About Dawn Selby
Dawn has been playing music since the age of three and with her brother Ron, was one of the founder members of sixties band Third Eye at nine years of age. She studied classical piano under the renowned pianist Moira Birks and in her early twenties, embarked on a professional career playing countrywide with bands including Halloween, Leprechaun and Cedric Samson’s Boogie Band. She has backed cabaret artistes including Paul Andrews, Cy Sacks, Eddie Eckstein and Dianne Chandler. Whilst in Johannesburg she gained great experience working in the top recording studios with artistes including Malie Kelly, Cedric Samson, Mynie Grove, Bobby Louw, Joe Arthur and the Stockley sisters. The three Third Eye albums have recently been re-released in Germany and also are available locally.
On her return to Durban in the 80’s, she accepted two part-time teaching posts, one at St. Mary’s School in Kloof and the other at Kearsney College where she specializes in Modern Piano / Keyboard tuition and arranging vocal scores for the choirs. Dawn has recently completed the music section of the Creative Arts text books for school Grades 7, 8 and 9. She is also working on her own books which are dedicated to music tuition.
She has travelled to Germany, China and Austria with the Kearsney Choir who won overall performers prize at the Austrian Festival 2004 and were overall winners in the folklore section at the 2004 German World Choir Olympics, winning gold and silver medals. They also competed in the 2006 Olympics in China where they won a gold and two silver medals. They were voted number one worldwide in Folklore. The choir also competed in the 2008 Olympics in Graz, Austria where they won three gold medals and one silver medal. They have been ranked 14th in the overall world listings. Her vocal arrangements have been included in both St. Mary’s and Kearsney’s repertoire for this year’s Latvian World Choir Olympics in July 2014.
Dawn has performed and been Musical and Vocal Director for many theatrical stage productions including ‘Godspell’, ‘Good Vibrations’, ‘Pippin’, ‘Grease’, ‘Joseph’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘Annie’, ‘Annie Get Your Gun’, ‘Smike’, ‘Irma La Douce’, ‘Chess’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, ‘Hair’, ‘The Wiz’, ’ West Side Story’, ‘The Boyfriend’, ‘Elvis’, ‘Five Guys Named Moe’, ‘Concert Fever’ (with Joseph Clark), ‘The Legend of the Eagles’ and ‘Air Guitar’. She has also performed at the Barnyard Theatres in Durban and Cape Town, as Musical Director in the Duck Chowles productions of ‘Glory Days’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Sixties Revolution’, the voted most popular show at the Durban Barnyard, ‘G String’ , ‘Boogie Wonderland’, ‘Walking in Memphis’ and ‘Harvest Moon’. For the past eight years, Dawn has been Musical and Vocal Director and performed in many productions at Hillcrest’s Heritage Theatre, Catalina and the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. More recently she has performed at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Dawn has been nominated for Best Musical Director by the Durban Theatre Awards over the years.
Dawn has performed countrywide from Sun City to the Wild Coast, for many high profile functions and shows, playing a wide variety of music. She has been Musical and Vocal Director and performed for many International Conferences held in South Africa some of which have had up to a hundred performers, involving front line vocalists (Joseph Clarke, Vicki Samson, Shaluza Max, Dorothy Masuko and Busi Mhlongo), choirs, band with brass section and full orchestra. Some of these conferences have involved original music for composed and arranged by Dawn. On 20th March 2007, Dawn was the Musical Director for the official opening of the new ICC Arena where George Benson & Al Jurreau were also included in the line-up. In March 2013, Dawn was invited to co-ordinate, musically direct, arrange for the orchestra and perform for the Spar 50th year celebrations at the ICC in Cape Town. This production involved 27 performers, including 17 members of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and Joseph Clarke, Kerry Hiles and Barry Thomson as front-line performers. Dawn has also performed for fundraiser Charity Events including Night of a Hundred Stars (Cancer Association of SA) and benefit concerts for local artistes, including Kenny Henson.
‘BARRY THOMSON and THE REALS’
Dawn is Musical Director and band leader of the band consisting of top South African musicians: Barry Thomson (Guitar/Vocals), Mali Sewell (Drums/Vocals) and Jason Andrew (Bass/Vocals). During 2006 & 2007, the band completed ‘California Dreaming’, ‘Bookclub’ ,‘King & Queen’ and sell-out runs of ‘Taste of Thomson’, at the Heritage Theatre. They also performed in the show ‘Long Train Running’ with John Ellis (Tree63).
She has performed regularly with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, and they have used many of her orchestral and vocal arrangements of contemporary, traditional ethnic and Indian music. She has also done full orchestral arrangements of Heinz Winckler’s, Melanie Lowe, Jason Hartman and Blackbyrd’s original compositions. Dawn also arranged one Ken E. Henson’s original composition ‘Marakesh’ which both she & Kenny performed with the KZNPO at the Durban City Hall for the Durban Designer Collection in 2005. Her arrangements have also been used by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra for numerous concerts including the 2013 ‘US Arfiva Centre for Aids’ concert with soloist Lauren Laing at the Artscape Opera Hall, Cape Town. Her arrangements were used at the Rotary Philharmonic Rock at the Durban City Hall, the Starlight Pops 2006 to 2013 performances, Christmas Carol Services, Valentine’s and Mothers’ Days, Botanic Gardens. For Starlight Pops 2008, Dawn arranged Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero and Sultans of Swing for guitarist/vocalist Barry Thomson. Dawn and Barry have also performed numerous times with the KZNPO. In 2013, Dawn was commissioned to arrange most of the Indian repertoire for the ‘Vivekananda’ Peace Concert held in the City Hall, Durban. Dawn has also done live camera direction for Starlight Pops.
CANADA, USA and EUROPE
In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Dawn was invited to do orchestral arrangements for shows featuring the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Toronto, Canada. The repertoire consisted mainly of rock songs and the orchestra line-up includes a six piece band and four front line singers. She was also invited to perform with the orchestra in 2009. She has also arranged music for ‘Under the Streetlamp’ (ex Broadway Jersey Boys front-line performers) who have performed with the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. Dawn is currently working on an arrangement for an Italian orchestra.
Dawn does computer music programming, specialising in original corporate song and video documentary theme compositions, radio & TV jingle composition, scoring, general piano/keyboard, vocal arranging and performance sessions. She has also been involved in composing, playing and singing on soundtracks for local movies, including various Leon Schuster productions.