80 Minutes of Blissful Music

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The Perak Society of Performing Arts 2011 offering “Around the World in 80 Minutes” was a delightful night of blissful music. Who would have thought that the Kinta Valley Wind Orchestra, a community wind orchestra comprising of volunteers could present such a pleasing and lovely performance and that too into their second year.

Under the guidance of Eugene Pook, the Orchestra’s Music Director, the audience was taken on a journey starting from England, then Scotland, onwards to “Oom Pah Pah” Germany and finally ending in Dixieland USA. Along the way we reminisced on the waltzes of Johann Strauss complete with a waltzing couple and ballerinas.

After the intermission guest conductor Keith Terrett took over the baton. Terrett is multi-talented. At 56, he is an internationally acclaimed composer, arranger conductor and multi-instrumentalist and writes in all genres from full orchestra to wind band.

Terret first studied the cornet at the age of fifteen in an army school band hence is it any wonder that he was so relaxed when leading our KVWO.

The darling of the evening was violin soloist, 11 year old Verena Koay. When she serenaded us with Czardas and Jasmine Flower we could feel her love of the tune by viewing her facial expressions as she hit each note. She absolutely entranced the audience including the young violinists who waited to take a photo with her at the end of the show.

Koay is a student at SMJK (C) Union, George Town Penang. She has passed her Grade 8 in music, prefers the classical violin and practices 4 hours every day and has performed extensively throughout Malaysia and overseas.

The 80-minute musical journey was great. I even enjoyed Nakanisi san’s ‘Rhapsody on Japanese Folk Song’ on the Japanese drum and when I heard the familiar strains of ‘Burung Kakak Tua and Rasa Sayang’ performed by Kesavan Palusamy Chettiar on the Indian bamboo flute and Rishi Kumar on Tablas, I knew I was on home ground.

The show was great and everyone when asked agreed that the orchestra had improved tremendously since last year.

However, it was the players that gained the most. Mohammed Syafil from SMI who played the French horn “learnt a lot; it was good exposure where we mixed and communicated with professionals; it helped build ones confidence.”

Guest conductor Keith Terret said it all when he described the orchestra as “fabulous” explaining that an orchestra made up of “volunteers that could play as well as the KVWO had to be good”.

JAG