Drama & Music Fiesta
Tom Ng

A 50 member full Orchestra that includes woodwind and horn sections. African Drum Team that would lure the laziest lion king to come alive. Military Band that has a sharp uniform and marches without baton twirling cheerleaders. A Percussion Band that makes the audience move to a fiesta beat (maybe not). A Christian Fellowship Act that employs a pop band and chorus. A multitude of speech and verse recitals, some are champions from HK Schools Open Competitions. Sweet and lovely singers belt out current HK hit songs. On top of all that, they close with a 30 minutes mini musical "The Ark" with a cast of over 60 members. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2006 version of St. Mark's School Fiesta.

I was lucky enough to be invited to witness this very ambitious production. On July 11, I went to Hongkong from Guangzhou to catch two shows. One was an afternoon fashion show hosted by HKTDC to kick off their Fashion Week. The other was The SMS Fiesta. I would think if Team St. Mark's had the HKTDC Fashion Show kind of budget, the Fiesta Show would still be showing in HK to packed houses. No, they didn't have that kind of money, not even the budget I had to produce the CCTV Niagara Falls show. How I wished that they had big budget to work this show. That would really be something to behold.

It had gone through my mind if they approached me with a huge bag of money to produce the Fiesta. I would probably say no. Because this is ambition to the max and way beyond challenge. Remember the current SMS has slightly more than a thousand students. This show had a cast & crew of almost 300 students and teachers. Over one fourth the population of the school. It boggled my mind as to how many hours of production meetings and rehearsals they have spent before "showtime". You might think they have years to prepare and practice. Not so! They will do another one next summer. Moreover, the MCs of the show were a couple of energetic Form I students. Aside from speaking English, Cantonese and occasional Mandarin, they have to brave through audio problems, miss cues, a non-responsive audience that included some stiff faced teachers and a lot of ho hum parents. My heart was right behind you all thru the show, Chan Pui Yan and Lok Pak Him. I tipped my hat off to you two.

The performers march through the programme in a break neck pace. Production hiccups and miss cues here, there and very far in between (pros have them also!). I kept on reminding myself that only high school productions could be this daring. I wouldn't have the guts to take half the chances that they were taking. How wonderful to be young and fearless!!

This is not a review because I don't know where to begin. You just have to be there to experience these talented alumni. If you want to make it a date with me to watch the SMS Fiesta next year in HK. I'll be glad to because this is a very enjoyable show to watch. A review? No! However, I'll give my ratings.

Here is how I rated the show (from 1 to 10, 10 being max):
Enthusiasm 10
Effort 10
Courage 10
Labour of Love 10
Performance 10
Crew (for quick recovery from miss cues) 10
Computer Graphics (special award) 10
Audience (I was one of them) 3
Mother Brenda Mau (for overly modest about the show) 10
Mother Grace Li (for overly proud of the kids) 10
Entertainment value 100
Team Work 100

Team St. Mark's, I salute you!

*photos to follow