LAST weekend a benefit concert was held in a bid to save the sight of South African acoustic guitarist, Steve Newman.
The event to honour the popular musician was held at Buffs Club and raised more than R27000 for Newman’s eye operation.
Newman suffers from glaucoma and is currently completely blind in his right eye, with his left deteriorating quickly. At 75% blind, Newman needs to undergo a cataract operation in his left eye.
Newman played alongside local bands Seratonin, Freight Train and Solbeit Union, as well as musicians John Lawrie, Steve Culbert and Kev Taz Fish. “Musos gave of their time and talent for free. A really big thank you goes to them,” organiser, Ed Johnson said.
Despite Newman’s poor eyesight, it did not hinder the master guitarist and the night proved to be an impressive showcase of some of his musical ability.
“He has lost none of his guitaring skills. He quietened the crowd with his fabulous rhythm and I was reminded why he is rated as one of South Africa’s top guitarists,” Johnson said.
A total of R21 000 was raised through ticket sales and paintings by Charlie Felmore and Dave Edwards were also auctioned off with the proceedings being donated to the cause.
The show was hosted and organised by String and Whistle, a community- based organisation started by Johnson and run with team member, Les Venter.
String and Whistle is dedicated to raising funds for worthy causes through music events.
Formerly known as “Music in the Garden”, the organisation has, to date, held fundraising music shows in support of anti-rhino poaching, the East London SPCA, Pet Pals and most recently, Steve Newman.
“About 28 years ago I started the String and Whistle Music club, hence the name of the organisation. About two years ago the SPCA was in desperate need of funds so we held our first fundraiser,” Johnson said.
“We changed the fundraisers to indoor events as the weather often created problems and people wouldn’t pitch. The response from musicians has always been such that we had to turn some of them away! They all play without any compensation.”
Newman’s eye operation is scheduled for next month whereby the cataracts in his left eye will be removed.