Art, Music & Culture
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Spirit House singers chase Scrooge away

Sangdao Performing Arts School celebrates its first Christmas

A Christmas cracker at Payap

Chiang Mai Music Festival – to focus on youth

 

Spirit House singers chase Scrooge away

The Spirit House Singers.

George Powell
The Spirit House singers recently performed madrigal music both old and new along with traditional Christmas carols at the Spirit House Restaurant. Led by David Crisp, who arranged or composed much of the music, the group welcomed the standing-room only audience with The Boar’s Head and followed that enthusiastic announcement of a Christmas feast with the traditional carol, ‘The Holly and the Ivy’. Guests were delighted by ‘Gaudété’, a 16th century Christmas carol, and enjoyed the traditional carols that followed. ‘We Three Kings of Orient’ featured solos by Dave Geddes, Frank Weicks and Glynn Morgan as the Magi. ‘Patapan’, a traditional French carol in a new dress, delighted the audience with its new arrangement by director David Crisp.
No Christmas concert would be complete without wassailing. David introduced the types of wassailing, with the Spirit House Singers urging charity at Christmas in their performance of ‘Here We Come a-Wassailing’. The 16th century and much loved ‘Coventry Carol’, which was originally performed as part of the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors, hauntingly grieves for the children doomed by King Herod. It was followed by ‘I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In’, the 17th century English carol, also arranged by David. The words to ‘Adam Lay y-Bounden’ were preserved from the 15th century, but the music heard at the Spirit House was all new, having been composed by David earlier this year for the first performances of this carol in Chiang Mai. The singers performed it with feeling and enthusiasm. ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’, also arranged by David, and first performed this season at the Chiang Mai Choral Society International’s concert, was a resounding hit with the audience and a delightful and lively addition to the program.
Guests were encouraged to put aside any Scrooge tendencies and donate a small amount to the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children’s scholarship programme. Ticket profits and donations came to over 11,000 baht and will fund an additional scholarship for a child in the rural area of Thailand. Marc Dumur, chairman of FERC, wishes to convey his appreciation to David and the Spirit House Singers for the welcome donation. After the carol concert, everyone joined together for a buffet prepared by the staff of the Spirit House Restaurant, David, and some of the singers. Roast pork, (without the boar’s head), salads, pâté and a variety of desserts rounded out the menu and a traditional and highly enjoyable evening.

Steve the landlord (2nd right) welcomes guests for David Crisp’s (right) Spirit House Singers Christmas Carols.

 

Sangdao Performing Arts School celebrates its first Christmas

Pictured are the student dancers and performers with their teachers at the Sangdao Performing Arts School’s first Christmas show.

Andy Archer
Sangdao Performing Arts School, (SPAS), celebrated its first Christmas on December 21 with a performance at the EQ Square Education Centre on the Chiang Mai-Hangdong Road. The new director, Sophatai Kanthatham, and the artistic director, Glenn van der Hoff, aim to provide high quality dance education in Chiang Mai, using their international experience as professionals for more than 25 years.
The Christmas performance was held in a unique situation by transforming two dance studios into a small theatre, designed for intern performances with the aim of providing the students with stage experience. Students of all ages, performed for more than 230 parents, friends and colleagues. Beginning the performance, Witida Supaporn, a former student, put the audience in the Christmas mood with her piano recital. The programme continued with a dance number with ‘fun’ choreography, performed by the staff and teachers, which involved inviting the audience to dance on stage!
More dance numbers, featuring ballet princesses, funky jazz dance and contemporary dance, were presented by students of different ages and levels—all were performed with great passion and enthusiasm. Crawford Service, a 9 year old student from the special boys’ class, created his own choreography and recited a poem.
All the parents enjoyed seeing their children express themselves with such free spirit, and the entire performance demonstrated SPAS’s vision, based on teaching discipline, creativity and self development. According to the its directors , this new dance education approach enables students to enjoy as well as to appreciate the performing arts.
For more information, please call: S. Kanthatham on 053 274841 or Glenn van der Hoff on 0851564 562


A Christmas cracker at Payap

Jean-Pierre Kirkland
The Luce Chapel was the setting for a real feast of Christmas music on Saturday December 20. Of all the Christmas recitals and concerts that abound in Chiang Mai at this time of the year, none can be more enticing or magical than the one that allows our significantly talented youth to display their energies and their love of music making. This is exactly what the Duriyasilp College of Music had in store for us – a rich variety of musical ensembles who delighted the near-capacity audience with a program of seasonal favourites ranging from Silent Night to We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Ninety young musicians were present in a wide range of ensembles – the concert beginning with the twenty-strong handbell group delighting us with the velvety tones of Fleur de Lys, Beethoven’s awe-inspiring setting of Klopstok’s Ode to Joy as well as Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy with xylophone accompaniment. This was a beautiful, unusual and welcoming opener to the concert as the dulcet tones of the bells rang out and echoed magically around the hall. A well-rehearsed clarinet quintet romped away through Here We Come A-Caroling and Joy to the World, Handel’s great masterpiece of melody before the vivacious and perky saxophone quintet made sure we all tapped our feet to their jazzy and flawless rendition of O Come All Ye Faithful. Not to be outdone, the brass quintet, calling itself “Ancient Wind” took us through a swinging session of Sleigh Ride, Rudolph and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, played with vigour and clarity in this jazzy and attractive version.
After the intermission, the harp ensemble provided an amazing contrast, playing delightfully beautiful versions of several Christmas carols, including an enchanting version of Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant, where the fingering and the tones were masterful. Then came the fitting finale – the nearly seventy-strong Payap Choir solemnly entered the hall singing the processional opening to Benjamin Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols’, before continuing with four more settings of the same. Accompanied in perfect style in different pieces by clarinet, flute, harp or piano, the choir, who were in excellent voice, sang with feeling, composure and great joy in more favourites such as Jingle Bells and Silent Night. The audience quite appropriately shouted for more and were rewarded with We Wish You A Merry Christmas, sung with great feeling and gusto. This was indeed a ‘Christmas Cracker’ of an evening and a great delight for the public to be able to share in this youthful and vigorous display of musical talents and their obvious joy at music making.


Chiang Mai Music Festival – to focus on youth

Jean-Pierre Kirkland
The forthcoming 4th Annual Chiang Mai Music Festival in February 2552 (2009) will once again focus, amongst its several goals, on the benefits of live musical performance and music appreciation for young people. The festival offers world class teaching and performance from visiting teachers and musicians and of course this comes as no real surprise bearing in mind that one of its co-founders, Professor Tong-Il Han who in Seoul in South Korea mentors a highly accomplished group of young pianists enrolled in his own Piano Academy. The festival features a number of quite extraordinary events to which the public are warmly welcomed. These include live musical performances in several Chiang Mai schools, lessons and workshops at various venues and the culmination of the festival on Saturday February 7 with young musicians performing sections of four great landmark piano concerti by Chopin, Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff at Ban Wangtan. The night before, on Friday February 6, five young pianists from Japan and Korea will be giving a free concert at the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre, which will be a different program from the one on Saturday.
In the words of festival co-founder Anne E. Murase, this is “simply beautiful classical music”. We are so fortunate here in Chiang Mai to be able to participate in this event, and by doing so, encourage young musicians in their ambitions and help support them as they perform for us with that energy, determination and professionalism which is the hallmark of this festival.