The Chiang Mai Youth Philharmonic Band’s
“Soundtrack” concert at the Kad Theatre
The Chiang Mai Voice Studio Chorus.
Announced as an ‘informal concert’ the performance of movie music
held at the Kad Theatre on Saturday evening, August 16, certainly lived up
to its billing. The 70 strong Band emerged dressed in a colourful array of
costumes with each orchestra section dressed to represent characters or
aspects of the silver screen. The sadly underused theatre at Kad Suan Kaew
proved once again to be an ideal venue for a large scale event. Such a pity
that there are not more such happenings in the City.
The programme comprised 12 selections from famous, (and not so famous),
films augmented by a spirited performance by the Chiang Mai Voice Studio
Chorus, who opened the second half of the evening with song and movement
based around Queen. The choir, who have recently returned from competing in
a prestigious competition in Europe - they won medals in Vienna - gave a
lift to the event and launched the much better second half of the concert,
which had been bogged down by too much talk in the earlier section.
Still, if the orchestra felt as though they were taking second place to the
‘commentators’ they did not show it, and in their fancy dress a definite
highlight was the handsome trumpet section, led by an ebullient Snow White,
whose brassy companions certainly did not have a Dopey, a Grumpy or Sleepy
among them - and they gave their all to often taxing scores. They were there
for a fun evening. After all wasn’t Bugs Bunny somewhere in charge?
The concert opened rather late with a rousing selection from Star Wars, by
that master of the big scale music score John Williams. Scenes from this
film and several others were offered as a back screen to the orchestra and
sometimes this worked well - especially in the case of the classic Pink
Panther theme and music. This well known and lively work was well suited to
the orchestra, who responded well to the jaunty character whose antics were
displayed by a short carton. A good way to keep the attention of the many
young people in the audience. A fine trombonist - sadly unidentified though
he did get to take a short bow - did full justice to the main theme.
There were twelve musical extracts, plus the choir’s non movie moments, and
the best of these was Tan Dun’s fine score to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Others included were Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and Brave Heart.
The Band, which plays in association with the also revamped Chiang Mai
Symphony Orchestra, has only been in existence in its new form for a few
months. Some readers may remember their concert at the Kad last year. Their
closure some while ago was a loss to the musical life of the City and to the
activities of the many talented and enthusiastic youngsters who attend music
and other schools.
They now need - and deserve - support from sponsors and from audiences. And
what can only hope that the city’s authorities will help too and realize
that this large group of talented players will be good for residents, for
tourists and of course for the youngsters themselves. They cannot possibly
exist on the proceeds from concerts and by their own enthusiasm and hard
The Soundtrack Concert, conducted by Chaipruk Mekara and Pattarat Choom Chua
was an excellent, although overlong, evening’s start to a new season.
Apparently one further concert is already in the planning stage for early
next year, but it would be great if their performances could be a regular
feature at the Kad. There is plenty of other exciting music for such a group
and if another selection of movie music is ever planned there are also great
classic scores to be unearthed. Ideal choices for such a virile group of
players would be Bernstein’s West Side Story or the music from swashbucklers
such as the earlier The Adventures of Robin Hood or the spirited The Sea
Whatever they choose to perform they deserve an audience for the excitement
they generate and the quality of the playing. They also deserve better from
the producers of the event who seemed determined to put the stars of the
evening - the Band - in second place.
A very special celebration
Dirk and Wuttipong Arayatumsopon renew their marriage vows
A very special celebration was held August 15 in the Holiday Inn’s
second floor banqueting hall, beautifully decorated for the occasion.
Although Dirk and Wuttipong Arayatumsopon have been together for 9 years
and have been married in Germany for 5 years, they decided to begin
their new life in Chiang Mai by ‘getting married again’ here in
and Wuttipong pictured together on their special day.
Dirk was born February 1974 in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany, and is
the only son of Dietrich and Franziska Weeber. After completing his
formal schooling, he became fascinated with podology, (lit-study of the
foot), and decided to study the subject at a specialist evening school.
From the age of 19 until 29 he held different positions in the Christian
Democratic Union Party, and became committed to the fight against
discrimination towards handicapped and homosexual people in Germany.
During that time he raised approximately 5,000 euros for HIV Health Aid.
