A bigger crowd than expected
Published on: Sunday, March 05, 2023
By: Kan Yaw Chong
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Great acoustics – atrium of the State Library, Tg Aru, the recital venue. (Pic by Jeremy Tan)
THE live Flute & Piano recital featuring Kenneth Chia and Dr Joanne Chang attracted a stronger crowd than anticipated, organisers said. 

“We expected only a turnout of 150 but 180 showed up,” cheered May Ho, President of SPArKS (Society of Performing Arts of Kota Kinabalu Sabah), referring to Saturday night’s public duo concert dubbed ‘Romantic Impressions’ by flutist Kenneth Chia and pianist Dr Joanne Chang, staged for the first time at the towering atrium of the Sabah State Library, Tanjung Aru.

Adeline (left), May (centre), Jasmine (right).

“This is the first time in KK that we have a flute and piano duo recital, and the first time in the beautiful State library, another work of art,” noted SPArKS Vice President, Jasmine Leong.

“Such quality classical music brought a whole new level of sophistication,” she said. 

The encore & tears 

“There was a tear or two when the encore – the haunting ‘Dying Swan’ was played.

“Kenneth Chia on the flute and Dr. Joanne Chang on the piano are professionals with a capital ‘P’ and it was such an honour that they chose to share their skills and talents with us here in KK!” Jasmine opined.  

“It was thoughtful of them to include local ballerinas, Shanen Santani and Angel Yong and another guest artist, Jennifer Hsu, to their repertoire that made the whole evening special and so enjoyable with the variety given,” she added. 

“We should be proud of our own internationally renowned performing artists and highlight them more.

Close up of the crowd.

Flutist Kenneth Chia and pianist Dr. Joanne Chang during the recital.

SPArKS Committee and the Flute & piano recital performers. From left, Lenore Lee (Secretary), Joanna Liew (Treasurer), Kenneth Chia (Flutist), Dr Joanne Chang (Pianist), Datuk Adeline Leong (founder), Jasmine Leong (Vice President), May Ho (President), Jennifer Hsu (guest artiste), Jeremy Tan (C’tte member), Ballerinas Shanen Santani (right) Angel Yong (left.) 

“We know a city has arrived when arts and culture thrives and that is what SPArKS aims to do and by supporting the growth and development of performing arts, we hope the audience and the next generation continues to be aware and learn to appreciate the of role performing arts has in life, as Dr Joanne has said – it is essential to the heart and healing to the soul,” Jasmine concluded.

A rare treat 

SPArKs founding President, Datuk Adeline Leong, described the experience as “a rare treat”:

“The music is so enthralling, mesmerising and brings you to seventh heaven because of the harmony, the way they harmonised so effortlessly, the music is so fluid, it just flows through you making you feel so good to be alive!

“And it’s the first time the atrium of this beautiful library is being used for a classical concert and recital here and the acoustics is so good that they don’t need a mike and the flute sounded so well and especially the encore ‘Dying Swan’ – a very famous music and Kenneth did it so well that you can feel the acoustics in this hall is really suitable for flute and piano,” Datuk Adeline paid tributes.

Ipoh born Dr Joanne holds a doctorate in Piano Performance and Literature from Indiana University USA while Kenneth holds a Master degree in Flute Performance similarly from Indiana University with competence in conducting.


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