Students from three top schools in Muscat put their heads and hands together to belt out music that melted many hearts. Alvin Thomas strikes a chord with the brains behind the beats.
What happens when three of Oman’s top schools unite together to put on a show? The answer is simple: they create a symphony – and one that transcends all perceivable levels.
The balmy evening of October 7th came to life when 55 students – all united by their love for music – from The American International School of Muscat (TAISM), the British School Muscat (BSM) and the American British Academy (ABA) got together to indulge their audience in an evening of harmony at the Donald and Eloise Bosch Center at TAISM.
And you know what? They shone, much to the bliss and delight of all the visitors present at the arena to listen to the young hands orchestrate their tunes.
It had to be seen to be believed; the students performing on the day came together as a unit only a few hours ago. What this essentially means is that the young students – who range all the way from middle school to seniors in high school – mustered the confidence to synchronise themselves with one other during their short practice sessions.
But that’s not all: they mastered the ability to keep the unity alive by maintaining a keen eye on the notes that lay in front of them and by putting on a can-do attitude to put up a majestic show.
They really hit all the right notes – literally and figuratively.
Some of the music played during the concert included pieces like Hans Zimmer’s Backdraft (from the 90s); some tunes from Star Wars series; and original compositions such as the Spitfire and the Pride of Youth by Darryl Barry.
Darryl who? We’re talking about the ranger for the Royal Guard and the Royal Oman Symphony – Darryl Barry. He has been touted as a public figure among the musical community in the Sultanate.
“I just think that it is important to emphasise the collaborative nature of this festival and the fact that we are breaking down barriers between schools, nationalities, cultures and age groups,” said Dillan, the band director at TAISM.
“Another amazing fact about the festival – in my view – is that the professionals who play for the Muscat Brass have worked with the students in preparation for the concert in their sections. But that’s not all: they are also sitting alongside them and playing during the concert so that they get an idea of what an incredible sound brass is,” he added.
Fellow instrument teacher from the BSM, Dan Anthony, shared the same opinion as Dillan.
“This is a big collaborative project,” Dan said.
“I’ve asked all my friends to come and help out. We are very lucky to have Darryl Barry conducting and writing all the music for the event, so it is definitely a big team effort between the three schools.
“This is also something I am trying to get more of – the collaboration between big schools in Muscat. We have got a variety of collaborative projects set up for the whole year.
“I think music is coming of age in Muscat. All these three school have got instrumental programmes in place that are emerging, and we are seeing the dawn of a new age for the kids, which is fantastic.
“The standards are coming up, and this is what this weekend is all about. It’s getting children who don’t know each other, feeding off each other and raising everybody’s game.”
There’s no lying: the weekend was a great success and another feather on the hat for the three schools that put forward their second brass night. And Dillan optimistically said all of this was only a start of things to come.
“There’s a possibility of having a wind band festival here in January and some other musical projects too. We’re working to bring it to a wide audience,” he tells me, with a wide smile on his face.