Kuching School Band Does Malaysia Proud In U.S. By Beating 56 Other Bands
A 73-member band from St. Joseph's School in Kuching has made the country proud overseas by winning the US Band Association's Yamaha Cup at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
It is also the first and the only band from outside the United States to be invited to take part in the annual competition for American high school marching bands, which took place on 26 September.
According to The Star, the Kuching band scored 90.1 points to emerge champions in the 3A class for middle-sized bands with up to 75 performing members. The band was practising for the past few months and had given a preview performance of their Rach 2 drill show for family members and supporters earlier in September.
Not only did they earn the highest score among the 56 bands which competed in 11 categories, they also swept all the awards in their class for best colour guard, music, overall effect, percussion and visual for their drill show based on Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2.thestar.com.my
The two-week trip to the United States included a four-day training camp in Atlanta where the band members were hosted by the Kennesaw Mountain High School marching band.
They also spent time in Boston and New York visiting famous places such as the Juilliard School, Metropolitan Opera House and Harvard University.
Abdul Karim, the State Assistant Youth Development Minister, said the band's success brought honour to Sarawak and Malaysia
Meanwhile, SJS band director June Ling said the win was not about beating other teams but setting their own benchmark and being accredited by top judges, The Star Online reported
“This is possible because of the international team we managed to assemble through Jonathan Fox, our programme co-ordinator, who worked closely with our students.
“Top American instructors from Drum Corp International collaborated with local music arrangers to write and teach the music and drill for the show.
“We are also very thankful for the strong local community support without which this life-changing experience would not have been possible,” she said.
Speaking about their experience, 14-year-old trumpet player Aiman Mohd Nizam said that while it was an overwhelming crowd there, "we did our best and in the end all our hard work paid off"