Thursday, 4 June 2015

Teachers Day Celebration- my choir group

Early March 2015, I was called by my superior department, requesting me to form a new group of choir, this time restricted to only teacher-members, to specially perform during the state-level Teachers Day celebration. Having the experience of training students, and conducting them, for the same occasion, for two consecutive years, I sensed then that the people up there were expecting a miracle; as pooling 30 talented teachers, as needed in a good singing team, is a mountain climbing task. Not to mention discipline and commitment.
Seeing the list of names in one of the handouts distributed during the meeting, all music teachers, some already established names, I braved myself to decline the list, citing the reason that I would not be able to handle them. Instead, I suggested non-music teachers but talented, mostly young and energetic and would be able to serve for at least 10 years. The strategy was to get all in the meeting, mostly people who have been involved in the business for some years, to determine talented teachers whom they know would commit themselves.

Everything was then agreed, including the training schedule that only involves school hours, and that the training venue should be my school, cause I hate travelling. So the 10 to 1.00 o'clock training started, every Monday and Wednesday. Each session saw only 70 -80% of attendance, forcing me to slash some names off the list to be replaced  by new names suggested  by the committed members which were only confirmed in the third week. 5 songs being practised, starting with the usual National Anthem and the Guru Malaysia, followed by Akal Budi of the JPN Terengganu, Transformasi  Pendidikan of the Ministry of Education and the new state government corporate song Transformasi Terengganu Baharu.
The vocal training, the voice arrangements and step practice went smoothly for 8 weeks, with minus one accompaniment. So far this team is the best I have ever trained, each group of voice  mastering its very own part, except of course the memorising of the lyrics that seemed difficult for some of the guys. Officials of the education department came visiting the sessions, with compliments for the commitment and great progress made after listening to the vocal performance.
One week before the actual performance, for the first time the group joined the woodwind orchestra of SM Sains Sultan Mahmud. Suddenly all the harmony and singing skills went chaotic. The orchestra had arrangements that are totally different from the minus one arrangements that we used during the practice. Some members came to me, insisting that we go back to the minus one accompaniment. Everything changed, however, on the second day when everyone started getting the hang of the orchestra. They sang even better during the rehearsal, and superb on the actual event, with the help of the expensive audio system of course. The day ended with everyone feeling contented, compliments coming through the Whatsapp application for the next few days.
Opps… forgot to mention the beautiful batik baju kurung by the women, and the black and white suit of the men, with red neckties. I salute them for their willingness to fork out their own fund for the costume, which, in most of the compliments texts received, seemed to be highlighted more, compared to the singing performance.
At the meantime, before they dispersed, I reminded them the single practice session and the dates of rehearsal and Teachers Day celebration for the Kuala Terengganu District level exactly a week after. The practice was very informal, as there was less tense. Time was spent more on discussion over the costume. While the men decided to stick to the same black white and red, the women followed suit. Deciding on black blazer and skirt, with white blouse and red scarves, once again I saw them spending some money for costume. Women are women I guess, willing to spend whatever amount just to look beautiful! And they achieved in doing just that. And above all, the performance, this time was just as superb, only this time without the woodwind orchestra.
The day was especially meaningful to me as the group leader, as I received a special PPD award, which was given the loudest applause among all the recipients. Yes, the choir group clapped and the audience followed suit!
The occasion ended and everyone went home thinking that was our last activity. Days went by, that saw everyone still in contact through the Whatsapp. I guess they really got acquainted through the 2-month activity. Surprisingly, one week later, I received a call by an official of the JPNT, requesting the group to perform once again, this time only the national anthem and TTB, to start the APC- the Excellent Service Award Ceremony of the state education department. It wasn’t a surprise when everybody was excited to come for the rehearsal on the 15th of June, and the actual event the next day, a day before the fasting Ramadan month, as I have started to know them as close dear friends. This time there will be no practice, let us just see what happens during the rehearsal. And this time around, I think they are deciding on purple, after the red in the event last week.

After that it will be the fasting month and the Hari Raya Festival. Would there be any more request for the choir? Let’s just wait.


  1. tq sir azlan for the great experience

  2. Good job and thanks 4 sir azlan..

  3. Good job and thanks 4 sir azlan..