Prem’s first International Baccalaureates
Prem Tinsulanonda International School Graduation 2004
Photos Michael Vogt
Creativity, Action, and Service, were the important
requirements for the first class of the Prem Tinsulanonda International
School to receive the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. 16 students,
representing 14 nationalities graduated on Friday, May 28, 2004.
Prem Tinsulanonda pointed out that the young are the future and the hope of
the new world.
The Prem Center auditorium was filled with teachers,
friends, students and parents who wanted to watch this historical milestone
in the school’s history. Top student and Academic Award winner, Stephanie
Hannah, welcomed the guests saying that everybody had waited for this day to
come and the guests now had the opportunity to watch a group of most relaxed
and relieved students.
Malih receiving his diploma from H.E. Prem Tinsulanonda while M.L.
Tridhosyuth Devakul approves.
Student presidents, Naomi Hossain (Citizenship Award
Winner) and Joseph Malih (Arts and Sports Award Winner) reflected on the
hard task the class of 2004 has had from the beginning. As the first ever
graduating class, they have always had to act as role models for the whole
school and none had ever thought that getting an IB Diploma would be the
hardest work they had ever done.
student Stephanie Hannah received the Academic Award from M.L. Tridhosyuth
Teacher Stephen Keegan, who delivered the tribute to the
students, revealed anecdotes showing he really had become not only their
teacher but also their friend. He explained to the audience that an IB
Diploma not only stresses academic excellence but the development of the
whole person. He said, “CAS activities involve a minimal of 170 hours
involvement over 2 years (50 hours in each of Creativity and Action, 70
hours of Service) and the class of 2004 have played in virtually every Prem
sports team in addition to advancing their skills in extracurricular
pursuits like Muay Thai (kick boxing), Taekwando, aerobics and mountain
biking. They have created wonderful activities for coaching younger students
at Prem and in local schools. They have excelled in various dancing and
musical exploits as well as artistic endeavors. But the greatest
achievements was their work in community service, teaching the
underprivileged, working in orphanages, helping to construct wheelchairs and
countless other tasks.” The passion and admiration from Stephen Keegan and
also from Lister Hannah, the President of Prem Center was visible in their
Lister Hannah congratulated the Class of 2004, “We’re proud of you. Well
Musical interludes were provided by the Grade 12 students
themselves, the ‘A Capella Choir’ as well as the huge combined school
choir who sang an Irish blessing at the end.
The guest of honor’s address showed his personal pride in the students,
who not only met the expectations of their teachers but also set a mark for
future generations of students in the school which carries his name. H.E.
Prem Tinsulanonda, the president of the Privy Council, and known as ‘Pa
Prem’ all over Thailand gave a heartwarming speech. He reflected on the
last three years where this school has grown from 70 students to over 300,
coming from 37 countries and their outstanding characteristics in the
international education. He closed with the words, “Remember that there is
more than one way to look at an issue and there is always more than one way
to work with a problem and solve it. I want you to go out, discover the
world and always remember that you are people of the future and the hope of
left) Nati Laowattana, Hseng Tai Lintner, H.E. Prem Tinsulanonda, M.L.
Tridhosyuth Devakul, chairman, board of governors, James Alexander Mackie,
Joseph Malih, Charles Jamyang Oliphant of Rossie.
Class of 2004: (from left) Buhasshini Shivaa Punedran, Stephanie Hannah,
Seetala Allison Bell, Naomi Hossain, Phyo Thura Hlaing, Linda Lilly
Salvesen, Tanya Witbooi, Saba El Kabir, Erez Gavish, Julian Stannard, Nati
Laowattana, Charles Jamyang Oliphant of Rossie, Hseng Tai Lintner, Ampawan
Rojanavee, James Alexander Mackie and Joseph Asaf Malih.
Roaring thunder combined
with roaring applause
The Spizzwinks(?) a cappella performed at the US Consulate General
402 eyes had a very worried look at the canopy of heaven
the other night, were they to expect yet another musical treat at the Sala
nearby the private residence of the US consul general, Eric Rubin. The
Spizzwinks(?), America’s second oldest collegiate a cappella singing group
from Yale University, was scheduled to perform as part of their 90 years
anniversary world tour. Having enjoyed previous performances of the renowned
Whiffenpoofs, the audience was looking forward to experience a more
light-hearted, yet equally professional approach to classic, jazz, and
contemporary musical pieces.
Spizzwinks(?) in action at the US Consulate General sala.
