The British International School, HCMC had the prestigious honour of hosting the annual Music Fobissea Festival, November 8th -13th 2012. 15 participating schools from SE Asia were involved with 290 students and staff in total.
Over the four days it was going to be long and busy days, jam packed with rehearsals, workshops and activities. During the festival students are assigned to one major ensemble, either Festival Choir or Festival Orchestra and then filter into smaller minor ensembles such as; Flute Choir, Clarinet Choir, Junior Girls’ Choir, Senior Girls’ Choir, Male Vocal Group, Senior or Junior Strings, Jazz Band and Percussion Ensemble. Students also participate in a variety of different workshops. Some of the workshops students were involved in, were African Drumming, iPad Orchestra, Folk Music, Country Dancing and New Orleans Band.
Every evening student’s either participated or observed an informal concert. The first evening the school groups gathered together, for the participating schools concert. Each school performs a piece of some variety and the concert had a fantastic atmosphere, with students relaxed and supportive of everyone’s performances. Performances varied from human drum kits and solo classical pianists, to combined choir and band performances from some of the larger schools. On the Saturday evening we invited a Vietnamese traditional ensemble to come and perform to the students and on our final evening the students and staff enjoyed a Rock Band night.
The Gala Concert was a huge success, with 20 high quality pieces performed from 4 days of rehearsals. The repertoire was varied and exciting with performances of Mozarts ‘Lacrimosa’, Eric Whitacre’s ‘Seal Lullaby’, Respighi’s ‘Pines of Rome’ and ‘Thriller/Heads Will Roll’. The concert was a testament to all of the student’s hard work; it was a truly wonderful musical experience, which all the students and staff were excited to be part of.
Sarah James: Festival Director
Today I’d like to talk about music having been totally entranced by the performance of all the musicians and singers from around the whole Asia region who came to join us at BSB for the Federation of British International Schools, South East Asia Music gala.
It was five days of incredibly hard work leading up to a Gala concert that was one of the most remarkable student events I have ever attended.The performance of “Jerusalem” was incredibly powerful; the Glee type arrangements of Queens “Somebody to love” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” had everybody’s foot tapping.
I think I can summarise as so…at the end of the show, as the final note faded, the whole audience rose to give a standing ovation. To say that the students excelled themselves is an understatement in this case. They worked incredibly hard and showed real talent. Of course the other side of the equation is the tremendous amount of work put into the organisation of such a huge event.
Our teachers and our administration team did a deeply impressive job. I was hugely proud to have so many teachers from other schools in the region come to me and tell me how impressed they had been with the seamless running and management of the event. As a Principal this has been one of the moments that I will treasure for a very long time.
Well done to all!
The British School of Beijing
The 2011 FOBISSEA Choral Festival, held at Bangkok Patana School, brought together dedicated choristers from around Thailand and China. The challenge was to shape these diverse voices into a single, harmonious body in only three short days.
For three days, from the 10th through to the 12th of March, 160 students from Shrewsbury International School, Garden International School Rayong, The Regents’ School Pattaya, St Andrew’s International School Bangkok, Harrow International School Beijing, St Stephen’s International School, St Andrew’s International School Green Valley Rayong, The Regent’s School Bangkok and Bangkok Patana School gathered to celebrate one of the great things we all have in common: our voice. We learned, practised and performed over fifteen songs in the new Arts Centre.
Being in the choir is a fantastic experience for everyone for a multitude of reasons; for example it encourages people to sing in a variety of new genres that they would not normally look at. These new styles of songs are catchy and fun to sing and they can often be more fun to sing than if you had just picked a song from the Top 50 charts. There is also the amazing group of people with whom you get to work. Throughout the festival we all gained new friends and connected with old ones from the other participating schools, sharing with each other the same thing – a love of creating music through our voices.
Walking into the theatre on Thursday we all felt a bit insecure, but through the guidance and helpfulness of the various staff we all managed to come together and produce an excellent concert by the end of the three days. This was in no small part due to the degree of commitment each of the choirs brought with them and the willingness of every single student there to try something different, something a little out of our comfort zones. That commitment was easy to find when singing with a group of people whose company you enjoy and who spur you on to new heights and to take new risks.
Hearing 160 voices singing their hearts out on stage can be an amazing experience. But being part of that 160 is even more amazing and has benefited each and every one of us in the choir in different ways. It couldn’t have happened without the guidance and support and countless hours put in by all the staff involved and all of the choirs are immensely grateful for it. I hope that the next FOBISSEA concert is just as fun. Next year can’t come soon enough.
Eli White, Bangkok Patana School student