YES Academy Thailand 2012

mini-YES Academy in Yala and YES Academy Thailand in Bangkok


In late April, American Voices held two programs in Thailand this year, a mini-YES Academy in the Yala province and our grand YES Academy program in Bangkok.  The YES Academy Thailand programs were made possible with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.


For the first time, American Voices held a performing arts program in the restive Yala Province in Southern Thailand near the Thailand-Malaysia border.  The area has suffered from tensions between Buddhists and Muslims, and the security situation can be precarious. Yet American Voices had a phenomenal time working with the students in Yala during the mini-YES Academy.  The five-day jazz and strings program took place in the city of Yala, which draws its name from the encompassing province.  The eager and enthusiastic students proved able learners, and by the fifth day held a concert for friends and family showcasing the new strings and jazz works they had learned.


 Following the YES Yala program, American Voices returned to Bangkok to conduct our annual YES Academy Thailand program. The program in Bagnkok hosted over 300 students from across Thailand, as well as students from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Gaza and Kurdistan.   The YES Academy Thailand featured classes in strings, orchestra, piano, jazz, theater and breakdance.  


We had a record number of students in the string program, more than 75, so we formed two string orchestras and performed music by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Handel and Sammartini. The combined orchestras performed some Thai folk songs arranged by one of the violists from Yala, and was conducted by a violist from Chiang Rai. This served as a beautiful finale to the strings portion of the final Gala concerts.