KUALA LUMPUR: The St John’s Institution Naval Cadet Band represented Malaysia in the 30th Grand Prix Marching Band (GPMB) in Jakarta recently.
The event was Indonesia’s premier marching band competition.
Although the St John’s band was not competing, it was invited to perform in front of more than 2,000 of the best marching bands in Indonesia.
Drum major Muhamad Fahreez Putra Afendi Jali, 17, and 48 of his bandmates had been practicing for two months before performing at the event.
“We practised during the holidays from 7am to 10pm daily.
“The intensity was initially overwhelming but they were excited as this is the best thing that has ever happened to us, thanks to our parents’ support,” said band master Mohamed Effendi Ishak.
The band sold some merchandise to raise funds for the trip.
“We needed about RM80,000 for the airfare and accommodations. Bringing a band and big musical instruments around is not easy.
“The students also raised funds on their individual capacity, on top of the support received from the Education Ministry, the Parents Support Group, the alumni and other sponsors,” said head teacher Dr M. Puvanendran.
He added that it was the band’s first time going overseas and the boys looked forward to learning from the Indonesians.
“This will give them a great exposure and I hope they will be encouraged to take part in more international competitions,” he said. By Farezza Hanum Rashid