Felicity Glover heads to TAISM to witness a magical weekend of music and new friendships thanks to a dedicated group of teachers and musicians.
It was a weekend like no other for a select group of 43 students from The American International School of Muscat (TAISM), British School Muscat (BSM) and ABA.
Ranging from year 6 to year 12, their common denominator was their love of music and the fact that were all learning a brass instrument via their respective schools, from trombones to trumpets, French horns, tenor horns, euphoniums and tubas.
While sport may bring out the competitive spirit of TAISM, BSM and ABA on the pitch or in the pool, the aim of this weekend at the TAISM campus in Ghala was to unite the children under one banner – or on stage, in this case – as a musical group that had never played together before.
And so it was that the “Big Brass Weekend” was born, a weekend in which they would learn to collaborate and play music together with the help of some very dedicated teachers and some of the city’s most talented musicians, including members of the Muscat Brass group.
The brainchild of Dan Anthony, an instrumental teacher at BSM, and Kevin Schafer, the director of TAISM, the weekend culminated in a special performance by the students for friends and families in TAISM’s impressive Bosch Center.
The weekend included masterclasses for the kids, as well as lessons, demonstrations by specialist musicians, learning new music for their concert, as well as socialising and getting to know each other.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity for our schools,” says Tessa Rolster, a year 12 student at BSM who plays the trumpet.
“It improves your sight reading and you are going at such a pace that your skills really improve.”
Playing under the expert direction of Darrol Barry, the concert included numbers such as Pharrell Williams’ Happy, the theme song from Skyfall and Trepac.
“It seemed like a no-brainer to get the kids together,” says Dan Anthony. “Kevin has been unbelievably supportive [as well as] offering TAISM’s facilities.
“What I hope most is that they [the children] have enjoyed their time and we are hoping to do this again, perhaps at BSM in the third term.”
There’s no doubt that the weekend was a great success. Just ask trombone player Hendy Ginting, a year 8 student at BSM, who took a quick break between rehearsals to talk to us.
“I am making more amazing new friends at this and learning more. At the end of the day, the three schools played together as one big brass group. It was incredible.”