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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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So Near Yet So Far

Indonesian tuba player Lasnointer Marbun wanted badly to study music in Singapore, a relatively expensive proposition. But in the end, it was English, not money, that stood in his way.

The talented 24-year-old musician grew up in a boys’ home in the Sumatran city of Medan because his farmer parents were too poor to bring him up.

He had his heart set on studying in Singapore’s Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) from 2006, but it was a hard slog mustering the $17,000-a-year course fees on his 800,000 rupiah (S$113) monthly salary as a musician.

After Noin – as he is often called – shared his Christmas wish to study here so he could be a composer some day, a 30-something Singaporean businessman who wanted to be known only as “Mr Ong” offered to sponsor his three-year course at Nafa.

The dream was tantalisingly close. Noin flew to Singapore in March and passed Nafa’s audition. Unfortunately, he could not make it through its mandatory English test.

He returned home a week later and took another stab at passing Nafa’s English requirement by taking the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language in April. But he managed a score equivalent to only 400 out of a maximum 677 points, 100 points shy of Nafa’s requirement.

It brought Noin to tears. “I felt so sad and disappointed, but what can I do? I know my English is not good.”

He has since enrolled himself in a four-year programme at Institut Seni Indonesia in Yogyakarta, the country’s premier music school.

Despite the setback, Mr Ong has stood by him. He bought Noin a S$5,700 E-flat tuba and $900 Acer laptop to compose music. He has also promised to pay Noin’s course fees and living expenses in Yogyakarta, of about S$4,300 a year.

Mr Ong says: “Noin came across as a sensible young man who is thoughtful yet resolute in living his life. I would like to support him to make it happen.”

Noin, meanwhile, is grateful for the opportunity to further his studies in music even though his Singapore dream has been dashed for now.

He doesn’t rule out another attempt at Singapore education. In the meantime, he will hit the books and work on his brass.

“I must improve,” he says.


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