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JIS comes alive to ‘The Sound of Music’

JERUDONG International School (JIS) students produced yet another spectacular show recently, as more than 50 of them took the stage in the school’s adaptation of the classic musical ‘The Sound of Music’.

Based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, ‘The Sound of Music’ is the final musical written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein before Hammerstein’s death in 1960.

The story follows the plight of Maria (Eden Chiam), who reluctantly takes a job as a governess to a large family while she decides about her future vocation, only to fall in love first with the children, then eventually with their widowed father, Captain von Trapp (Chuck Ionescu).

However, the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly for Maria, and she’s soon forced to take drastic action to protect her new family from the wrath of the rising Nazi army (or ‘First Order’ as they were called in the production).

The show was peppered with some of the world’s best-known musical numbers. The tone was set as Chiam belted out the title track ‘The Sound of Music’ with all the composure and assurance of a seasoned performer. Mother Matron (Freda Ngu), backed by Sisters Margaretta (Elanor Briffa), Berthe (Hannah Bourbon) and Sophia (Natsune Nishi), performed ‘Maria’ with aplomb.

Maria and the von Trapp children singing ‘Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do’

Maria and the von Trapp children singing ‘Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do’

Captain von Trapp, portrayed by Chuck (left) and Shana as Baroness Elsa von Schraeder. – PHOTOS: JIS

Captain von Trapp, portrayed by Chuck (left) and Shana as Baroness Elsa von Schraeder. – PHOTOS: JIS

The von Trapp family and part of the chorus singers in a scene from the finale

The von Trapp family and part of the chorus singers in a scene from the finale

This was followed by back-to-back hits, with Chiam again excelling in her renditions of classics ‘My Favourite Things’ and ‘Do-Re-Mi’ – the latter aided ably by the irrepressible von Trapp children Liesl (Renee Teo), Louisa (Rafeeqa Teo), Friedrich (Zed Smith), Kurt (Malo Sandow), Brigitta (Charley Grimshaw), Marta (Evelyn Hogan) and Gretl (Zoe Zhi Yi Chan). Egged on by their quirky ‘uncle’ Max (hilariously portrayed by Nick Bourbon), the von Trapp children were a constant source of entertainment, their innocence and optimism brilliantly captured by the talented cast, not least in their renditions of ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ and ‘So Long, Farewell’.

While the excellent performances of those on-stage deservedly took the plaudits on the night, perhaps the most impressive thing about ‘The Sound of Music’ was that it was a culmination of an entire school’s efforts, coming together as one to create a truly outstanding spectacle.

What the audience may not have noticed was the huge amount of work that went on behind the scenes, with hundreds of students and staff working on everything from set design and construction, costumes and choreography, to lighting and sound, props and hair and make-up.

“The skills most valued by employers awaiting these students are complex problem-solving, creative thinking, reflective improvement and collaborative communication,” said JIS Principal Barnaby Sandow.

“Every single scene in this play has been forged through each of these skills. The set has evolved into a solution-focussed masterpiece, each piece of choreography has weaved aesthetics into the narrative, every interchange has improved as a critical contribution of each participant. The value for me in the learning is even greater than the pride I feel in their performances.”

Borneo Bulletin | March 21, 2018