The dust has settled. The fever felt before and during the Finale had subsided. Now it's time to move on. It is time to prepare for next year's challenge. But that's given. What's interesting is the preparation to face the fame and the newly found popularity of the team. Is it good or bad? I can say... neither.
We've never won more than silver since the team was formed in 1997. And for the first time, under the tutelage of Cg Rosman Ngah and coupled with out of this world enthusiasm of the whole team plus the encouragment and support of old boys, teachers and parents, MCWO received the Gold Award during the Preliminary Round. Not oonly we got the Gold, which was the target for 2007, we received the Most Improved Team award as well. But what came as a shock, was when we were selected to be the 5 finalists! That's a step above expectation. way to go.
Fast forward to the Finale at Putrajaya Convention Centre. The team arrived quite late, Saturday night instead of Saturday morning, thus the time for sound check and balancing needed to be cut short. The delay was due to the MCKK Speech Day where YDP Agong was the Guest of Honor and of course, the Orchestra performed and received enthusiastic reviews by the guests that include Raja Nazrin and the Minister of Education, Dato Hishamuddin Hussein, who's also and Old Boy.
On Sunday morning, the team went for balancing at the hall. Somehow the sound was not as anticipated. And the mood was quite... how can I say it... dark. The team felt uncomfortable and unsure. Scared I guess. Nervous maybe. And those feelings resulted in a not-so-memorable sound. Morale was quite low. And the competition was only several hours away.
Somehow the mood changed when we were there that night. I've no idea what kind of medication the kids got themselves :-) And everyone seemed cheery! Cg Rosman and I were quite late, coz we had to go back to SAS to pick up the bow tie box which the boys had forgotten to bring along. The boys were happy and handsome in their mess kits. And they began to converge at the hallway in front of their given prep room. When I checked inside, whoa, the room's divided into 2 and on the other side were the SDARians, also tuning and practising. No wonder we were outside. Hahaha. But come to think of it, why on earth do the organisers gave 2 teams only 1 room? And being an orchestra competition, surely hell would break loose? But we being budak koleq, tend to adapt. The boys didn't mind being outside. And now it looked like a camp ground. Sitting on the floor, the boys were having a good time :-)
In the hall, there were a lot of Old Boys. En Hamdan of MCOBA was at the door, trying to keep note of those Old Boys who had informed MCOBA of their attendance. What a noble thing to do. Thank you En Hamdan. Then I saw so many Old Boys :-) Never before so many Old Boys came to see MCWO perform (pls exclude OBWs) and its very heartwarming!! Thank you brothers!!! Even Pak Engku came.
Back to the waiting room, or err, the waiting hallway, the boys were waiting patiently. One can hear snippets of jokes coming from certain smaller groups and hearty laughter ensued. And finally the time came. The boys were led onto the stage. I went back into the hall and nervously stood with Mon and his videocam. They performed. They performed very well!
And after being told to wait at 2 different places, the boys finally were sent back to the hall and sit at their reserved seats which were filled with girls throughout the competition. And then the result was announced. "Tempat ketiga dimenangi oleh Sekolah...Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar!" followed by a loud applause. Loudest from the Old Boys I guess. And the rest is history.
After the finale, a lot of congratulatory messages were given to the team and the teacher. The boys deserved the win. The fact that we had gone 2 steps above our original target which was Gold, speaks a lot about the team. The sheer hard work and dedication of all involved was exemplary. Nearing the tournament, the boys even practised till 1 am night in, night out. they worked hard. and the spirit was high. Their passion shows. To those who questioned why 'Only 3rd place,' should be with the team more often. They should understand the nature and culture of the wind orchestra competitions better. For us to get the 3rd placing when before even Gold was unheard of, is a very commendable achievement. And we trounced SSP, who had been one of the powerhouses. Right now, we are with the big boys. We are on par with those who have the wind orchestra as part of their school tradition.
But of course, we won't sit still. We want to be better. And believe me, the boys have begun their training to face next year's challenge. The form 5s, even though busy preparing for their SPM, are busy teaching the juniors on the ropes of administering the team. The form 4s are busy teaching the young ones. I could hardly find the band room empty when I went back to koleq a few days ago. And the recent surge in the band's membership (mostly form 1 and 2s) is very encouraging. the donations have begun to trickle in. Perhaps now, we want more than 'trickle.' Why not an avalanche? :-)