The Mixed Up Concert is an annual interschool band competition concert which aims to raise funds for the Love Wildlife foundation who conducts a lot of wildlife conservation work in Thailand. This was my second year working with Love Wildlife and my team and I were working very hard to raise awareness and outreach animal conservation to the international school community.
As the seniors who ran mixed up last year graduated, I got the leadership role to continue this event in the 2013 – 2013 academic year. This year, we tried to rebrand the event. Last year, there were a total of 4 different schools that participated in this concert. By rebranding this event, we were able to reach a wider number of schools and this year, the concert has doubled in size with a total of 8 different schools participating. The number of bands that got to perform increased from 8 to 19 and there were even more bands that wanted to sign up! This truly became an inter-school event.
The date for the concert was set for April 4th 2014. We started to plan the event 6 months in advance. It is vital for us to start early many team members would be are very busy during the year, so planning ahead of time would give sufficient amount of time to complete all tasks properly. On our first meeting, my group and I were able to set out realistic deadlines that everyone could follow and meet. There were a total of 8 different people on my NIST Mixed Up team. To maximize efficiency, I assigned each of them something they are each good. For example, with two IB art students on the team, I asked them to make the posters and tickets for the concert. Such arrangement not only made them enjoy the task but also made improved the quality of the final product.
I also worked with 7 other leaders from the other participating schools. As it is an interschool event, communication between the schools was a very important thing. To achieve this, we used Facebook messenger. This allowed issues to be easily discussed among us and if anyone missed our discussion, they are always able to go back and read the conversations we have had.
Next, auditions for the NIST bands had to be organized. This was done in two phases. The first audition was for us to get a general idea of how many bands or soloists were interested in performing and an initial cut would be made. The second audition is when we would finally choose 3 bands and 2 soloists to represent NIST at the concert. Choosing the final bands and soloists that were going to perform was a huge decision that we had to make. There were a lot of promising bands that did not make the cut!
For the organizing the concert, a lot of communication had to be done with different departments of the school. First we had to stay in contact with the music department that has all of the equipment need to run this concert. Next we had to contact the properties department, who would set up the stage and tables for our event. Finally the PE department was contacted for the tents and mattresses for people to sit on. I felt like this concert was stretching the schools resources to its limits.
After a lot of planning and communicating with various departments of the school, April 4th came. As it was an outdoor concert, the weather could either be our friend or our foe. I had no control over it and the only thing I could do was hope that it would not rain. The forecast suggested that there will be no rain. However at around 4pm, 2 hours before the concert was due to start, it started to drizzle. We quickly got out a big plastic sheet and covered the precious electrical system on the stage. Everyone hoped for the rain to stop. We were lucky and the drizzle didn’t get any bigger, so we pulled of the plastic sheets and went back to setting up. But luck was not on our side. The drizzle decided to start again halfway through the concert. It was a very hard time for me as I had to decide either pull the plug on the concert to wait for the drizzle to stop or continue on and risks having the rain pour down on the expensive equipment. I decided to continue, understanding that if the rain got worse, the concert would had to be stopped. Soon the rain stopped and nothing was lost. It was a very scary moment for me as I hope I would not make the wrong call and damage a lot of equipment.
Another major problem that was faced on concert day was with timing. With a total of 19 performing bands and each taking around 10 minutes, it meant that we needed a minimum of 190 minutes to get through all performances. However, the concert was only supposed to last for 3 hours. So even before the concert started, I knew that the concert would go over time. The only way to keep on schedule is make sure that the transition times between bands are kept to the minimum. I assigned 3 people to help with this so the transitions would run much more smoothly. This turned out quite well as the concert ended 20 minutes later than planned.
There were quite a lot of things to learn from organizing this concert. First, I think we could have used a bit more people to help with planning this concert. On the day of the concert, we were a bit short on hands so I had to recruit helpers who helped us run the food station. Next year I will try to recruit more youngsters to join the crew. Younger students are also essential this would make the event sustainable as the youngsters can be able to learn and run this event in the future by themselves. Secondly, I learned that back-up plan is necessary needed to address certain situations that I do not control over, so when it happens, I am able to execute my plan instantly.
Overall I was very proud of my team and my as we were able to organize a successful concert and raise over 30,000 baht for Love Wildlife. This concert also allowed people from different international schools to be brought together by music, which was the original goal of this concert. For an entirely student run inter-school event, I think that is a pretty amazing accomplishment. At the personal level, I feel by organizing this event, my personal leadership skills has been further strengthened.
Here is the video taken from the event on our very own Youtube channel.