Reward for the heart and joy for the children
Marion Vogt Photos: Michael
really bring a present for me as well?
The children’s Christmas party at ‘The Pub’ on Huey
Kaew Road has become an annual event for Chiang Mai. 87 children from 3 –
11 years of age were given a feast. In itself a noble concept, but even more
so when you realize these 87 are the poorest of the poor, and for many the
last Christmas in their life.
The organizing ladies from the community had worked for
weeks to make it happen, by collecting donations, talking to everyone and
going shopping. Individual presents were purchased for each child, whose
name was given to them by the Rejoice organization.
He brought me a present and it is so big, I need help to carry it. Thank
Gareth Lavell, a trained medical nurse from the United
Kingdom and the Project Assistant Director, responsible for all provision of
medical care to individual patients revealed that Rejoice is currently
taking care of 900 children throughout the community and Northern Thailand.
Many of them with full blown AIDS, some orphaned through AIDS, living with
grandparents and family and some hill tribe children just from families too
poor to exist otherwise. But Rejoice does not only take care of children,
they serve patients in their homes, have fourteen HIV/AIDS outreach clinics
located in Buddhist Temples, Christian Church Halls and assist two local
Government clinics. They also hold outdoor clinics in rural areas, or even
patients’ gardens, where many gather. These clinics are not like clinics
in Western countries in fixed buildings. They consist of a small table and
chair. This is where Rejoice Urban Development Project is able to offer
it’s free medical services to the very needy, on a daily basis. This care
requires an individual patient cost of approximately 250 baht per week per
person, or 1,000 baht per month (approximately 27 US dollars per month) to
cover basic medicines and other care. Gareth Lavell was touched when he
mentioned the many helpers, donors and silent helpers to make all this
and his helpers made sure, every child received ‘their’ individual
present, according to age and sex.
With donations from the private sector, from the US
consulate general Chiang Mai, and from families from the area and
individuals who just have that soft spot in their heart it was again
possible to accommodate and entertain 37 infected and 50 orphaned and poor
hill tribe children. Three balloon clowns, one magician, a tambourine
cultural group and a mime group with musicians entertained and took care of
the youngsters with the best reward one can get. Shiny eyes, joy, and
laughter. Cookies, sausages, sandwiches and cakes had been baked and donated
by families, restaurants and hotels from Chiang Mai but the biggest delight
was when Santa himself showed up, making his statement that he did not
with magicians, clowns and an oversized mouse was the dream come true for
Everybody went home with presents, carefully wrapped, and suitable for
their sex and age. And the adults? They also had a present, the knowledge
that they had helped to make this day a day to remember for children who
might not live long enough to see Santa again. If you want to know more
about the Rejoice Urban Development Project, check out: www.rejoicecharity
.com and start to make a difference now..
the magician get the birds in the hat?
A Christmas concert at Payap
Ayu Namtep conducts the Payap Sacred Music Singers.
Christmas. For many of us the highlight of the year.
Religious ceremonies, meetings, events of all sorts, extensive dinners. And
music. Not only in the supermarkets, but also in churches and concert halls.
The Henri Luce Chapel of Payap University was the venue for an impressive
concert with instrumental and vocal music, attended by 500 visitors.
The evening opened with Payap’s Bell Choir, a group of
eight musicians using sets of hand bells to bring us a series of Christmas
The Chiangmai Symphony Orchestra was next. This ensemble,
consisting of musicians of different schools and institutions in Chiangmai,
who were brought together by Payap, performed in public for the first time
about one year ago. They proved this evening that practice makes (almost)
perfect, because their performance of Mozart’s Symphony No.18 in F Major
was a pleasant experience.
hand bell choir performed a selection of Christmas songs.
Ajarn Ayu Namtep conducted the Payap Sacred Music Singers
in a well-selected program of Christmas songs. The choir again demonstrated
why it has been selected to represent Thailand next year during the
international Olympiad for choirs in China.
“No Christmas without Messiah”, the moderator of this
evening told us. Although non-Anglo-Saxons may not agree, the selection
presented of Hไndel’s beautiful compositions was wonderful. The
Chiangmai Symphony Orchestra was assisted by a very competent choir, which
was composed of singers from several institutions in Chiangmai. Deborah
Childs, Merry Manalac, Rungsun Poonsub and Tianchai Suktiang performed the
vocal solos. Jakraphan Jikyong on trumpet and Remi Namtep on harpsichord
made significant contributions. Conductor Ajarn Sompong Wongdee had every
reason to be proud of this rendition.
Is Payap’s next Christmas concert going to surprise us with Bach’s
from Hไndel’s “Messiah” were performed under the baton of Ajarn
The Sounds of Christmas
Chiang Mai Choral Society’s Yuletide presentation
Marion Vogt Photos: Michael
Tolibas-Holland and Lesley Hudson, the two naughty elves, full of mischief.
If you expected a ‘traditional Christmas concert’ you
were in the wrong place as a couple of hundred visitors found out last week
after they enjoyed the latest performance of the International Choral
Society Chiang Mai. 16 singers from Japan, South Africa, England, Australia,
New Zealand, USA and Thailand, together with Santa and his two naughty elves
entertained, rocked and kept the audience chuckling throughout the two hour
Creative director Richard Dixon and CDC design had
created a stage set which resembled an old theater during auditions with
props everywhere and an uptight casting director ‘Hans’ (Mark Walder)
who played the part so well that even the ‘auditioning singers’ could
not stop grinning. From ‘casting’, the show went into a ‘rehearsal’
where the chorus seemed to meld together to become one, and after a short
intermission the ‘real performance’ began.
Part two proved to be as entertaining for the audience,
especially with the two elves (Celeste Tolibas-Holland and Lesley Hudson)
mingling through the audience, throwing candies and adding ‘arranged
confusion’ until Santa himself came looking for them. And he was not
flamboyant casting director ‘Hans’ (Mark Walder) who was so
‘natural’ that even the ‘auditioning singers’ could not stop
This ‘concert’ had it all. It had a theme maintained
through the evening, it had great lively singers, with guest soloist Joan
Eubank (who made her whole family join her on stage), it had humor, it had
the touching Christmas story with St. Nicholas himself, carols
with audience participation and the omnipresent musi-cal director pianist
Flautist Xavier Vichitporn who conducted the choral
society program for the first time proved to be a good choice for the choir
and when narrator Becky Lomax wished everybody a very Merry Christmas, the
response was “When is the next one?”
There is no greater compliment for an ensemble.
Director and pianist Sid Richardson during the audition, assisted by Khun
Soloist Joan Eubank gave everybody that Merry Christmas feeling.
ensemble came from seven different countries, (front row from left) Satomi
Kimura, Yuwan Pujeenaphan, Tessa Blane, Waranan Pongcharoenkul, Rebecca
Lomax, Keiko Samuels, Sharon Landwehr-Johan, and conductor/flautist Xavier
Vichitporn. (Back row from left) Thanchanoke Seresatiansup, Mark Walder,
Frank Weicks, Masakatsu Kimura, Richard Dixon, Glynn Morgan, David
Hardcastle, Narutap Euathrongchit, Ong-Ard Kanchaisak.
straight from the fairytale, read the Christmas story and everyone listened