I was most delighted to be invited by Headmaster Goh to preview the rehearsal of the Heng Ee School Musical Potpourri 2013, which as on the program of the George Town Festival in Penang last Tuesday. It is quite amazing that a school of 3500 students, a Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan (SMJK) could do with just RM1m investment in equipments in the last 18 years to have nurtured 6 musical groups ( a choir, harmonica band, Chinese band, Jazz Band, drums group and an orchestra). Largely privately funded and aided by volunteers; the school has built a rich reservoir of musical talents. The 2 and half hour performance was delightful, and I came away feeling very hopeful for the nation’s young people; and of course, feeling thankful to a dedicated headmaster who brought music to the school; and the teachers who tirelessly worked alongside the leadership of Mr Goh.
I felt so pleased with what I saw that I suggested to the headmaster to bring the stage online so that more people can enjoy the performance, In less than 48 hours since we talked about the idea, with the help of Ong and Ron, two young man who learnt how to do live streaming, we staged the event online. The show went online on June 23rd 7pm, with 475 people log on to watch on their computers and/or mobiles!
For a repeat of the performance of the Heng Ee School Musical Potpourri 2013, go to http://www.new.livestream.com/culture-tv.
While I was delighted with the energy and the high quality of the school children’s performance, I find the hall at Dewan Sri Pinang most pathetic. Throughout the concert, the technicians can’t fix the echo problem. While I sat in that hall during the rehearsal, I can tell the quality of the sound system. If you have been to some of the best musical halls around the world, you can tell one from another; and honestly Dewan Sri Pinang is ageing; and the facilities needs upgrade.
What about A New Music Hall for Penang?
Indeed, the heritage town of Penang needs some new avante garte structure. Malaysia’s second largest town needs an injection of life; a new music hall in the company of the Sydney Opera House or the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum would be most inspiring. The state of the art new music hall would be ideally located in the poorest section of Penang, and if possible by the water! Siting a jewel in a poor neighbourhood will bring development to the area, and vitalise the place; Penang does need a new music hall; and music festivals generate good economic activities.
The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum has been hailed as the Museum that saved a city; and an provocative new structure which can bring harmonizing music to the population as well as recast Penang as the Jewel of the Orient is an inspiring idea.! The Penang state government can begin by calling a world competition.