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Gershwin remembered in Chiang Mai

Payap University lays cornerstones for International House

Gershwin remembered in Chiang Mai

400 followers turned up

Cory Croymans-Plaghki

Payap University’s Music Department hosted a great Gershwin concert called “I Got Rhythm” on Friday July 23. This was the last of three concerts to honor the university’s 30th anniversary but it was the first time I have seen this room filled to overflowing with close to 400 Gershwin enthusiasts, a thrill for Bennett Lerner, who initiated the idea.

Pianist Bennett Lerner and Remi Namtep on keyboards. (Photo by Gerard Krebs)

Pianists Bennett Lerner, Bernard Summer and David Wilson, each have their own style and charm, but personally I thought clarinetist Dr. Chaipruck Mekara was given a much too short part to play in the opening piece, together with percussionist Phantawat Nawikand.

Experienced Remi Namtep played an interesting background on the electone for the ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, with Bennett Lerner on the piano.

Bernard Summer and Joan Eubank after a most successful evening. Hopefully Chiang Mai will receive more of their music! (Photo by Gerard Krebs)

It was also the first time that I have seen so many foreign guests in the audience which could be partially attributed to Joan Eubank’s vocal performance of ‘I Got Rhythm’ and ‘Summertime’. A seasoned trouper, she knows how to hold her public. To close the evening, conductor Ayu Namtep directed the Payap University Choir in some ‘Porgy and Bess’ numbers.

Many of the artists from the Gershwin evening will also play in the Lanna Symphony Orchestra. This 80 strong orchestra is diligently rehearsing for its first charity concert to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the New Life Foundation which takes care of the physically and mentally handicapped. This concert will be on September 18 at the Kad Suan Kaew theatre in Chiang Mai.

Payap University lays cornerstones for International House

Expanding numbers of international students require dormitories

Jiraphat Warasin

The laying of the ceremonial cornerstones for International House, a new dormitory at Payap University, took place on July 17.

Attending the laying of ceremonial cornerstones are US Ambassador to Thailand Darryl N. Johnson (right), Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Prinya Panthong (left), and other guests of honor.

The dedication ceremony was conducted by Rev Dr Esther Wakeman, vice-president for Religious Affairs and Community Relations, and Rev Dr Pradit. The laying of the ceremonial cornerstones was undertaken by the US Ambassador to Thailand, Darryl N Johnson, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai Prinya Panthong, and Dr Saisuree Chutikil.

Laying the ceremonial cornerstones are Ambassador Darryl N. Johnson, U.S Ambassador to Thailand (2nd right), and Prinya Panthong (right), deputy governor of Chiang Mai.

Dr Boonthong Poocharoen, president of Payap University, said because of the increasing number of international students studying there, accommodation had become a problem.

“Payap University did not have a dormitory for our students who have to stay in private dormitories. In order to provide a suitable, safe, and convenient living space for these students, Payap University decided to build International House,” said Dr Boonthong.

The university submitted a grant proposal to American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA), a division of USAID, and received USD 800,000 (32 million baht) in assistance, covering almost 40 percent of the total construction cost.

Payap University has received assistance from many organizations and individuals from many different countries. This assistance includes the 34 international faculty members, out of a total of 68, who are volunteering their services to the university, faculty and student development schools, and grants from ASHA.

Since 1978, ASHA has given 11 grants worth 300 million baht to improve and update university facilities.

Even before the Thai government policy to make Chiang Mai a center of international education was instituted, Payap University was already developing a strong international base through faculty and student exchange programs.