After a short and bilingual address and introduction by
Eric Rubin, the Spizzwinks(?) paraded into the sala, starting with the Yale
traditional “Wake, Freshmen, Wake”, which from the beginning made it
very clear that one was listening to a group of selected young men who
without doubt knew what they were doing. The repertoire of the evening
contained complex arrangements, such as songs by music legends George
Gershwin, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, and Henry Mancini. Added to them,
they mixed in arrangements of songs by Billy Joel, Jeff Buckley, Marvin
Gaye, and Isaac Hayes. My personal two favorites that night were the almost
classic song by Barry Manilow, “Copacabana”, underlining the tongue in
cheek approach of the group, and the 1976 Queen number “Somebody To
Love”, perfectly rendered and interpreted.
the lead sings his heart out, the group pretended to be playing musical
instruments, using their colleagues as such!
By that time, the light breeze had changed to a light
storm, and it was not only the national flags that were almost blown away,
but the microphones as well.
The thrilled audience found out that no Spizzwinks(?)
performance would be complete without a generous dose of their unique brand
of humor. For almost a century, the original and innovative skits have left
listeners rolling with laughter. The Spizzwinks(?) have devised the recipe
for a superlative performance: a perfect blend of humor, musicality, and
showmanship. Summarizing the Chiang Mai night, the Spizzwinks(?) proved love
of fine singing, fun, and fellowship, entertaining the audience with perfect
harmony, infectious enthusiasm, and wit. Of course, two open questions
remain - what is a “Spizzwink”, and why the question mark?
Rubin presented the Spizzwinks(?) with a bouquet of flowers after a very
successful and entertaining performance.
The answer is simple - one night, late in 1913, four young men met at
Mory’s Temple Bar, Yale’s historic tavern, to enjoy the spirits and pick
a name for their new singing group. After thinking and drinking, one of them
glimpsed the ghost of Frank Johnson - the postmaster of his small Iowa
hometown who had attributed the Corn Blight of 1906 to a mythical insect
called the Spizzwink. “That’s it!” he shouted. “We’ll call the
group The Spizzwinks.” That year, the editor of the Yale Banner was unsure
of the spelling of the fledgling group and added a question mark in
brackets. The group liked the look of “The Spizzwinks(?)” and have kept
question mark (in brackets) to this day. However, there is no question mark
behind the group’s performance here in Chiang Mai, and we thank Eric Rubin
and his tireless colleagues for his never ending efforts to bring American
culture closer to Chiang Mai and its multi-cultural community.
Chamber Music Concert
at the Four Seasons
Photos Michael Vogt
M.L. Usni Pramoj again agreed to enchant Chiang Mai with
chamber music, this now being the fifth occasion. The interest and response
this year was even larger than in the past and Chiang Mai showed up in full
left) Siripong Tiptan, the youngest member of the quartet, teaches at the
MIFA International School of Music; Tasana Nagavajara, the leader who
teaches at the Music Faculty of Silpakorn University is concertmaster of the
Bangkok Symphony Orchestra; Kittikhun Sodprasert, the cellist is a founding
member of the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra; M.L. Usni Pramoj, privy councilor
and national artist.
This year the entrance ‘donation’ was set at a
minimum of 500 baht and went directly to the Foundation to encourage the
potential of disabled persons. Another difference to former years was the
distribution of slippers before entering the beautiful flower decorated
‘Intanin’ Room where cocktails and sundowners were served before the one
hour concert started.
manager of the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, Patrick Ghielmetti talks with Bill
General manager of the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, Patrick
Ghielmetti, reminded the audience during his opening speech of the late
Michael Kemp, the resort’s former general manager, who had been
instrumental in arranging the previous concerts.
The sum of talent in that string quartet was quite
extraordinary. Their most senior member is M.L. Usni Pramoj, a privy
councilor, national artist, businessman, an experienced scuba diver, a
family man with five children, who plays violin, viola and jazz trumpet, the
latter with His Majesty the King. He even conducts and composes, and his
young colleagues affectionately call him ‘Ajarn Mom’.
and house shoes might ruin the look of an evening gown, but at least they
save toes from getting blisters!
The quartet’s performance started with Mozart’s
string quartet in C major, followed by Yuan Yah Leh, an old Thai Folk dance,
arranged by M.L. Usni Pramoj. This simple melody reflected the gentle and
fun loving nature of Thai people and was well received by the audience.
The program ended with Borodin’s string quartet, No. 2 in D major,
which had the audience appealing for an encore. The evening ended with an
exquisite buffet at the premises of the Four Seasons Cooking School and the
promise from M.L. Usni Pramoj and his musicians to continue this tradition