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UMBA ACKNOWLEDGES SAXOPHONISTS (article first published : 2008-04-28)

When tribute was paid to four illustrious saxophonists at a dance function in Durban last week, the public recognition for their contribution to the local entertainment scene was more than enough to make them feel appreciated. No wonder then that Jonathan Harris, Samuel Abraham, Edgar Royeppen and Ben Maharaj were pleasantly surprised when the United Musicians Benefit Association presented them with cheques of R5,000 each, the proceeds of the sale of tickets for the Old Timers Jol held at Durban’s DLI Hall.

Dee Sharma, leader of the dance band Dukes, which together with sister band Crescendos performed at the well-attended event said a profit of R20,000 was realised from the function.

“We decided that, instead of keeping the money for the Association, the sax maestros should enjoy some spare money,” says Dee Sharma. “The cash donation to the four sax legends can never fully show how much they are admired and respected by all music-loving people for their contribution over many decades. Even if they are not actively playing as they did many years ago, we cannot forget that it is because of the solid foundation laid by these stalwarts that the dance music scene is still flourishing today.”

Samuel Abraham (75), who has played the sax for 55 years and has recorded five CDs, said he was grateful to the United Musicians Benefit Association because he least imagined he would get the opportunity to share the stage with his three contemporary saxophonists, Jonathan, Ben and Edgar.

“At a time when many musicians are quickly forgotten because age and physical disabilities prevent them from appearing in public, it’s heart-warming that the United Musicians Benefit Association has decided to treasure their contribution,” Samuel Abraham said.




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