MUSIC FROM THE GURKHAS
Music plays an important part in the lives of the students at the Pattaya School for the Blind. There is a marching band, a rock group, traditional Thai instrument orchestra and a country music band, and they also like to listen to instruments that are not usually heard in Thailand.
In the past the silence at the school was shattered when a trumpeter arrived to play and shook the windows, a quartet of violins echoed beautifully around the school and the students were amazed when an Irish musician played the spoons; the cook in the dining room, however, was not happy when most of the spoons went missing after lunch as the children attempted to play them.
Bagpipes and drums were the latest instruments introduced to the children, courtesy of the band of the Second Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles who made the students sit up and take note when the pipes started.
There was silence as the musicians paraded around the school and the students applauded after each piece of music. In return the pipers and drummers, who are originally from Nepal and are part of the British Army, were treated to a performance of traditional country music.
Once the music was over the children were allowed to touch and feel the instruments, work out how the pipes work and several attempted to play them. It was a strange experience for the soldiers as the children also felt the medals and the uniforms.
Then it was over to the sports court to watch a game of Goalball, a sport the Gurkhas had never seen before and they were very impressed, but unable to play themselves as they were in full dress uniform.