Most churches provide activities for the children and youth members of their congregations, and for the New Apostolic Church (NAC), music is a passion that is shared to not only develop talent, but also teach life skills such as discipline and punctuality.
Roberto de Jager from Aberdeen was appointed as Area Music leader in June this year, and is responsible for the church’s music activities over a vast area of the Eastern Cape, even including some parts of the southern Free State.
De Jager is an extremely talented and versatile musician, largely self-taught, who is proficient on a variety of instruments including the organ, piano, euphonium, trombone, baritone horn, clarinet, violin, cello and recorder.
He was a late starter musically, singing in the church choir as a boy, but only starting his first instrument, the organ, in 1994. He attended classes in PE, East London and George, and after five years was playing at an advanced level. His approach to other instruments has been to buy an instrument, learn how to play it, and then teach a promising youngster to play. More often than not, if the youngster shows talent and determination, he then gives them the instrument.
De Jager’s wife Esteline is also a talented musician, and is responsible for the recorder training in the area. She also plays the flute and violin, as well as having the most beautiful soprano voice, having received training as a soloist in PE.
The Aberdeen congregation of the NAC currently has 15 orchestra members, and de Jager hopes to double that number next year. This year, the church has focussed on the recorder as an instrument for beginners, and over 30 youngsters from Aberdeen have completed the beginners’ course, also learning to read music. The culmination of this was a recorder jamboree last month, with players from Rietbron and Willowmore joining the Aberdeen congregations.