‘Maestro’Ashley-Botha dies after long illness

2014-12-08 00:00

FORMER Drakensberg Boys’ Choir master Christian “Bunny” Ashley-Botha died in his home on Saturday after long-standing issues with his health.

He was 73.

Born in 1947 in Mossel Bay, Ashley-Botha stood at the helm of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir for 27 years, leading his students on many international tours and putting South African choral music on the global map.

Ashley-Botha is survived by his wife Betty, and their three children.

His son, Mauritz, spoke to The Witness on behalf of the family.

“He dedicated his life to his pupils. He was a great father to me and my two sisters. We are very sad over his death,” he said.

Ashley-Botha was introduced to music at an early age and after completing his schooling, he left South Africa to study at the Royal School of Church Music in London.

He soon became an associate of the Royal College of Music.

In 1980, Ashley-Botha was appointed as director of music at the DBCS. Since then, he was at the forefront of South African choral music, getting his students to perform for the likes of the pope in Rome and in festivals and competitions in countries like Spain, Poland, Japan and Canada.

He was known to his students as the “Maestro” and in the words of his son, “he will surely be missed”.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

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