INTENSIVE rehearsals for three hours a day, every day for one week – that was what it took for third former Mohamad Hasrum Abu Talib from SMK Kamunting, Perak, to perfect his playing of the gendang silat.
The gendang, a double-headed barrel drum, was played to accompany the silat performance put up by his school at the recent National Schools Cultural Festival 2007.
He and other members of the troupe persevered every afternoon following school and even woke up as early as 8.30am on weekends to practise.
“We really put our minds to it and made sure we practised enough so that we could put up a good performance,” said the 18-year-old.
Sekolah Seni Kuching students put up a graceful performance of the ‘Ngajat Iban’.
SMK Kamunting was one of 17 schools that took to the stage recently at the PKNS Complex, Shah Alam, for the festival.
The event was held in line with the objectives of the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 as the focus for the month of November is strengthening national schools to ensure that they will be the school of choice.
Students from 15 states wowed the audience as they showcased their talents in song, dance and music.
The performers – from both primary and secondary schools – were a sight to behold in their eye-catching costumes in every colour of the rainbow.
Education Ministry deputy director-general (schools) Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim was the guest-of-honour.
Also in attendance was SelangorEducation Department director Datin Hamidah Nordin, School Management Sector head Bajuri Abdullah and School Administration Sector chief assistant sector head Anwar Abdul Hamid.
Meanwhile, Bahasa Malaysia and Music teacher Anisah Arshad, from SK Jalan Raja Muda, Kuala Lumpur, had coached her students to play the angklung.
The Year Three to Year Five pupils performed a delightful medley of three songs on the bamboo instrument that had originated from Indonesia.
According to Anisah, they had practised for three days a week to perfect their songs.
Other notable performances were by the students of Sekolah Seni Kuching, Sarawak, who presented the Ngajat Iban.
The students wore elaborate headpieces of feathers. The boys donned loincloths named cawat while girls wore beautiful dresses with necklaces and beads.
This dance is usually performed to celebrate the Gawai festival, which marks the end of the rice harvest, as well as to welcome important guests to the longhouses.
In addition, a Chinese dance showcasing fans and lanterns was performed by girls from SMK Tengku Ampuan Rahmah, Selangor, while another group from SK Puchong Perdana, Selangor, performed an Indian dance.
The festival closed with a bang when all the student performers gathered on stage for a rousing rendition of Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang, followed by a balloon and confetti shower.