Wuttipong, son of Pol. Sergeant Colonel Banjob Arayatumsopon and his
late wife Saksri Arayatumsopon, graduated in Nakorn Sawan and obtained a
Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Rangsit University in
Dirk and Wuttipong met and fell in love on Kasorn Road in Bangkok,
during the 1999 Loy Krathong festival. In 2002, Wuttipong moved to
Germany to be with Dirk, studying the German language at Mannheim
University before starting work there as a podologist. The couple formed
a ‘life partnership’ on August 15, 2003, and continued to work together
in a podology clinic in Germany for 5 years prior to their recent return
In 2005, they founded Thailandfreunde e.V. Germany, and since then have
raised more than 1m baht cash and 2m baht’s worth of goods which have
been transferred to social projects for children in Thailand. Their
organisation has been a great and enthusiastic supporter of both the
School for Life near Doi Saket and the Charity Rooftop Party in Chiang
Since their return to live permanently in Chiang Mai, the couple decided
to reaffirm their commitment to each other at a special ceremony, held
on the 5th anniversary of their legal marriage day in Germany, August
15. Before the celebrations began, they, along with Natee from the Gay
and Lesbian Political Group of Thailand, held a press conference,
explaining to the media the reasons behind their decision. Natee
explained the importance of this serious event and the commitment
therein, and Dirk told the Chiang Mai Mail ‘I am not coming to Thailand
as a foreigner who thinks he knows best. I am hoping to help encourage
the development of sexual equality for all in my adoptive country’. When
asked by another reporter how much he paid Wuttipong’s family as a
dowry, (this gift is still traditional practice here in Thailand when
any couple marry), he replied that he would prefer not to answer,
because the dowry was not important - what is important is their love
for each other. Natee then told reporters of his project to collect
20,000 signatures to present to parliament requesting equal rights for
homosexuals and lesbians; Dirk and Wuttipong were the first ones to sign
At 5 pm, following the press conference, a blessing ceremony was held,
led by Wuttipong’s grandmother Yak and Pol. Sergeant Colonel Banjob, his
father. Sadly, Dirk’s parents and grandmother were too ill to travel
such a long distance to be with their son on this special day. Both Dirk
and Wuttipong, dressed in a Thai traditional costume, were happy to be
surrounded by 50 friends and family who witnessed the happy event,
although it proved slightly too emotional for Dirk, who was seen wiping
a tear from his eye.
At 6:30, the evening celebrations began with the couple welcoming more
than 120 guests. Friends, family members and even VIPs such as
Thailand’s famous comedian, TV star and film producer Khun Pepsi with
his wife Pee Sa, came to celebrate the happy day with them. Guests
enjoyed a delicious buffet supper, and were touched by a slide-show of
all stages of Dirk and Wuttipong’s lives up to that moment. Dancers gave
a performance of traditional Lanna dances, followed by the appearance of
a large, fantastic and very furry creature with the face and horns of a
deer, which pranced around the tables playing with the guests in a dance
reminiscent of the Lion Dog dances at New Year, and a band played
throughout the evening. All in all, a wonderful celebration which the
happy couple and their guests will always remember.
If you are planning an event, why not contact
[email protected] to make it that extra bit special.
Pictured are Dirk and Wuttipong with the
Soroptimists’ day with the women of Mae Wang - and their kids!
Representatives of Soroptimists
International Chiang Mai on the presentation day, pictured with the
single moms and their kids.
Sunday August 16 was a very special day for the ladies of Soroptimists
International Chiang Mai - the day on which representatives of the group
visited Mae Wang village to present donations to a total of 23 single
mothers. The donations formed the balance of the amount raised at the
highly successful “Taking Action in Style” Fashion Show held in May to
benefit the Single Mothers’ Project. The majority of women resident in
Mae Wang village are single mothers. Accompanying Dr. Lina, Donna,
Noriko and Elena were Khun Wit and Khun Noom from Hair Pro together with
the salon’s entire staff, all intent on giving the best free haircuts
ever to around 150 people of all ages!
a set of posers!
The CM Mail’s indefatigable photographer arrived by motorbike to
record the event for posterity and the next issue of the paper!
The group arrived in the middle of preparations for a huge lunch for 150
people, (also donated by the Soroptimists), and accompanied by the
cheerful sound of hymns being sung inside the church building. It wasn’t
quite the “feeding of the 5 thousand”, but it certainly felt like it!
Meeting and greeting, not to mention photographing and laughing, took up
the time before lunch, which, when served, was greeted with much
appreciation, particularly from the hordes of kids when they discovered
that ice-cream, kindly donated by Wit, was on the menu.
After lunch, it was time for the presentations. The amount to be divided
was 40,000 baht - the four single mothers who had been chosen for their
special needs, (three of whom had featured in the Soroptimists’ “Single
Mothers” video), each received 5,000 baht; a total of 23 other single
moms were given 1,000 baht each.
all round, generously provided free by the staff from Hair Pro (wonder
if Dr. Lina is in the line).
If you’re a math wizard you will quickly know that the funds allocated
were not enough - the extra 3,000 baht was donated by Wit and Donna, to
whom much thanks.
During the presentations, Wit’s team, with assistance from the boss, had
begun their hair-cutting marathon - and went on cutting hair for several
hours! At 2 p.m., Donna, Noriko, Elena, Lina and Wit, (relieved of his
scissors for the occasion), drove to Khun Peng’s house to hand to her
Maureen’s personal donation of 5,000 baht. Noriko and Elena returned
with an added bonus, bags of delicious bright yellow mushrooms gathered
from the forest by Khun Peng, who is one of the single moms selected for
the Single Mothers’ Project.
As the Soroptimists left, after conveying their sincere thanks to the
couple who helped select the recipients, Wit’s staff were still cutting
hair! Many thanks go to everyone involved - for their donations, for
their practical help in all aspects of the day, and for their caring.
Dr. Lina spoke for all, saying that she was returning home with a happy
heart and the hope of returning to help the single moms who had not
received donations that day. She added that Soroptimists would continue
to support the four selected moms and their kids.
I’m missing out on the ice-cream!
Elena, on behalf of the Soroptimists, makes
a presentation to one of the single moms with Dr. Lina (second left),
Soroptimist president, looking on.
Pictured is Khun Peng’s house in Mae Wang