Monday, December 21, 2009

Concert in the Park

Taking advantage of the cooler weather during December, January and February, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is presenting a series of Sunday concerts in the heart of Bangkok – Sala Bhirom Bhakdi (auditorium), Lumpini Park. A “gift” to the people of Bangkok, the FREE concerts are absolutely spectacular and well worth attending. Starting at 5:30 pm in the cool of the early evening, the wide-ranging repertoire encompasses western classics, Thai classical music and popular hits from Broadway and film. Over almost 20 years, these concerts have introduced tens of thousands of Thais and expatriates to the BSO and the glories of orchestral music.

Eager for a little orchestral magic myself, I hopped along to the fist concert yesterday, Sunday, December 20, with a group of girlfriends. We happily set up camp under the shade of a palm tree on the plush grass and commenced to eat (yummy fresh bread, cheese, fruit and festive cookies), drink (wine of course!) and swoon ourselves into contentment. The BSO did a great job of keeping the mood light, festive and enjoyable. I particularly liked the Christmas songs and Thai pop tunes sang; very lively and enchanting.

The audience was an interesting and eclectic mix of younger folk (even younger than moi, I’m talking ‘teen’ here), trendy middle-aged musoes and elderly connoisseurs. I’m also proud to say that there was a very good sprinkling of farang to boot. Either way, the healthy crowd was a good indicator that classical music is not dead and that no everyone is dying to see Avatar! Most attendees were snugly reclined on rattan mats with bountiful picnics and makeshift pillows. The crowd were eager clappers, happiest when punchy Thai tunes filled the air, but also receptive to the odd Xmas interlude.

Although the show was a little brief, ending at 7:15 pm-ish, it definitely gave me a taste of things to come and I’ll eagerly be back again this coming Sunday for the next instalment. I presume it will have a particularly Yuletide feeling taking place just two days after Christmas. So yes, for those of you who missed this past Sunday’s show, never fear, there are seven more concerts for you to catch: Dec 27, Jan 10, 17, 24, 31 and Feb 7, 14. For more details, go to:

Getting there: The easiest way from the Siam City Hotel is to take the BTS from Phayathai station. First hop on (towards Ou Nut) and go two stops to Station Siam. From here you need to get off, cross the platform, and then take another train, on the Silom Line (toward Wongwian Yai), two stops to Station Sala Daeng. From here you want to take exit 5 with Lumpini Park directly across the road; you really can’t miss it!

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