The Hill Tribe Magic Show in Chiangmai.
26 March 2008.
Pictures of the Chiangmai show!
Everybody was certainly nervous on the morning of March 26 th 2008.
Anxious would be a better word.
We all heard that “Chiangmai was a killing stage”, and that, very quickly, artists feel the reaction and sentiments of the spectators… good or bad.
Everybody was anxious to know if the Chiangmai people would be interested in hill tribe magic. Would the Chiangmai people like the Hill Tribe Magic Show… Would they love the hill tribe magicians… Would they appreciate the countless hours spent in creating a new kind of magic show, …
Three days before, the same troupe of young magicians performed in Chiangrai for over 100 VIPs who came from as far as Belgium, Malaysia and Bangkok.
Among them were members of the Thai and International corporate world, diplomats, nobles and representatives of The Palace in Bangkok.
The gala dinner at Insii Thai House had been a big success and everybody had congratulated the students.
But Chiangmai would be different. Much bigger, much grander, much more impressive, much riskier …
Besides over 400 VIPs, the local consuls, the managers of high quality hotels and large companies, the event was going to be presided by Jakrapob Penkair, Minister of The Prime Minister Office. Nothing could go wrong in order to not disappoint these important guests.
But it was not only about VIPs… What would the reaction of the 3600 other guests be?
There was only one show. Only one chance to succeed of fail to catch the heart of the Chiangmai people.
Probably more important in the eyes of the young artists was the reaction of thousands of hill tribe people coming to Chiangmai to watch “their” magicians. The reaction of thousands of Chiangmai spectators who would judge their abilities…
Anxious, was the atmosphere on the morning of March 26 th.
The guests started to arrive at the Chiangmai University Convention Hall around 6pm.
The VIPs were offered a cocktail party in the Sala room, while other people started to queue near the gates.
Very quickly the grounds of the Convention Hall were full of people and the doors had to be opened earlier than foreseen.
On their way to their seats, the guests could look at an art exhibition organized by the students of the Suksasongkroh Maechan School with their unseen products; ceramics, hill tribe batiks, wood work and furniture.
Other students of the Hill Tribe Violin Band were greeting the spectators in the enormous hall with Thai melodies and songs of the hills. The Hill Tribe Rock Band followed with popular Akha and Hmong pop songs.
At 7pm the Convention Hall was packed.
Not only were all the seats occupied. More spectators were still entering the room and had to sit on the stairs going to the second floor.
The Chiangmai people had responded and came in force… Anxiety transformed itself in happiness !
At 7.15 Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz, students of the Suksasongkroh Maechan School, Members of the Rotary and representatives of the Government Public Relations Office were waiting for Jakrapob Penkair, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, who was coming from Bangkok.
The minister was greeted and welcomed in the Sala room where he received a present from the students who prepared the exhibition.
He then proceeded to the VVIP seats where he sat together with Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz, the Governor of Chiangmai, Wiboon Sanguanpong, Somjai Sasomsarp, Executive Director of the Governement Public Relations Office, several diplomats, including the Consuls of India and Greece and members of the regions’ Rotary clubs.
Soon after, the MCs, Sansanee Sitapan Moller, of Morning Talk / Ch11 and DJ Job introduced the important guests and the Hill Tribe Magic Show started.
The stage was looking grandiose, with its giant colorful artistic playing cards as a décor, as well as the 40 hill tribe performers, dancers and musicians who accompanied the magicians all along.
Traditional music and modern pop songs were blended with magic. Hill tribe costumes added even more charm to this yet unseen way of performing magic on stage for more than one and a half hour.
The approach of the young magicians in creating their show was resolutely different from whatever had been done before. Small theater plays or poems accompanied the magic tricks, smooth rhythm or loud drum performances built the atmosphere, humor made spectators laugh, …
All in all the Hill Tribe Magic Show has been spectacular and the reaction of the crowd very positive.
While the aim of the young magicians was to surprise the audience and make both kids and adults enjoy their great show, they also wanted to remember someone who was of great importance to the country and sadly left us recently. The show stopped briefly to remember H.R.H Princess Galyani and the Chiangrai Youth Orchestra played 3 minutes in her honor.
After such a successful performance, the students can be very proud of their achievements.
But one must not forget that such a production required many more talents.
The students’ teacher, Sylvain Sluys (Sylvain The Magician), from Belgium, certainly had to work hard to transfer his magic knowledge in such a short time. The musicians had to work hard to adapt their tones to magic. Dancers were part of the show all along, the violinists were constantly in the background… Not to forget, the whole team which stayed behind the scene to prepare the stage and the lighting.
All of them succeeded in transforming the show in a “ Hollywood style production” which will not be forgotten.
The Government Public Relations Office made it possible to reach the audience from the remotest mountains and allow the new Hill Tribe Magic Troupe to gain instant fame among their own people.
But the Hill Tribe Magic Show was also part of a broader project of Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz and the Rotary Club of Maechan. A project aimed at giving the students a chance to reach a brighter future with special knowledge.
In this case, everybody hopes that magic knowledge will allow the students, who all come from disadvantaged families, to make extra revenues.
After all the work that has been done it should be now the task of the corporate world to help these young magicians, who have their own identity and their own show. They make a different magic, they have a different charm.
To become world class magicians the students will need to perform even more.
They have already been offered to make a show in two hotels, as well as in Penang, Malaysia.
Everybody hopes that more hotels or companies will follow and be part of the students’ future by allowing them to perform and make revenues.
The real magic will occur when these students will be able to use their skills to come out of poverty and, why not, be internationally applauded magicians.