Unforgettable afternoon of unforgettable jazz wows Chiang Mai
“We want more!”
The awaiting audience of jazz enthusiasts was greeted in
northern Thai kammuang dialect with “Sawasdee krap, sabaai dee kor
krap?” when the Chicago Jazz Quartet introduced themselves to the audience
of over 200 in the Channel 11 TV studio, and to viewers watching the live
broadcast on Saturday afternoon, August 21.
Ambassadors 2004 (Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)
The jazz ambassadors consisted of Chicago residents,
vocalist and trumpeter Matt Lewis, pianist Benjamin Lewis, bassist Lorin
Cohen, and drummer Michael Raynor. The US Embassy organized the gig, since
each year the US Department of State and the John F Kennedy Center for
Performing Arts collaborate to select musicians from across the US to
represent America abroad as their jazz ambassadors.
Jardine (3rd right), Administrative Officer of the US consulate and Kanitha
Srirat (2nd right), the director of TV Channel 11 among the audience. (Photo
by Nopniwat Krailerg)
Kanitha Srirat, the director of TV Channel 11 Chiang Mai,
gave an opening address, followed by a welcome from the American consul in
Chiang Mai, Henry Jardine.
The Chicago Jazz Quartet performs across the globe and
highlights the indigenous American art form of vocal jazz. During their
short speeches between songs, they wished long life to Her Majesty the Queen
of Thailand on the occasion of her 6th cycle and birthday celebration on
The quartet has performed with major artists, including
Bob Mintzer, Vinnie Calieuta, Byron Stripling, Marlena Shaw and Nancy
Wilson, and began this concert with the famous Stevie Wonder song, ‘You
Are the Sunshine of My Life’, followed by a selection including ‘Autumn
Leaves’ (J. Kosma/J. Mercer), ‘Cloudburst’ (Jimi Hendrix), and ‘I
Didn’t Know What Time it Was’ by Rodgers and Hart.
The show went on with each of the jazz ambassadors giving
their best, acting, playing, singing and including the audience in their
show with renditions of numbers from the greats such as Ray Charles, Cole
Porter and Leonard Bernstein. Louis Armstrong’s ‘Wonderful World’ made
the audience go wild, they wanted more and they were insistent!
The second set carried on the mood and the music, and for the audience,
it was an unforgettable afternoon with unforgettable songs, and at the end,
it was a reason to hope that the American Embassy in Bangkok, together with
the Consulate in Chiang Mai, will do their utmost to make sure the Jazz
Ambassadors 2005 will have a chance to perform for us in Chiang Mai.
Bellatrix at Pang Suan Kaew Hotel
Dr. Rebecca Lomax
What can you say about three nineteen-year-old musically
gifted people who left their audience exhilarated but without words to
describe Sunday evening’s musical experience? Bellatrix is composed of
pianist Prach Boondiskulchok from Bangkok, cellist Mary Elliott from Wales
and violinist Joshua Burke from Ireland, all senior students of the Yehudi
Menuhin School in the United Kingdom.
outstanding musicians calling themselves Bellatrix: (from left) cellist Mary
Elliott from Wales, pianist Prach Boondiskulchok from Bangkok and cellist
and violinist Joshua Burke from Ireland.
The school was founded in 1963 to provide ideal
conditions under which musically gifted children could study and develop
their talents. Bellatrix performed in Bangkok and Chiang Mai to benefit the
Fund for Classical Music Promotion under the Royal Patronage of HRH Princess
The concert opened with Franz Josef Haydn’s Piano Trio
HXV 25, one of the greatest of classical trios. The music of the Adagio can
only be described as so sweet that many in the audience could be seen with
their eyes closed and smiles on their faces, but the Rondo echoed the gypsy
music that was an integral part of Haydn’s life in Hungary. The trio was
followed by Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata op 53, written when
Beethoven realized that he was becoming deaf. In a performance that
foreshadows coming musical greatness, Prach played with both technical
precision and heart. The audience took obvious pride in this son of Thailand
who has studied piano since the age of six, and studied abroad since the age
There was no urging the audience to return after the
brief intermission. All were more than eager to take their seats again for
A piano and cello duet, the Adagio and Allegro opus 70 by
Robert Schumann, followed intermission. Originally written for horn and
piano, this piece was later transcribed for cello and piano. The last piece,
Trio by Maurice Ravel, evoked the spirit of his Basque heritage with many
dance rhythms and unfailing energy. Murmurs of “Bravo!” could be heard
throughout the piece, and were heard aloud as it ended.
