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Music Exams

Three BBJ quintets were examined by officials from the London-based Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM) in Medan on Sept 5. Two brass quintets were examined in the intermediate category and one in the primary category. All passed. Read about it here. 

Performance at Sun Plaza

On Indonesia's Independence Day, August 17, 2014 BBJ gave a special performance at Medan's Sun Plaza.

North Sumatra Music Camp

BBJ members attended a special music camp in Brastagi organised by the Salvation Army's North Sumatra division from July 29 to August 3, 2014. Apart from about 60 brass players, there were also 20 choir members and about 10 others learning to play the timbrel. Read about it here.

BBJ Cirebon tour

In December 2013 BBJ travelled to Cirebon in Java to participate in the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Salvation Army's work in the city. 

BBJ sends band trainer to Bekasi

BBJ sent band trainer Ganda Sinaga to Bekasi corps to help establish a Salvation Army band in this satellite city of Jakarta in early December 2013. The move came only a few months after BBJ sent two band trainers to Surabaya in July 2013. 

Second hand instruments were provided from Singapore on loan. Should the project be successful, these will then be donated. 

BBJ tuba player Lasnointer Marbun is already in the process of establishing an SA band in Yogyakarta. Read about it here.  

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Learning to give

There was no band practice scheduled, but as I walked towards BBJ's rehearsal room I noticed that it was full.  Dispensing with the chairs, BBJ members lounged on the risers as one of their number sat on the floor counting money scattered on the floor. It mostly consisted of dirty crumpled notes in small denominations - the sort of thing regularly exchanged in the poorer back streets of Indonesia's cities.

In recent years, as increasing numbers of  band members have left the Boys Home and taken jobs in Medan, I have grown used to seeing these young men take the initiative regarding band matters. Older members have also been increasingly active in helping each other find accommodation and jobs - something  I hardly expected when I first formed the band back in 1987. 

But collecting money was something new. "It is for Nias," bandmaster Danias Karosekali told me.

BBJ members had heard that former BBJ trombone player Yudhykana Laia (Yudhy) wanted to organise a party for the children who attended Sunday school at a remote village in southern Nias where he lived with his relatives. Lying 125km off the west coast of Sumatra, Nias is a rugged island about the size of Bali. Known for its poverty, and largely ignored by the rest of the world - including policymakers in Jakarta - it suffered a devastating earthquake in March 2005. The money was to go to Lawa-Lawa Luo village, about 65km south of Gunungsitoli, the administrative capital.

What I didn't expect was that Danias would double that.
"Whatever the amount is, I will double it," I told band members. And so I did. But what I didn't expect was that Danias would double that. Danias, who recently obtained a degree in accounting from a local university after years of part-time study, has always been especially generous in helping less fortunate band members. So, all in all, the children at Lawa-Lawa village received Rp one million (US$110) from BBJ.

The report BBJ members later received from Yudhykana revealed that the children ate Christmas cake for the first time ever! About 100 children were expected, but more came with their parents without invitation, thus putting a strain on available resources. "But we had to welcome them," Yudhy said. The children were given four kinds of snacks, as well as books and pencils (needed for school). There were also special prizes for those who could answer a simple Bible question. And special gifts for regular attendance at Sunday School.

"I tried to give everyone a present, but there was not enough," he said. "I promised to give them a present when we start Sunday School next week.". No prizes for figuring out where the money for that came from. Yudhy has a generous heart too.

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