Wednesday 24 th of October was a day of musical celebration at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater.
600 distinguished invited guests attended a unique and unconventional concert presided by H.E. Mr. Jan Matthysen, Ambassador of Belgium in Thailand.
The event, initiated by Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz and the Rotary Clubs of Maechan and Bangkorlaem, was the finale of a wonderful musical experience for 40 children of the Chiangrai hills.
The musicians of Belgian band Belch’Quartet accepted an invitation to join a 2 months project in which innovation and musical creativity was their sole guidelines.
Rather than merely importing their western skills and knowledge, they came to learn about the local cultures and their work soon evolved towards a real fusion of styles.
After only a month of intensive rehearsal with the students at the Suksasongkroh School of Maechan, they successfully achieved their goal, respecting but uniting cultures, traditions and modernity.
Jazz, traditional songs, rock, Thai melodies and hill tribes’ compositions kept surprising the audience, with the Belgian musicians and the students singing several times in each other’s language.
The event was an occasion to remember the special friendship between H.M. King Bhumibol and former King Baudouin of Belgium, with a photo exhibition presented during the cocktail party which took place earlier in the evening. But it is during the concert that emotions and memories were brought back, when the students sang a song written by Thapuying Pungjit Subhamitra as a tribute to King Baudouin.
Celebration has been an exceptional experience for these disadvantaged children. They not only could achieve their dream of going to perform in Bangkok… They have been allowed a chance to also be part of this year of celebration of their King, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej.