the Chris Seabrooke Music Centre is Natalie Rungan, a well known KwaZulu-Natal singer and songwriter who boasts a Master’s degree in music, and had four albums under her belt.
The special launch of this new Music Centre included the cutting of the ribbon at the entrance by Mr Chris Seabrooke, a special song performed by Old Boy Chico Muya, the DHS Deo Fretus Choir as well as a special song called “The Legacy Song”, written and performed for Chris Seabrooke, by Natalie herself. In quoting a part of the lyrics, Natalie expressed her heartfelt thanks, “You will always be remembered for this amazing legacy … It takes a special kind of someone to pave a path this way.” She then presented Mr Seabrooke with the scored music for the song in which she had written – a sentimental gift to further acknowledge his generous contribution.
The Chris Seabrooke Music Centre is a tremendous addition to DHS in this our 150th year and will provide enormous benefit for all learners involved in music; a place where they can hone their skills, express their passion and showcase their talent. The programme for the music centre will be announced in 2017, as well as how members of the public are able to make use of the facility.
In his speech, Head Master Leon Erasmus said, “This must be the highlight of my stay at DHS. On behalf of the boys I would like to thank you. You have an extremely big heart and we want your name to live on forever.”
For more information on the Music Centre, contact Natalie Rungan at Durban High School on 031 277 1500 or natalie.rungan@durbanhighschool.co.za

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