The 2022-2024 term marked a momentous time for SPArKS, when we began organising our very own concerts! Starting with two smaller concerts, Ring of Music (September 2022) and Romantic Impressions (March 2023) and our first full-scale Woodwind Quintet Concert and theatre production of Peter and the Wolf (December 2023).

The overwhelming success of these concerts is a testament of the importance and the need for performing arts in Kota Kinabalu – as well as providing opportunities for talented Sabahans to excel and explore their hidden talents in the arts!

(1) Ring of Music Concert

We organised the ‘Ring of Music’ concert on 13 September 2022, at Kian Kok School Hall, that featured a rare performance by three famous trio musicians: Mark Radcliffe from the UK who plays the oboe and has given recitals worldwide, Yap Ling, a well known versatile musician in KK who performs, teaches, conducts and arranges music, and Grace Lee, wife of Yap Ling who is the pianist for the Jesselton Philharmonic Orchestra.

The concert was called ‘Ring of Music’ for the way our seating arrangement was set up. The audiences sat in a ring around the musicians who literally took the centre stage – inspired by the ancient Greek and Roman amphitheatre designs.

(2) 13th KKIFF 2022

KKIFF is back with its 13th edition! This year’s festival was a hybrid one – with film screenings held both online and in-person at City Cineplex, City Mall Shopping Centre on 17-25 September 2022.

(3) Ballet By Nora Gala 2022

We supported Ballet By Nora’s end-year Gala on 9th December 2022 at Auditorium JKKN Sabah. It was a night filled with lovely music and beautiful dancing by the dancers! (Photos below from Ballet By Nora, taken by Chris Pereira and Hadzryann Hans)

(4) Bachfest Malaysia Concerts 2022 & 2023

We were delighted to attend two outstanding concerts organised by Bachfest Malaysia, featuring great music from legendary composer Johann Sebastian Bach!

Out of the Depths (2022) is the first post-lockdown concert of Bachfest Malaysia, featuring two incredibly moving Bach cantatas, and the monumental St. John Passion – 1725 version (2023) performed by the award-winning Malaysia Bach Festival Singers and Orchestra, under the direction of international conductor Prof. Dr. David Chin at All Saints’ Cathedral. During the 2023 concert, Renowned Bach scholar from Leipzig, Germany Prof. Dr. Manuel Bärwald, who is the editor of the latest critical edition of the work (published by Bärenreiter in 2021) used in the performance, provided a pre-concert talk and brought along some Bach manuscripts to exhibit during his talk.

(5) Romantic Impressions Concert

Held for the first time at the beautiful Tanjung Aru Sabah State Library on 3rd March 2023, Romantic Impressions was a flute and piano recited preformed by American-trained professional musicians (Kenneth Chia on flute and Dr Joanne Chang on piano) that featured music primarily from the mid-18th Century Romantic era. Works by Gaetano Donizetti, Amy Beach, Clara Schumann, Philipe Gaubert, Camille Saint-Saëns, Benjamin Godard, Franz Doppler, and Joe Hisaishi were featured in a program to soothe the soul and lift the spirit.

Special guests flautist Jennifer Hsu and dancers Shanen Isabel Santani and Angel Yong were featured.

(6) KITA Documentary

We organised a private screening of “KITA” a documentary about Sabah’s diverse society produced entirely by Sabahans. Held on 12 April 2023 at City Cineplex, City Mall Shopping Centre, this screening was exclusively for SPArKS members, family and friends.

KITA is an original, locally-produced documentary about the realities, values and aspirations of Sabahans in embracing, celebrating and preserving cultural diversity in Sabah. This 1 hour 45 minutes documentary consists of three separate but yet interrelated sections, following the real life stories of 10 ordinary Sabahans and through their lenses the audiences experience the “strength”, “beauty” and “deliciousness” of Sabah’s diverse society.

(7) Bakat Interact 2023

We were invited to the annual Bakat Interact competition, run by Rotary Club KK, to be on the panel of judges. Held on 19th August 2023 at Yayasan Sabah, where each year 10 schools compete for the best group dance and best group band.

(8) Kota Kinabalu Music Society 50th Birthday Celebration Concert

We would like to congratulate Kota Kinabalu Music Society for their 50th birthday. Thank you for having us for your 50th Birthday Celebration Concert at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, on 25th August 2023. We thoroughly enjoyed all the wonderful performances throughout the celebration and here’s to another 50!

(9) Chamber Music Concert Series 1 by Jesselton Philharmonic Orchestra

The Jesselton Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) organised the Chamber Music Concert Series 1 at Dewan Resital, UMS on 7th October 2023 – in collaboration with the Academy of Arts & Creative Technology (ASTiF, UMS).

The theme of the concert was “Musical Crossroads: A Journey Through Time and Genre” and they presented a variety of group combinations and genres of music from different historical periods and musical styles consisting of baroque delights, classical elegance, romantic emotions, modern explorations of contemporary music such as film soundtracks, jazz and popular music, featuring chamber groups such as a string ensemble with piano and percussion, string quartet, flute-piano-violin/viola trio, harp solo, wind ensemble, piano 4/8 hands and more.

(10) Legato Music 20th Anniversary Concert

We witnessed a wonderful night of brilliant performances from the students who showcased the vibrant talent that has blossomed from within the walls of Legato Music, and we were so thrilled with the amazing show that was put on! The Legato Music 20th Anniversary concert was held on 8th October 2023 at Auditorium JKKN Sabah.

Bravo and congratulations to Legato Music on their 20th anniversary and here’s to many more years of nurturing the musical talent in Kota Kinabalu!

(11) DokiFest 2023

We supported and attended DokiFest 2023, the ultimate celebration of animation, comics and games (ACG) in the heart of Kota Kinabalu. The event, which happened on 14 & 15 October 2023 at Palm Square, Centre Point Sabah, consisted of stage performances, cosplay competitions, dance cover competitions, as well as various activities for the public including drawing sessions, tabletop gaming demos and booths selling cosplay crafts and handmade items.

In addition to sponsoring the cash prizes, we were invited to attend and experience the collective enthusiasm of the ACG community!

(12) A Woodwind Quintet Concert and Peter and the Wolf Theatre Production

Our biggest and proudest achievement so far! After many months of planning, auditions, and 10 weeks of rehearsals with over 40 students, we presented our Woodwind Quintet Concert and Peter and the Wolf Theatre Production to captivated audiences in Kota Kinabalu over three shows (1st and 2nd December 2023) at Auditorium JKKN Sabah.

“Peter and the Wolf” is an engaging and educational composition that combines music and storytelling to captivate audiences of all ages, making it a beloved classic in the world of children’s music and has been performed in various arrangements. It was accompanied by live music and starring our local Sabahan, West Malaysian and international performers.

(Photos by Chris Pereira)

(13) US Embassy

We continue to keep our good relationship with the US Embassy going. President May Ng and EXCO member Jeremy Tan had a meeting over coffee and drinks with Nisa Ahmad and Nurit Einik of the US Embassy on 23 January 2024 at Marriott Hotel Kota Kinabalu. We are excited for the new ideas and events that the US Embassy will be bringing to KK!