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The Chiang Mai Youth Philharmonic Band’s “Soundtrack” concert at the Kad Theatre

A very special celebration

Soroptimists’ day with the women of Mae Wang - and their kids!


The Chiang Mai Youth Philharmonic Band’s “Soundtrack” concert at the Kad Theatre

The Chiang Mai Voice Studio Chorus.

CMM Reporters
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 work.
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 Hawk.
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 Thailand.

Dirk 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 Bangkok.
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 to Thailand.
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 Mai.
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 the petition.
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 family.

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!

What 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.

Haircuts 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 village.