Sunday, September 12, 2010

Aging-out with the Prince of Egypt 1

How on Earth did I ended up being involved with TIMBC?

Here’s how:

Exiting Stadium Melawati 2 months ago, I felt satisfied about my performance yet unfulfilled in something, there was this yearning to put our show up onto the stage once more. Many members voiced out their desire to have a shot at the MWBC 2010, but our form 3 students were too near the PMR trials, so our instructor did not approve of the trip. I was preparing to call it our final year with the rest of my fellow age-out band mates after our instructor’s decision.

Then came the letter of invitation from the organizers of TIMBC. The dates were perfect, a week after our SPM trials, giving opportunity for practices, and with our own instructor and headmaster’s enthusiasm toward the competition, we were soon planning and preparing for competition. The irony of the situation was that many of us form 5 members did joke about the impossibility of being involved with this competition early this year when we were first informed about it.

And when the waves of exam trials were over, we sped up to polish our show, and to switch to the yard system which was standard in Thailand. Many things had to be done, passports were one them.

1st of September came very soon, as I recall being on the bus to Hatyai by noon. Playing tenor drums this year, I took the bus for the convenience of my instrument, along with the tubist and other heavy instrument players, unlike most of the other members who were taking the train from Butterworth to Bangkok.

The competition:

2nd September
Arriving at Bangkok the following day at around 9am local time, we transverse through the heavy traffic until we reached the Bangkok's Sports and Tourism University at around 10am, where our hostel was located. The stadium we were to compete in was only 5 minutes walking distance from our hostel, and not to mention there was a shopping mall, also walking distance, to the right side of our hostel. All this were my impression of the perfect location, we even had mini convenience-store at the ground floor of our hostel. So given the mental assurance that I had a good place to stay in, I was definitely prepared physically.

The remaining 2 buses arrived around noon, as we rejoin many of our members and helped them unload. Practices were scarce, we had one right after our arrival, but many members were worn down by the travelling, so it wasn’t such a pleasant practice the 1st day, and it lasted only for 1 hour. Percussionist though had no choice, we stayed back to clean-up our drum battle routines, as it was happening the next day.

3rd September
Drum battle, an event I will surely re-tell my juniors in the future. Many of the younger members did not have a clue what it takes to face drummers from other places (I mean those really good ones). Having heard that we were up against a Thai drumline was enough to confirm my prediction that we were likely to be kicked out the 1st round we performed. And indeed, when we finally faced them, Surasak Montree, I couldn’t help but laugh at our own futile attempt to outclass them, just as they imitate nearly all our best moves, and actually doing it several times better, but I was also very happy to witness such an amazing battery team competing against us.

Following that event, we headed back to the hostel to join the rest of the band in preparation for the street parade. On the way to our starting point of the parade, we got the chance to see many other bands, namely the junior bands, in a multitude of uniforms, even seeing one dressed like the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, which was pretty amusing, seeing how crazy some teams are over the DCI circuit.

Somewhere around 2-3pm, we started off our parade around the heart of Bangkok. Touring around this parts of town was rather enjoyable, given the shade we were under along with the scenes of everyday life on the streets. But the 1.5km journey proved to be a taxing experience to many members, where several of them succumb to fatigue during the end of our parade. We stopped in front of the National Stadium waiting for the official time of the opening ceremony to come, and during that time, many of us took the time to recuperate.

The opening ceremony itself was a rather entertaining one. No pop singers, no big group dancers, it was all about the bands, rather unlike our local competition dare I say? The speeches were given out to which unfortunately many of us out of Thailand fail to understand. Nevertheless, we could tell the enthusiasm of the VIPs towards this event. After the singing of the Thai Anthem, fireworks roared across the stadium, revealing a giant welcome banner. As one of the percussion groups, we were pulled out of the march-pass towards the edge of the stadium as to continue with the event of drum battle demonstration in front of the VIPs. 1 representative from each country came to the back of the stadium to prepare for the show. While waiting, we were pleasantly surprise by the appearance of 2 tubist from our band on the big stadium screen, we apparently had won 2nd runner-up for the street parade! After the awarding ceremony, it was our turn to perform.

At the end of the day, we all worn out and tired, but it was definitely a day to remember. After showering and cleaning up, we prepared for the Welcoming dinner.

To be continued