Beginning with thrilling crescendos from the Space Odyssey movie
“2001” and ending with a fabulous foot-tapping finale led by Daeng Fantastic
and his talented friends playing “When the Saints go Marching in” this was a
show to remember, with more than a few tears in the audience as dozens of
young performers of all ages and nationalities bowed a farewell amidst a
plethora of colourful balloons, flying streamers, and row after row of small
traffic light girls?
And to think it nearly did not happen. Planned as a fund-raising offshoot to
the successful Chiang Mai Charity Calendar project, the growing economic
crisis at the end of 2008 saw expected sponsors drift away, leaving the two
organisers, Ramlah Jafri and Basil McCall, to underwrite the production
costs themselves. Attempts to reduce the Kad Theatre’s high rental fee were
unsuccessful. “The show had to go on, even at a loss,” reported Basil
stoically. “Cancelling it would have disappointed too many people.”
The show did go on, and if a major sponsor was not present, many, many
others were. Companies and individuals happily sponsored 100 baht student
tickets, giving over 500 local schoolchildren the thrill of seeing a show in
a big theatre for the first time in their lives. “Seeing that wonderful
sight alone, was worth all our efforts,” added Malaysian-born Ramlah.
Enthusiastic students from a total of ten Thai and International schools
created this little masterpiece of entertainment, enhanced by a jazzy
performance from Dr. Thorsten Wollman’s ‘Village Vanguard Trio’, and some
hilarious tricks acted out by international magicians Dr. Penguin and
Captain Treetops, who both travelled up from Pattaya to support the show.
The young cast put on a fabulous afternoon, with many memorable
performances, including a charming ceremony from Joy’s House called
‘Blessing from an Angel’s Flower’; a stirring musical representation of
various nationalities by Nawattuphume International School in Lampang, and a
ballet performance of pure delight by tiny 6-year old “Sky” Pintana, who,
totally dwarfed by the huge stage, won everyone’s hearts.
Another show-stealer was the ‘Mask of Happiness’ dance given by deaf and
dumb members of the Children’s Shelter Foundation who, although they cannot
hear, ‘listen to the music with their hearts.’
Santi Music School’s high standards were amply reflected in accomplished
piano, strings, and vocal performances which provided a lovely blend of
classical favourites, and 12-year old Sabrina Magnusson ended the show
wearing a golden dress and showing a voice to match with her spine-tingling
rendition of “Because You Love Me.”
Looking pale and exhausted after months of planning, worrying and sleepless
nights, Ramlah and Basil were happy it finally went so well. “So many people
helped us along the way with willing hearts, and we know now who our real
friends are,” said Ramlah.
Basil added, “This is a hard thing to organise as a two-person team, and we
couldn’t have pulled it off without so many people keen to assist, not least
all the performers who did this with such full hearts, and friends who
helped us sell tickets. We are particularly grateful to Dr. Penguin, who
pulled the rehearsals into shape and acted as our show host; to Daeng
Fantastic and his musicians for their performance, and their great help in
hiring equipment; to Sutthinee Jitmart- - our ‘last minute’ Thai MC after
the scheduled person dropped out; to Kawaila Luangtoomma who acted on our
behalf in Thai on radio FM100, to Chalermsak Suranant (the local TAT
Director), who presided at our Press Conference; to Prem School, and many
others too numerous to mention, who assisted with publicity, translations,
technical matters and so many other essential matters.
More information and pictures of the “Small Wonders” performance can be
found at http://chiangmaicalendar2009 .googlepages.com/smallwonders
Students from a total of ten Thai and
created this little masterpiece of entertainment.
(Above and below): Small wonders indeed. The
audience was captivated
by the talent and enthusiasm demonstrated by these young performers.
A representation of various nationalities
by the Nawattuphume International School was just one of the many
Everyone wants to be a star for the cameras.