Sun, 01 Jun 2003

Late Painter's legacy helping youth choir go places

Fifi Yulianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Internationally acclaimed artist Affandi continues to do some good for his country, 13 years after his death.

Three of his works -- Tangkuban Perahu, Self Portrait Affandi (sketch) and Still Life -- were sold at auction at a fund-raising night and masterpieces exhibition to help the Parahyangan Catholic University Choir to compete in the eighth International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany, from June 5 to June 11.

To show the diversity of its range, the choir opened with Karaban Sape, a Madurese folk song about bull racing, at the fund-raiser at the Grand Hyatt in Central Jakarta.

Singer-cum-author Dewi "Dee" Lestari was a guest performer, singing Melati Suci (Pure Jasmine), while soprano Binu D. Sukarman sang Wanita (Women) and soprano Mahalia Tambunan performed All I Ask of You from the Phantom of the Opera and Koren' Grato, accompanied by noted designer Harry Darsono on piano. Harry also hosted the event.

Ambassadors, businesspeople as well as local singers and musicians attended the event, which also included an exhibition of 62 other works by Affandi.

A total of Rp 1.35 billion (US$165,239) was raised, including through the sale of a painting by Djoko Pekik. Ten percent of the funds went to the choir, but additional donations from the audience brought the total to Rp 250 milllion.

Unfortunately, it was still far below the projected Rp 400 million needed to fund the trip for the 36-member choir.

"A total of Rp 300 million will be used for airline tickets while the rest will be for accomodation and other matters," said the choir's PR officer, Nancy Margried Panjaitan.

"We still have a Rp 100 million deficit although each member of the choir has contributed Rp 3 million."

Nancy said the choir appreciated all the donations, particularly from main sponsor Bank Mandiri Prioritas.

Prior to their departure for Germany, the choir will stage a concert at Erasmus Huis on Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said, South Jakarta, on Monday.

Becoming a member of the choir, which is the only one from Asia to participate in the biennial contest, is not as hard as it seems. All Parahyangan Catholic University students are allowed to join in as long as they make a commitment to the rehearsal schedule.

"The choir is the right place where I can explore my interest in music. I really love to sing," said one choir member, Donny.

"Most of us never complain about the rehearsals because we really enjoy it."

Donny said that alumni from the university can join the choir.

"As long as they take part in the audition and pass, they can join in the choir for competitions, just like the one we will have in Germany. Some of the choir members are alumni."

Traveling with the choir is conductor Avip Priatna. The choir, which was established in 1962, has distinguished itself in various competitions, such as runner-up in the mixed choir and musica sacra categories at the Linz 2000 Choir Olympics in Linz, Austria, and first prize in the folk song category in the XLV Concorso Polifonico Internazionale Guido d'Arezzo 1997 in Arezzo, Italy.

The choir also won the first prize and highest score for an obligatory work in the large mixed choir category at the Netherlands International Koor Festival 1995 in Arnhem, the Netherlands.