Island News

Young performers thrill audience

Written By : WAME BAUTOLU. The reception area of the Sofitel Resort was full with visitors as students of Mount Saint Mary School stood anxiously waiting for the music to
30 Aug 2008 12:00

image Written By : WAME BAUTOLU. The reception area of the Sofitel Resort was full with visitors as students of Mount Saint Mary School stood anxiously waiting for the music to start.
Standing nervously, the sound of the enchantment could be heard as they move emotionally to its sound, but still they are very nervous.
As the drum beat started, they begin to gain confidence and when finally the beat gets faster and thundered through the hallway, the sound of the bass beat gave the students enough confidence to shout and sing along to the lyrics of the meke.
The crowd anxiously clapped, acknowledging the fine performances displayed by the students.
For all of these students, this was their first performance ever in the public arena and the nervousness could be seen on their face as their performance started.
But for the teacher in charge of the group Pasikali Navukula said he was proud that his students had put together a fine performance for audience from around the country.
“These are class six students whose performance was notice by one of the marketing officers of the Fiji Visitors Bureau during our prize giving ceremony last year,” said Mr Navukula.
After their performance the school was approached by one of the FVB Marketing Officers and was asked if the students could perform during functions at Hotels and this idea was welcomed by them.
The same students who were in class five last year was suppose to make their debut last year in a business forum but due to some problems the forum was cancelled.
After almost a year of waiting, they were able to make their debut in front of participants of this year’s ANZ Fiji Tourism Forum which was held on Friday, August 22.
“This is our first public performance and the students enjoy entertaining especially in front of many people. Some of them couldn’t believe that they have just performed infront of a big crowd but they have enjoyed the experience,” said Mr Navukula. The group is well versatile with three different traditional Fijian meke and their teacher said there is a possibility of teaching them one or two more.
Now with public exposure, Mr Navukula said this has boasted the student’s confidence while performing in front of large crowds.
“Teaching these students on how to meke is never an easy task as majority of them doesn’t speak Fijian fluently. They usually understand the movement first before they understand the meaning of the meke.”
The teacher from Naqelecibi in Ra said teaching these students traditional Fijian dance is hard and one needed to be patience in order to get it through to them.
“It took more than two weeks for these students to understand the main concept of the meke. We really had worked hard in trying to get these students the concept of the meke but patience plays an influential factor in this,” said Mr Navukula.
For more than two weeks during the school’s lunch break, the students involve in the meke group would take at least 15 minutes lunch break before they run off to Mr Navukula’s class spending their rest of the lunch hour practicing. The students are being taught the meke their teacher had learn during his High School days at Nasinu Secondary School.
But way back then, the students would usually sing the lyrics of the meke but now all those lyrics have been composed and sung with a touch of modern technology by local boy band, Black Rose.
The teacher said his students are lucky because they dance to the lyrics of the old meke blended with a touch of today’s musical technology which probably brings the meke to life.
Their debut performance was on Friday on the first week of the second term holiday and the group just had meet the previous day just to touch on a few things before performing in front of the public.
With their delightful performance, the group will perform in any function and the money they earn will go towards the school.
Mr Navukula said this was a way of fundraising for the school without demanding much from parents or from the students themselves.
The school had thought of sending the group in an overseas tour but all those ideas were just speculation and the teacher in charge said he doesn’t think that would be possible this year as they have just started.
No the school doesn’t take part in Tadra Kahani competition and the teacher in charge said the decision will have to come from their head teacher but at the moment they are enjoying what they are doing so far. So far the school is raising money through its choir who also goes around hotels singing.
“The group consists of class six to eight students who sings at hotels or any special function they are invited to. The group contains 40 to 50 students and they have three teachers altogether looking after them,” said Mr Navukula.
Students who want to join the choir or the meke group usually volunteered and the final decision is made by the teachers in charge. Now feeling more confident of the student’s performance, the class five teacher said he and the students are excited to perform in any function after they had capture stakeholders attention during the Tourism Forum.
Looking into the future Mr Navukula is confidence that they would probably get invitations to perform in other hotels, but for him, his student’s welfare and priority comes first.
“For us, our students’ education comes first and we won’t focus much in getting them to be perfect in meke. We will just touch up on their moves when we get an invitation to perform somewhere but for now its school work as usual,” said Mr Navukula. With the third term starting tomorrow, Mr Navukula said he is looking forward in meeting up with their students because he wants to hear about what it felt like performing in front of a large crowd for the first time.



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