The First Lady of Song
Towards the end of 2003, Ralston teamed up with drummer Herschel Mair, bassist Graham Jacobs and vocalist, Zolani Mahola (lead vocalist in the band FreshlyGround), with Geoffrey Going as sound engineer. Together they produced the jazz cabaret "The First Lady of Song - A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald", having sold-out performances at venues that included On Broadway Theatre in Table View, Evita Se Peron in Darling and the showcase Vodacom Sounds Of Summer at the V&A Waterfront. The show received rave reviews from various press houses.
Hooked On Swing
In 2004 he teamed up with vocalist, promoter and producer Charl van Heyningen, vocalist Sarah Theron, Herschel Mair and Graham Jacobs again, where they did a once-off performance at the Woordfees in Stellenbosch.
Vocalist Beverly Rinkwest took over from Sarah, where the show continued receiving rave reviews for their performances at venues in South Africa such as On Broadway Theatre in Greenpoint and the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn.
"Then with the help of keyboardist extraordinaire Ralston van der Schyff, goes on to prove it with 'Song Sung Blue', melding into 'Sweet Caroline' - much to the delight of the audience who sang along lustily on opening night.... The aforementioned Van der Schyff is a highlight with the way he lovingly caresses those romantic notes out of the keys." - Bianca Coleman, Cape Argus Tonight - Aug 06, 2004
"Ralston van der Schyff se klavierspel in 'Swart Koffee' is onverbeterlik… (Ralston van der Schyff's playing in 'Black Coffee' couldn't have been played any better)" - Karen Breytenbach, Independent Newspapers - Apr 10, 2004
"Van der Schyff se vingers wat rats oor die klawers hop - dit is die hart van swing… (Van der Schyff's fingers that effortlessly hop over the keys - that is the heart of swing." - Marlize van Taak, Independent Newspapers - Aug 10, 2004
Later that year, Herschel left the show to take up residence in the US. He was replaced by drummer Keith Bauwer-Schmidt, and the show continued to make appearances at the Gariepfees in Kimberly, the Barnyard Theatre in Plettenberg Bay, Macufe Festival (DownStage Theatre) in Bloemfontein and the Windhoek Arts Festival (Warehouse Theatre) in neighboring country, Namibia.
In 2005, the show made another appearance at the Slaley Jazz Festival (Barnyard Theatre) in Franschoek, South Africa. Later that year, Ralston went on to tour China.
In February 2011, he returned to South Africa and the band got together again to perform the show at the West Coast Classical Music Festival in Darling.
Romanza & Per Amore
Ralston also worked as piano accompanist for vocalist, promoter and producer, Charl van Heyningen in the operatic productions "Romanza" & "Per Amora". They performed at some quaint venues in and around the city; these intimate concerts were his favourite.
Woman In The Moon
The beginning of 2005 Ralston was musical director and pianist for the cabaret production "Woman in the Moon", directed by Glenn Swart and starring Ilse Klink from South Africa's television series "Isidingo", for which the show received rave reviews. The venue was On Broadway Theatre in Greenpoint, and on drums was Roy Davids and bass Jan Hough. Bassist Eldred Schilder also made a one night appearance in the show. Sound engineer, Geoffrey Going made the production sound even greater!
"The trio of musicians, led by Ralston van der Schyff on piano, are a revelation together...They handle all the songs, not only with panache but with an unselfconscious flair that provides the backbone to the evening. Grandstanding entertainment." - Independent Newspapers - Feb 18, 2005
In July 2005, he performed as piano accompanist for UK cabaret artist, Christopher Green in the cabaret production "Tina C's Rhinestone Cowgirl" at On Broadway Theatre in Shortmarket Street, Cape Town. Let's just say this show was not for sensitive audiences, especially the religious. Sound engineer, Geoffrey Going was again on sound.
In 2004, he worked with vocalists Charl van Heyningen and Beverly Rinkwest, bassist Graham Jacobs again, guitarist James Kibby and drummer Roy Davids in the rock show "Drift Away" at the festivals Woordfees in Stellenbosch, and a year later in April 2005 at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn. Some strange things happened on this tour; first time ever the band couldn't see each other on stage, because the smoke-machine was out of control, the drum kick pedal broke and we couldn't get the stage technician's attention because he was playing games on his mobile!
Still in 2004, he teamed up with Graham Burton on vocals, bassist Rob Stemmett, guitarist Andy Murray and once again drummer Herschel Mair in the rock show "Get Back" performing at a few corporate events.