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Reward for the heart and joy for the children

A Christmas concert at Payap

The Sounds of Christmas

Reward for the heart and joy for the children

Marion Vogt Photos: Michael Vogt






Did he 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.

Yeah! He brought me a present and it is so big, I need help to carry it. Thank you, Santa

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 possible.

Santa 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 forget them.

Dancing with magicians, clowns and an oversized mouse was the dream come true for many children.

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..

How did the magician get the birds in the hat?

A Christmas concert at Payap

Jan Verwers

Ajarn 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 Carols.

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.

Payap’s 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 “Weihnachts Oratorium”?

Excerpts from Hไndel’s “Messiah” were performed under the baton of Ajarn Sompong Wongdee.

The Sounds of Christmas

Chiang Mai Choral Society’s Yuletide presentation

Marion Vogt Photos: Michael Vogt

Celeste 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 program.

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 amused!

The flamboyant casting director ‘Hans’ (Mark Walder) who was so ‘natural’ that even the ‘auditioning singers’ could not stop grinning.

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 Sid Richardson.

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.

Musical Director and pianist Sid Richardson during the audition, assisted by Khun Yo.

Guest Soloist Joan Eubank gave everybody that Merry Christmas feeling.

The 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.

Santa straight from the fairytale, read the Christmas story and everyone listened intently.