Musical Pathfinder Camp & Concert 2014, is a 4 day 3 night programme held in Taiping, Perak from 12 to 15 December.
The event saw a total of 350 participants from 8 school bands from Perak (SMJK Hua Lian, Hua Lian High School, SMJK Poi Lam, Poi Lam Suwa, SMJK Tsung Wah, Tsung Wah (Private) Secondary School, SM St.Michael, SMK Menglembu), 3 school bands from Kuala Lumpur (SMK Seafield, SMK Bandar Damansara Utama 3, SJK (C) Puay Chai) and a community band (Novo Winds) from Singapore.
The festival-like programme, headed by Chief Facilitator Mr Mitsuo Nonami from Japan, provided a platform for the camp participants to interact among themselves, learn from each other, improve musical skills, and most importantly, forge friendships.
“Every day is a gift and every tomorrow holds the promise of greater things yet to come. Band is about so much more than playing the notes. We want students to feel like they have worked harder and achieved more than they ever thought possible, but at the same time they learned to love making music with their peers. It’s not about who the better player is, it’s about how far as a group they can push each other.”, said Mr Bryan Lau Meng Yong, the main coordinator for the camp.
“We hope that by being a part of the band, each member will feel that he or she contributed to the group in a positive way, made lasting friendships and collaborated with their friends to make great musical moments together. Music can be a direct path to our inner core, it is how we channel the passion and translate it into music that uplift others. Not all of our students will be professional musicians, but everyone has the ability to be lifelong learners and musicians,” he continued.
Participants were distributed evenly into five main bands (Aria, Bravura, Capricco, Dolce, Energico) and Drumline to prepare three pieces each for the concert.
Each band then goes through an intensive 3 day program of foundation building, band training and sectionals under a combined faculty of Singapore and Malaysia conductors, as well as sectional tutors from Novo Winds.
At the end of each camp day, participants are encouraged to reflect on their activities and ask about related band issues in the Q&A session.
There were also opportunities for bonding sessions and a public concert on the third day to showcase the hard work put in by the students.
The most memorable segment of the camp was perhaps the sharing session on the last day, with heartfelt gratitude speeches by band representatives of the participating groups, as well as various key facilitators.
“I am thankful for the platform to learn more about music and to perform in a public concert as my band had never a chance to do so,” said Kok Choo Chin, from SMJK Tsung Wah, Kuala Kangsar.
“We have benefited tremendously from this trip where our members came together on a shared purpose, forged new friendships, had fun and most importantly deepened our interests in music. We hope that more of such events would be organized, so that our members can be exposed to more learning opportunities.” said Mr Zac Ng Zhenyu, from Novo Winds.
“Band teaches us to appreciate music, so that we can appreciate life. Only through band management, we learn to manage our manners,” said Mr Lester Lim, one of the key camp facilitators.
“Anything is possible with time and perseverance. What may seem impossible today will be possible in the future. We just need to know how to find the correct information and take time to develop our skills,” reflected Mr Bryan Lau.
It was indeed a challenging task for the participants and the instructors to make the event a successful one. It is hoped that the memories from the camp will always be in the hearts of each participant, and that this event can provide a new beginning in their musical pathfinding journey.