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FOBISIA Festival Journal - Jeju

16 maart 2016

Members of our Secondary Choir visited Jeju in Korea last weekend for the FOBISIA Festival. Our Head of Music, Ms Rakowski has written the below diary as to what the group got up to over the 4 days they were away. 

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Day 1 – Thursday 10 March

After a very early start at school, we set off for Pudong airport and started our FOBISIA adventure. Right from the word go, there was already lots of singing on the bus! The journey was stress free and we arrived to a very windy, chilly Jeju island in the afternoon.

We were all very hungry, so went straight to the local pizza restaurant to have some lunch before exploring the facilities at NLCS, Jeju. All students were staying in Bali boarding house, and had their own bathrooms, as well as a communal kitchen that became very useful for post rehearsal toast and coffee!

We were welcomed to the school by a performance from their school orchestra, as well as an ensemble made up of local Korean instruments. Even though we were all exhausted, there was still a 2 hour rehearsal after dinner, which was very difficult as it was the first time that all the schools had come together to sing, and there was a lot of work that still needed to be done.

Day 2 – Friday 11 March             

Having had a good night’s sleep, we were all ready for a day of intensive rehearsals. These included sectionals split into sopranos, altos, tenors and basses, as well as splitting into senior and junior choirs. We made huge progress and worked very hard to really get to know the music that we were going to perform the next day in the concert. The students also had the chance to audition for some solo roles in the songs, and Verlaine, Leon, Dayoung and Sabrina were all successful and were chosen for a semi chorus. Zoe and Carlo also had leading roles in one of the songs playing percussion. For dinner we were treated to a traditional Korean meal, including kimchi and the local Jeju tangerines.

In the evening, we were extremely lucky to go to a show called ‘The Painters’. It was a group of 4 men who combined music, dance, and art to create phenomenal pieces of art work in very quick time. They had us laughing, crying and we all left feeling inspired. A must see if anyone visits Jeju Island!

Day 3 – Saturday 12 March

The morning started with a beautiful walk around the coast of Jeju. The weather was cold but sunny and the students really enjoyed the fresh air and the chance to stretch their legs. The scenery was gorgeous and it was lovely to be so close to the sea. On our return the rehearsals, began and were even more intense as it was the concert day! Our conductor, Bethan Clark, wanted the performance to be as professional as possible so we spent a lot of time perfecting the pieces and making sure that all our movement on stage was executed smoothly. After dinner was the concert! All 120 students from 8 schools across Asia came together to perform to a full auditorium and they sang brilliantly! It was amazing to witness how much progress they made in such a short space of time. After the concert, we were all on a high and spent the evening at the festival social, where there was a lot of dancing and eating Haribo! Everybody was buzzing after such an incredible experience and our students were definitely the most sociable school.

Day 4 – Sunday 13 March

Fortunately our flight wasn’t until the evening, so we were able to spend the morning exploring more of the island. We visited the local tea planation as well as an aerospace museum where the students were able to climb inside a selection of old aircrafts. As the rain began to start, we headed back to the boarding houses and spent the afternoon relaxing in one of the common rooms, watching a DVD on bean bags after an intense and tiring few days. We then had to say goodbye to Jeju, the school and all the friends that we had made their. Everybody was sad to go home after such an amazing trip. Congratulations to all the students who took part in the trip, it was a fantastic experience for everyone involved and the experience that they gained will boost our school choirs even further.

A few quotes heard throughout the trip:

‘I never knew singing could be so much fun’

‘Can we sing these songs when we get back to school in our choir?’

‘When is the next choir trip?’

‘I don’t know why some people think choir is boring, I think it’s awesome’

‘I wish this trip was a week long, it’s gone too quickly.’

‘Yesterday I didn’t know what I was doing, but today I can actually follow the music!’

Charlie Rakowski, Head of Music