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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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BBJ Studio

In November 2008, immediately after our very successful concert that month, band members began work on BBJ's (Medan band's) very own music studio. Until then, all rehearsals were held in the adjoining church, which meant that everything had to be tidied up and rearranged after each rehearsal. It also meant that if the church was being used for some other activity, band members could not practice.

Major Spener (the superintendent of the Boys Home at the time) allocated the band a room previously used as a storage area.  We moved out all the junk, cleaned up the room and put BBJ's name on the door.

Then began the job of converting a bare room into a decent rehearsal studio. The most important point about such a studio, of course, is to find as many ways as possible to reduce the echoes produced by the tiled floor and brick walls. The first thing we did was salvage whatever we could find among the junk. We found some old, dirty carpet and washed it thoroughly:

We also found an old termite infested wooden cupboard. This was carried into the corridor for repair so we could have somewhere to store the band's music library. This is not always a good idea. Termites eat paper as well as wood! But we were short of money (as usual), and as a temporary solution it worked OK.

Here's how we measured up the wood panels.

I bought about 50 meters of the cheapest carpet I could find. Band members then began to take measurements in the corridor outside.

We put the carpet on the walls as well as on the floor.

But because there was not enough for all the walls, we hung second hand curtains along the back. These curtains were only made of a light material - not the sort of thing professionals would use. But by hanging them about two inches out from the wall we were able to trap the sound fairly effectively. Notice also the fan. It was the only one we had!

Next came the lighting. This was only a temporary solution, of course, since we knew the entire ceiling would have to be redone in order to improve the acoustics.

With the studio half completed, the senior band held a meeting to discuss progress and work out what to do next. That's me at the front talking to the band.

Here is another picture of those present at our strategy meeting.

Then it was time for junior band practice. It was run by Imanta, the junior band leader.

We covered the ceiling with egg containers.
After that we worked on the ceiling. We covered it with egg containers. They were held in place by a network of wires strung across the ceiling. We used wire because we found that the glue we had was not strong enough to hold them up.  In the following photograph you can also see the risers on the floor. The idea is to ensure that everyone is able to see the band conductor. The risers were made of wood and then covered in carpet. They were also portable, so they could be used for concerts.

Afterwards came the tidying up. As you can see, we also hung curtains at the back to conceal the ugly looking wooden cupboards. Such curtains also had an important acoustic function. Not long afterwards, BBJ's music studio was ready!

The large window has no glass. This is because of the need to let in as much fresh air as possible. It is very hot in the tropics, and the band is not able to afford air conditioning.

After that, of course, it was time for a nap!

Read more about how to make your own rehearsal studio in the section on music and physics. Click here.

For more pictures of BBJ members, go to the BBJ Photo Album.

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