Social initiative strongly supports school band in Miri

MIRI: As part of its commitment to providing assistance to various communities across the state, iM Sarawak has donated new instruments to SMK St Columba’s brass band.

Established in 1996, the St Columba Military Band was the first of its kind here and since then, it has been a regular feature at prominent public events such as the Miri City Day and National Day parades. In 2011, the group took home the bronze medal at the National Championships in Kuala Lumpur.

“Recognising the value that music can have in the lives of children, we are pleased to support these young musicians and provide them with the opportunity to unlock their potential and foster their talent.

“The band members were thrilled to receive the new instruments, including a convertible tuba and two mellophones,” a statement from iM Sarawak said yesterday.

Active ensemble: The group performing at SMK St Columbaâ¿TMs 59th Annual Sports Day at Miri Stadium.
Active ensemble: The group performing at SMK St Columba’s 59th Annual Sports Day at Miri Stadium.

SMK St Columba alumnus Darrell Nabeng Dominic, who took six months off his university studies to work with the band, remarked: “We are delighted with what iM Sarawak did, as many of our 20-year-old instruments have yet to be replaced. We want to win the National Championships someday but right now, what we really need are new instruments to help us get there. In this regard, iM Sarawak’s support is certainly a step in the right direction.”

Along with learning about music, many of the band members enthusiastically spoke about how joining the band had helped them understand the value of teamwork, discipline and diligence, as well as gaining a place of pride in the school.

Darrell remembered his time in the band fondly.

“We really worked hard in raising funds, practising more than 12 hours a week and yet, maintaining our grades. We helped each other with homework,” he reminisced.

Jeanette Ngu, the band’s longest serving teacher-advisor added: “These charges perform consistently better in examinations. I think it is because they have greater discipline and improved memory from learning many music sheets.”

Other graduates and former band members also find time to support and guide the band. Angel Hii — who was the band’s president last year and is now pursuing her studies at Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia — recalled how the experience shaped her.

“Prior to joining the band, I was not a confident person or a leader, but then I became one — the seniors had helped me. I have also learnt that success means to never give up; to fight for what you believe in, work hard towards it and then lead others, guiding them to make them better.”

A social development initiative led by 1Malaysia Sarawak Advisory Council (1MSAC), iM Sarawak is designed to bring long-term sustainable benefits to the people, especially the rural communities. Its projects, which started in June 2013, are expected to benefit more than 30,000 people in Sarawak.

Parent body 1MSAC was established in June 2013 to advise the Prime Minister on the needs of the communities in the remote areas and interior of Sarawak. It gathers input from the people and various government agencies to identify and propose social development projects that can give maximum benefit to Sarawakians.

The council is chaired by Julau MP Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, with committee members comprising Limbang MP Hasbi Habibollah, Mas Gading MP Anthony Nogeh Gombek, former Rajang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo and Irwan Zulkarnain Muhammad Hasbie.

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