Vol. V No. 18 - Saturday April 29, - May 5, 2006
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ACADEMIA NUTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Nok Lae Band charms over Songkran

“If the Good Lord’s Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise”

Rooftop party supplies new dormitories

Nok Lae Band charms over Songkran

They love what they are doing and they know the honor to be part of Nok Lae, the children pose here with their huge mascot.

Chiangmai Mail reporters
One of the many highlights during the recent Songkran weekend took place at Anusarn market, attracting foreign and local tourists.

The dynamic market place was packed every evening for the three performances of Chiang Mai’s Nok Lae Band, which was established some 26 years ago. Over the years, the band has played host to well over 400 musicians, all between 7 and 10 years old, each performer usually staying for a period of five to six years.

One young performer, whose bi-lingual talents were very much appreciated, was the band’s own ‘children’s MC’, who welcomed the new listeners, watchers and onlookers in both Thai and English. The young musicians played a wide variety of music, ranging from old Lanna to contemporary Thai songs and well-known pop music.

With all members being from Chiang Mai, the audience, both local and foreign, was thrilled, and the house was packed every night.

They do it all: dancing, singing, playing instruments and looking cute at the same time.


“If the Good Lord’s Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise”

New play coming up by Grace International students

The Cast: (Back Row) Bradley Favazza, Daniel Collingwood, Justin Hughes, and Peter Harris (Front Row) Molly Ellis, Sarah Palmer, Natalie Hallead, Stephanie Percy, and Kari Silkwood.

Renee Weygandt
Students from Grace International School are gearing up to perform this year’s stage production entitled, “If the Good Lord’s Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise”. A unique and quirky title for an equally quirky play.

This zany comedy, in the spirit of comedic playwrights, Kaufman and Hart, centers on Doc, an eccentric old man whose house caters to love sick teenagers spouting Shakespeare, an irate school bus driver and an occasional artist or two. Throw in a psychologist on her first case and his daughter with her lawyer and it’s anybody’s guess if Doc will be committed or not. “You ought to try tilting at windmill every so often,” he philosophizes. “It’s great exercise and a nice breeze goes with it.”

As playwright, Pat Cook writes about his central character, “Doc has a story to tell, and his spirit is boundless. He has the enviable talent of recognizing and acting on the absurd and nonsensical, and at the same time touching that which is genuine in each of us. He is able to make us laugh even with a lump in our throats. He has the gift to celebrate each day as special and each friend as unique. And there is no such thing as a lost cause.”

This year’s show is undeniably the funniest production GIS has produced. This character driven play is full of smart humor and quick wit. This year’s ensemble cast is exceptionally good and have really connected with their characters. Justin Hughes, who plays Doc, has brought his own unique sense of comedic timing to the role. Somewhat of a cross between the two Willy Wonkas (Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp). Natalie Hallead does an excellent job playing Amanda Pemberton, the psychologist. Obviously comfortable on stage, she brings a naturalness to the character that helps the audience to really connect. Peter Harris plays Leo Jenkins, the love-struck teenager. A role that is quite different than any of the others he’s played in GIS productions. A true test of his acting ability, he really steps up to the challenge. Stephanie Percy, who plays Maxine McCallister the bus driver, has proven herself to be a driven and dedicated actress. Bradley Favazza plays Gerald Firestone, the “by the book” attorney with ulterior motives. Bradley has the unique ability to turn a seemingly insignificant character into a memorable one. People are still talking about his performance as the Captain in last year’s, “The Mail Order Bride”.

First timers to the GIS stage include, Kari Silkwood, who plays Doreen Furst, the passionate Shakespearean actress; Sarah Palmer, as Charlotte Dinsel, Doc’s controlling daughter; Daniel Collingwood is Steve Renfro, who directs high school plays and dabbles in oils, and finally, Molly Ellis, who plays Elizabeth Claybourne, and old friend of Doc’s. That is, she’s known him for a long time.

Sound like a recipe for crazy? Just wait until you meet them! Wholesome fun for the whole family, audiences will not leave disappointed.

Performances will be May 18, 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. in the GIS multi-purpose Room. Seating is General Admission and all tickets are 200 baht.

To purchase tickets contact Jeanette Hall at 053-131-175 or email [email protected] Tickets can also be purchased at the door but seating is limited.


Rooftop party supplies new dormitories

Some of the Hmong children, volunteers, teachers from the school and representatives of FERC Chiang Mai and Samsara.

Annelie Hendriks
Just before the rainy season approaches, charities that take care of hill tribe villages and their children are at their busiest time, as many places cannot be reached once the rain starts. At the end of March, two new dormitories, - one for boys, one for girls, two water purification installations and furniture for an existing canteen were given to the Mae Taa Laa school for Hmong children, two and a half hours drive, far beyond Samoeng in the hills.

One of the new dormitories which was built with the donations from individuals who have a big hearts.

The school desperately needed dormitories for the children and the teachers. While inspecting the school earlier last year, FERC members noticed that the canteen needed furniture and there was no clean drinking water available for the little ones. Donations from Samsara, the Chiang Mai Rooftop party back in January (which Chiangmai Mail extensively reported), including some generous individual donations have made it possible to give the school everything they needed most, with volunteers from the nearby villages building the dormitories in just two months.

The official opening ceremony drew the eager attention of all the Hmong girls and boys (during their school holiday) and was attended by the director of the Department of Education, volunteers from the villages who built the dorms, teachers from the school and representatives of the Foundation which donated the funds.

Hmong girls in their colorful dresses, proud to have new furniture and equipment in their canteen at the Mae Taa Laa school.



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