The musicians of Bellatrix are as impressive as young
people, as they are as musicians. Each has a history of fund-raising and
other activities for less advantaged people. Prach is outstanding in this
area. In 2001, he taught music to youngsters who attended the Family Summer
Camp. In 2002, he played a duo with cellist Kerstin Mayer to raise funds for
Satit Chula School. In 2003, he and friends in the Menuhin Quintet played
three concerts in Chiang Mai and Bangkok to raise funds for the Thai Red
Cross. Also in 2003, he again played in a concert to raise money for the
Family Network Foundation in Bangkok.
All three left Sunday night’s concert, their work finished, to enjoy
music in Pai and a vacation in Koh Chang. What a delight to hear their
concert and talk to them about their life plans.
Black Day ends up with a good day
The top band, Black Day
The five member Black Day band from Uttradit province trounced seven
other bands to win the Mattayom category in the Panasonic Star Challenge
held at Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai on August 21. The winners in the
singing contest were Anat Saithawee and Thammanoon Boonyaphan, also from
Uttradit. They were selected as the representatives from the north to take
part in the Bangkok contest.
Obituary: Bradford Harper, 54
Bradford Harper, founder of the Bombay Company and Burmese
Army Trekking sticks, died in Chiang Mai, Thailand on August 2.
He was the beloved son of Bernadine M. Harper and the
late George W. Harper.
He leaves behind wife Cindy and son Peter. He was the
brother of Arnold “Chip,” Patrick, Mary, and the late Kevin Harper.
Bradford lived not only 17 years in Chiang Mai but in a
great many places and touched many lives. Among his most recent endeavors
included the invention and the ongoing stories of Sir. Hillpig-Smyth and his
trusty Burmese Army Trekking stick. He received many honors and accolades
for his creative work in the field of marketing.
Bradford was a graduate of Duxbury High School and
Louisiana State University where he was president of the Lambda Chi
In addition to his life in Chiang Mai, Brad lived in
Bermuda, Toronto, Duxbury, Mass, and New Orleans, L.A.
He will be missed dearly by his family and friends
including Kevin Harper of Bermuda, Gary Brown of Vancouver, Judi Sempson of
Colorado, and Jerry Read of New Orleans.
A memorial service was said at St. Thomas’s chapel in
Falmouth, MA on August 9. He was buried in Chiang Mai at the Foreigners’
Cemetery on August 26, 2004.
May his soul rest in peace!
Animal Health government workers
receive bird flu information
A training course on the prevention and control of bird
flu was organized to prepare government personnel for the next outbr eak.
The Division of Livestock Development held the training
session for personnel from the Regional Bureau of Animal Health and Hygiene
(from 17 provinces of the North) on August 18 at Duangtawan Hotel in Chiang
Rueksa-nga, director of the Regional Bureau of Animal Health and Hygiene
during the training session.
Regional bureau director Wisit Rueksa-nga said the bird
flu (avian influenza) epidemic in Asia, including several areas of Thailand
since the beginning of 2004, had been a major public health concern.
Several people became seriously ill or had died. The
situation had a negative impact on the national economy, including poultry
husbandry, export and tourism industries.
Thailand had lost a huge amount of its potential income
because of the epidemic. However, during the outbreak, the Department of
Livestock Development (DLD), having direct responsibility, claims it had
done its best to control the disease and bring the situation back to normal
as quickly as possible.
To date, no new outbreaks were reported, but there could
be another outbreak, causing as much damage as in the past. The fact that
bird flu is still being reported in Thailand shows that this is a real
Participants at the seminar would gain a better understanding of avian
influenza and be able to take immediate action to control the disease and
prevent it spreading. They would also be better equipped with better public
relations abilities to advise farmers who raise poultry.
Expanding spa business spurs demand for sesame
Local farmers are being urged to grow more sesame to meet
the expected increase in demand that is likely to result from the growth in
the country’s spa business. Sesame seeds and oil are both in demand.
Sesame oil is used in oriental cooking, and is an important ingredient in
many skin and health-care products.
The Department of Agriculture believes demand for sesame
is likely to increase significantly in the near future. The government plans
to develop the local spa and health-care business, and wants Thailand to
become a regional hub.
The government wants to see farmers grow high yield
sesame seeds with a high nutrition value, Chalermpol Rungreung, chief of the
government’s agricultural research institute stated. A new type of sesame
seed will soon be distributed to farmers, as well as the technology needed
to grow it.
Thailand only produces 40,000 tons of sesame seeds every
year, and nearly two-thirds of this is exported. International demand for
sesame products is high. Japan’s demand for imported sesame seeds alone is
as high as 100,000 tons a year. (TNA)