One day a buzz went round school that Septimus Smuts (Septimus! He was the seventh child, we were told), FS Inspector of Music was there to do auditions for new members for the famous – well, OK, plaaslik beroemd – Vrystaat Koor (or Kanaries). We were there! Me and Gabba Coetzee. Neither known for having the faintest interest in warbling before (my membership of the laerskool koor a distant memory). Nor any other form of culture come to think of it, other than rugby. Gabba was a famous – beroemde – rugby player, having been chosen for Oos Vrystaat Craven Week in Std 8, 9, 9 & 10. Strong as an ox.
People were amazed: “What are YOU ous doing here?” they asked as we waited and waited ages in the queue (not that the queue was that long, but Septimus was slow and took breaks). We just smiled. We’d already missed maths, biology and PT.
Septimus was a little dapper rockspider full of confidence. He gave Gabba exactly three seconds and sent him packing. Gave me a half a minute or so and said “Nice enough, but no range”. So back to class we went, crestfallen look on our dials, mournfully telling our mates and the teacher that we COULD NOT understand how we’d been rejected and there must have been some mistake.
The teacher raised his eyebrows but we stuck to our story: It had been a longtime deep desire of ours to sing, and this rejection cut us deep.