The heavenly harmonious sound of the National Orchestra of Samoa and Chamber Opera Choir rung out beautifully at Taumeasina Island Resort on Friday night.
The chamber ensemble concert was well attended by guests, including the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aleto’a Sualauvī II and the Masiofo, Her Highness Faamausili Leinafo.
The concert was organized by the Friends of the National Orchestra of Samoa, the Tiapapata Art Centre Inc. and the Samoan Jazz and Arts Festival Board (Samoa).
Friends of the National Orchestra of Samoa comprise people who enjoy music and want to help to support orchestra.
“It was a big step tonight since 2013. It is to settle many more concerts in a format like this,” National Orchestra of Samoa Director, Fonoti Ieriko said.
“It is very foreign for the group to learn an instrument, so they learnt with the help of YouTube.
“About 60 percent of the members can’t read the notes. It took us a lot of time to help them to read. We have to simplify the notes for them. That is what I am doing. It was challenging, I had to think outside the box.”
Finding qualified teachers to help the students is one other challenge Fonoti faced.
“It is very expensive to bring professional teachers. The challenge for us is to find qualified teachers. We are depending on volunteers who come to Samoa and help out for a week,” Fonoti said.
He has big plans for orchestra in Samoa.
“We want to grow the orchestra to about 40 members. I am really happy we got a complete set. This is a good start. At the moment we are only using 10 strings, which builds the orchestra,” he said.
“I am really proud, some of these guys just started last year. We could see a month ago they have been scared.
“But tonight we said before we came, just enjoy yourself and don’t worry, just play. To have the Head of State here just made the night, to be recognised and to encourage more.”
Galumalemana Steven Percival, who works for the Tiapapata Art Centre Inc. and is responsible for organising the event said: “This is an ensemble that has achieved a certain level of profession that allows the team to be comfortable to perform in public, especially to the Head of State,” Mr. Percival said.
“In terms of the orchestra performance, this is the biggest event ever performed. We hope that this will be a springboard for further concerts.
“Classic has a way of influencing the human spirit. Here in Samoa, the long-term aim is to adopt our tradition, which is unique.
“This is like a pathway to peace, the harmony between the people. These kinds of activities are really important. People often overlook this and they do not the deep of expressions,” he added.
The preparation and planning for the concert started just one month ago.
“There have been hips of challenges. The first challenge was the members were from different places, it was really hard to try to contact them to meet at the same time,” Principal Leader for the choir, Franziska Sione Finaufinau.
“The other issue was the transportation, some rely on the buses. Our time of practice is after hours, the time where no bus operates. Especially to planning this event, it made it hard.
“I am so proud of everyone, as a leader of the choir. We got this out of the challenges we had in the last couples of weeks. Everyone put together and tried their best. The string players have been amazing. I am just happy,” Franziska said.