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Unique discovery reveals that oak trees are living musical wind instruments

Uplifting Musical Oak tree campaign celebrates oak trees in the “City of Oaks”

The regal oak trees in Stellenbosch have many uses. Oak wood makes wine storage barrels and wooden furniture, resident squirrels and other animals eat their acorns and oak trees have inspired enduring love poems, songs and legends.

But now, Stellenbosch resident, acclaimed educator and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Copley has discovered a unique new use for these majestic oak trees ─ as the world’s largest living musical wind instrument.  To celebrate his heartwarming discovery, he plans to present a Musical Oak Tree campaign during February and March in the “City of Oaks.”

The campaign, to be held in Stellenbosch and surrounding wine farms, will feature a series of free public demonstrations and interactive workshops ─ where Copley will show how the oak tree’s acorn cap or cupule can be used as a wind instrument to create music.
The first event will take place at Rustenburg wine estate from 12pm to 1pm on Saturday 18 February. Details of upcoming campaign events available at

The campaign has already delighted 800 eager learners at Idas Valley Primary School, who were introduced to oak tree music on Monday, 13 February. Commenting on the event afterwards, Grade 4 teacher Mrs. Colleen Adonis enthused the children were “very excited, especially since the acorn is part of our school’s emblem,” adding she was sure they’d “look at oak trees and acorns in a very different way.”

Lifelong tree devotee Copley explains with the right technique, making any sound into an acorn cupule ─ like singing, humming, whispering or whistling ─ will amplify it two to three times. “If you’re able to whistle or sing even moderately well, playing the cupule musically will be much easier.”

The only online references to the oak tree as a musical instrument, he comments, is a single, loud whistling note called the ‘cupule whistle.’ “While this can be melodic, it ideally needs a variable rhythm and additional notes to create a more musical sound”.

Copley hopes the campaign will “help people find fun, enriching and joy-filled new ways to connect with nature and particularly oak trees, which are ranked among the world’s top ten most sacred trees.”

By highlighting Stellenbosch’s proud historical oak tree legacy, the Musical Oak tree campaign is expected to attract nature and tree lovers, families with children, aspiring tree whisperers and outdoor enthusiasts living in, or visiting Stellenbosch seeking an unusual and inspiring musical experience of discovery.