A wind-erful victory

Sunday, 29 March 2015

BY ANN-MARIE KHOR

Earlier this month, the orchestra competed against seven other teams in the New York Wind Band Festival 2015 at the prestigious Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall.

THEY were definitely not just full of hot air.

Earlier this month, 70 girls from Sekolah Seri Puteri, Cyberjaya clinched the New York Wind Band Festival 2015 Silver Award.

In their festival debut, the Seri Puteri Symphonic Wind Orchestra, also known as SP Winds, performed two classical pieces, Overture to Candide andExtreme Beethoven.

 After the performance, the group received a standing ovation, which Aisyah Umairah Mohd Kheiruddin, 17, called “overwhelming”.

“At first, we were really paranoid. We were afraid people would stare at us or treat us differently, simply because we wore tudung.

“After the performance, we realised that people weren’t looking at our differences after all. Music brought us together,” she shared.

Although Siti Nurulhazwani Mohd Lukhman, 17, had previously travelled with the band and competed overseas, she said this trip was “the most challenging”.

“Not only was our travel time almost 24 hours, but the other orchestra groups also performed really, really well,” she said.

Seri Puteri Symphonic Wind Orchestra teacher-in-charge Shahriyah Abdul Rashid noted that the “jury of international musicians motivated them to do their best in the competition”, referring to San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra musical director Prof Emeritus Wiliam Johnson, Royal Conservatory of Music, The Hague conductor Johan De Meij and Long Island University Music professor Dr James McRoy.

The group, knowing that they were representing Malaysia on a global stage, had aimed to take home the Gold Award, she said.

“However, we are grateful for the invaluable opportunity to perform in New York, as we received detailed constructive comments from the judges of the competition. This will definitely help SP Winds improve in the future,” she said.

The 13th instalment of the festival saw the all-girl orchestra compete against seven other formidable teams including Kaimuki Middle School Symphonic Winds, Dobyns-Bennett High School Wind Symphony, Belleville High School Symphony Band, University of Wisconsin–Madison Wind Ensemble as well as Hellgate High School Wind Ensemble, which took home the Gold Award.

Notably, the 33-year-old wind orchestra ensemble were the only team from outside the United States invited to compete at the prestigious Isaac Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall.

Nurul Fathonah Mohd Azid, 17, said: “We are still excited about playing in Carnegie Hall and getting to attend the festival workshops. It was just amazing.”

School principal Siti Rogayah Yahya extended her appreciation to various parties for their support of the school band’s “journey to musical excellence” in New York, calling it a huge exposure for her young students.

“I am so proud of their performance,” she said.

Sumber:  The Star Online

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2015/03/29/a-winderful-victory/