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January 16 - Monday January 31, 2011

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Arts - Entertainment
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Twilight with a Difference

Under The Spotlight


Twilight with a Difference

The Chiang Rai Twilight Concert was set in the beautiful gardens of local resort, the Darakorn.

By Jai Pee

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you are sitting comfortably in a spacious glade on a hillside surrounded by tall trees and the sounds of chirping birds, rustling insects and gently flowing water. Imagine further many of the shrubs and bushes coated in twinkling red, silver, blue and green lights and sets of dimly lit lanterns hanging from the boughs of the trees. This was the authentically natural and beautifully unique setting for the annual Chiang Rai Twilight Concert last month. Preceded by a tour of the wonderful trees and shrubs in the grounds of the Villa Darakorn and its Arboretum, measuring some eleven rai, guests were invited to take tea, coffee and light snacks before a delightful selection of traditional and popular music interspersed by several classical pieces, presented by the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra conducted by Paramet Lertkasem. This was a truly extraordinary event and one to be remembered for a long time.

As the daylight began to fade, at a little after 5.00 p.m., the thirty or so strong orchestra played a series of short and most enjoyable pieces including two movements from Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite and the opening movement of the Bach Double Violin Concerto with young players Panawee and Picha as soloists in this challenging work. Of course there were tense moments, late entries and poorly formed phrases, but who cared? Here were a group of young and enthusiastic local musicians, all in different colourful traditional dress, working hard and furiously to bring wonderful music to a decent-sized audience. Under the firm control of conductor Paramet, the orchestra played to the very best of its ability and it was nothing short of a miracle to watch and hear these young people perform in this magical setting. There were several songs with the pleasantly agreeable voice of Sivanat Boonnil plus a song from the pen of His Majesty the King. The eminent British musician, composer and arranger Richard Harvey, who has associated himself strongly with this group of musicians, delighted the audience in some of his own compositions mingling with Thai and Chinese melodies that he performed in a thrilling manner on a wide range of instruments – such as Thai and Chinese flutes, Chinese ocarina (Xun), and the clarinet. I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams to have had the honour and privilege of listening to the andante from one of Mozart’s final compositions, his incredibly nostalgic and haunting Clarinet Concerto K622. It brought tears to my eyes when I allowed myself the luxury of letting my eyes wander around the scene as the wistful notes of Mozart echoed through the trees. Even the birds stopped chirping to listen! However, we were in for another shock – could any of you readers imagine sitting on this darkened hill side in Chiang Rai and being invited by Daisy to ‘give her your answer, do’? And on a bicycle made for two?!

What a creative and inspired program thanks in no small degree to eminent musicologist Witaya, adviser to the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and whose brief but interesting introduction added to the great success of this wonderful event. With locally made delicacies of ‘baoze’ (filled dumplings) in the interval, this was a terrific occasion. Owners of the Darakorn resort Suphavit Phiampongsant and his wife Pasinee, both of whom have former distinguished careers, made all the guests welcome and provided us with excellent facilities and a unique atmosphere that would be hard to match anywhere. The young musicians, their guest performer Richard and their conductor rose to the splendour of the occasion magnificently. This was definitely an occasion of note and all need to be congratulated on making this event the great success that it was.

For further information about this delightful resort, contact Suphavit on 081 844 4128 or email: [email protected]


Under The Spotlight

Patrick Moukarzel

By Jai Pee

Patrick Moukarzel is the General Manager of the prestigious Chedi Hotel in Chiang Mai. At thirty five years old, to have reached such an elevated post so young is quite an achievement! Patrick was born in Lebanon, his father Lebanese and his mother French. His early education was in a Lebanese French school before the family moved when Patrick was fourteen to the southern French city of Toulouse where he continued his studies, eventually graduating from the university there in hotel management.

Patrick Moukarzel is an enthusiastic proponent of the Chiang Mai Music Festival.

He is a quiet and unassuming man with a broad smile and a generous personality. He radiates charm in a sincere and welcoming manner and perhaps this aspect of his character, coupled with his very demanding job, has led him to become involved with the Chiang Mai Music Festival. Through him, the Chedi Hotel is one of the major sponsors of the Festival this year, accommodating the Festival guest artists and hosting the prestigious cocktail reception and final concert when all the guests of the Festival will perform. This invitation-only reception will be held around the spacious and beautiful swimming pool in the grounds of the hotel where five hundred candles will illuminate the setting, making for a magical evening on February 20th.

Patrick loves music and usually uses it to help him concentrate when he is working. But his main interest is football and he is both a keen player and supporter. This, of course, is very much in the southern French tradition where teams like Marseilles and Toulouse have great reputations. But he is also a devoted family man – his wife is Anglo-French and with their two children, a girl and a boy aged 3 and 6 respectively, they spend their leisure time on local outings in the countryside, often camping out overnight before returning to the demands of his work. Patrick is fluent in a number of languages including French and English, but also Arabic, having spent several years in the Middle East before coming to Thailand. After a spell in Phuket, he and the family came to Chiang Mai a year and a half ago and are now very much part of the community, and a great asset to the business and commercial life of the city. Of course, the co-founders of the Chiang Mai Music Festival are delighted and grateful that this wonderful hotel with its charming manager has so generously agreed to sponsor the upcoming Festival. Let us hope Patrick and his family will continue to enjoy their lives in Chiang Mai while enjoying the opportunity in February of listening to simply beautiful classical music in their delightful environment.

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