Seawinds performer Thurston Hendricks was brimming with pride as he won the first prize trophy in the Adult Coon Song category, at the Athlone Stadium, for the V&A Minstrels, on Saturday February 17.
Thurston, 31, has now brought home the trophy three years in a row and this year he added a second prize trophy to his achievements for singing the same song, New York New York, at the Tygerberg Stadium for the Lavender Hill Superstars, on Saturday February 10.
The community of Lavender Hill have been following Thurston’s singing career since he was just eight years old. “The community support means a lot to me. I overheard someone saying before I went on stage that ‘we have to listen to the Coon Song King because I’m sure he’s going to win’.”
Thurston said the community appreciates his talent therefore he wants to give back to them. “I believe there are talented children in our community but they are not recognised.”
He said as an alternative to gangsterism, he would like to offer the children free singing lessons.
He is now looking for support to make this plan a reality.
“I have a venue in mind, the Lavender Hill community hall, but
still need feedback from the City of Cape Town,” said Thurston.
“I was discovered by someone at Westgate mall, when I was eight years old. That person, I forget his name, told me I have talent. Since then I have been singing and while growing up I started singing at clubs and school functions. Two years ago I sang at Steenberg High.”
However, Thurston said his biggest supporter was Ronnie Cloete.
“(He) handed me the mic at Stormers pub, in Retreat, where I often sing karaoke.”
He said he was grateful to Mr Cloete for giving him the opportunity to “practice” his singing.
Thurston’s singing talent runs in the family.
“They are not professional singers but they sing all the time. My parents Jennifer and Harold are big supporters but the one who gives me 100% support in my career is my girlfriend Ashleigh de Jongh.”
Thurston said he will be singing for the rest of his life, but before he leaves this earth, he wants to fulfil one dream. “I have great admiration for Ellen Degeneres, show host of the
Ellen Degeneres Show. I love what she is doing for the community.”
And in honour of her work, Thurston said he would like to write a song for Ms Degeneres.” I would like to sing it for her on her show one day.”
If anyone is interested in free singing lessons, call Thurston on 078 952 2781.