🎵 On Wednesday 8th March 2023, ten very excited music students gathered in the music department to make their way to one of the first FOBISIA music events to be held since restrictions lifted from the Pandemic. And what a fantastic time they had!
We made our way to Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School to meet with over 200 students from 9 other schools, all travelling from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Jakarta, Jeju, and Bangkok, to begin an intensive two days of singing through warm ups, learning, memorizing, preparing, and rehearsing for the final concert on Saturday 11th March.
In addition to our KLASS students performing their own school piece (Ad Astra), prepared in their Choir ECA, they were also required to perform two joint Secondary Choral pieces, and two Combined Choral pieces, all under the expert instruction of the fantastic Malaysian choral director, Susanna Saw.
Susanna is a very important choral director, and active music educator, throughout Malaysia and South East Asia, and she made the whole experience a thoroughly enjoyable one for all of the students involved. As well as establishing the Young Choral Academy in Malaysia in 2007, she was an instrumental figure in bringing the Kodaly Teachers’ Training Course to Malaysia. Susanna was such an engaging and fun choral director for the students to work with throughout the festival and really breathed life into all of the performances.
On the final day of the festival, the huge 500 seat auditorium was packed full of students, teachers and families to hear the result of two days of hard work, and they were incredible! Here’s what one of our students, Olivia (Year 12) had to say about the experience.
“The FOBISIA choral festival was an amazing experience. We spent our first two days there socialising with other schools from all over Asia and spending our time learning four new songs which we would perform in the concert on Saturday afternoon. Personally, I quite liked the way that they had chosen a wide selection of songs representing different cultures and styles of choral music. My favourite piece was ‘Eya Eya!’ I found it the most joyful and energetic of the pieces and particularly enjoyed how we could have over 200 voices on stage in different sections and still manage to have every part heard and each moment individually impactful from the rest. However, aside from the singing it was also an amazing opportunity to get to know other people with the same interests as myself better, and by spending a few days together it was incredible to see the family we built between us with a proper sense of the Alice Smith community. Overall my favourite moment on this trip was definitely the singing that we did off the stage, sat around in the canteen or on the buses when we would spontaneously burst into song and everyone would join in no matter the school or age which for me really shows my favourite quality of music - it brings everyone together.”
It was an absolute honour to accompany such an enthusiastic, talented, thoughtful, and friendly group of student musicians to this Choral Festival and we can’t wait for the next one!
Author: Nick McGauley, Secondary Music Teacher