I did not have high expectations when I went for the Kinta Valley Wind Orchestra (KVWO) inaugural concert on the 4th of July 2010. It was to be held in the Syuen Hotel - not the best place with the best acoustics. I told my husband that I would stay until 930pm max, regardless whether the concert was over or not.
But the night turned out to be extremely enjoyable, with the orchestra members enthusiastic and full of promise, and with tremendous local support as the Syuen ballroom was packed out. So there is room and demand for orchestral music and the arts in Ipoh! We stayed till the end of the concert at well past 10pm.
The 50 member-strong wind orchestra comprised musicians of all ages, mainly novice and amateur players supplemented by the presence and service of professional musicians from the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra who gave of their service freely. Such is their commitment to music.
The KVWO was formed in January 2010 under the auspices of the Kinta Valley Symphonic Society, founded by the generous grant given by Dato' KK Lim. Eugene Pook was brought on board to be the first artistic director and conductor of the orchestra. At the same time, Eugene is also music director of the Perak Society of Performing Arts and advisor to the Youth Circle of Arts Malaysia.
Given the short time with which the musicians had to prepare for the concert, their performance that night was commendable. Conductor Eugene Pook shared with the audience that when he auditioned the musicians, he was heartened that so many turned up for the audition - that was the good news. The bad news, as Eugene put it, "They cannot play! Oh man, I've got a lot of work to do" - to the amusement of the audience. Well the hard work put in by all has certainly paid off. Well done!
I look forward to the growing orchestral and arts scene in Ipoh, never really expecting it to be vibrant here at all. Pleasant surprises to living in Ipoh .....