Countdown #2: Suzy the Sousaphone

Suzy the Sousaphone speaks to us about her concerts with the National Youth Orchestra in December

Suzy is a Sousaphone. Her ancestors come from America, but she was born in Japan in 1989 in the Yamaha factory, and came to live with her musician Alex Hitzeroth, in Johannesburg in 2015. Sousaphones are seen as funny instruments, but really they’re quite sensitive and don’t take well to being teased. Suzy is an integral member of Bombshelter Beast, a band that performs a wide variety of music (she’s responsible for keeping the bassline pumping). She used to play in the army band, but she’s left them now in favour of a life made for dancing. She loves dancing.

Alex Hitzeroth with his sousaphone, Suzy performing at The Orbit with Bombshelter Beast.

Alex Hitzeroth with his sousaphone, Suzy performing at The Orbit with Bombshelter Beast. Photo: Dino Codevilla

Performing with an ORCHESTRA!

“I’m really quite delighted. My musician plays in the orchestra quite a lot, but he takes the Trombone on those outings. I’ve never had the opportunity of playing with an ORCHESTRA (even though, technically, I’m a tuba, they say I’m the wrong shape and that I’m designed for marching only. Pah! I don’t believe anyone should be judged on their body shape).
My musician, Alex, used to play in the National Youth Orchestra, so he’s told me all about it. He’s a member of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra now, and plays for all sorts of concerts – but when he takes me with him, it’s for Bombshelter Beast. It’s not your average “band” – we’re a family. We’ve been to the MTN Bushfire Festival in Swaziland, and to Oppikoppi – and we’re getting on a flight to Stellenbosch today (I’m a bit nervous – I hope they won’t put me in the hold on my own!) – and on Saturday we’re playing in Pretoria at Park Acoustics.

The best part of my day is when I can entertain the crowd – everyone loves me. I hope you’ll come and see our performances in December! I’m most looking forward to our show at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden because my comedy friends Goliath and Goliath will be there, and that’s special.”
The National Youth Orchestra,​ the green and gold team of our most talented young musicians, is embarking on an adventure in cutting-edge South African performance in a new collaboration with Bombshelter Beast, a genre-busting music collective of some of South Africa’s most colourful and innovative musicians.

National Youth Orchestra concerts are made possible by the National Lotteries Commission, the Department of Arts and Culture, the SABC Foundation, the The Academy of Sound Engineering, the SAMRO Foundation and SAfm Radio. For more information on the performances in Johannesburg in December, please click here.