It was a warm night and excitement filled the air as the parade of proudly marching bands roused the crowd on Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Their live music and smart formation was followed by swinging choreographed dance moves that were met with cheers and loud applause by spectators.
On cue, the grand street parade had started immediately after the opening ceremony of the World Championship of Marching Show Bands 2011 (WCMSB) competition launched by Kuala Lumpur City Hall director of sport, culture and youth, Muhammad Sidek Khalid, in front of Pavilion shopping centre here recently.
Kuala Lumpur plays host to the prestigious international band competition for the very first time, where leading show bands from all over the world compete for the coveted title of “World Champion” at the four-day competition from July 27 at KL Football Stadium in Cheras, which climaxes on 30 July.
“The competition brings together “the best of the best” the world has to offer to complete in Kuala Lumpur,” said Dr Tengku Naufal Tengku Mansor, chairman of Present Malaysia Productions, the event organiser.
“We began planning right after winning the rights to host the world championship and do our best to meet the world-class standards set by the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB),” he explained, before making his clarion call to all:
“Let’s us do all our best to welcome and celebrate our guests, the participants from around the world in making this World Championship Marching Show Bands 2011 a memorable one! 1Sound! 1Malaysia! 1World! Let the fun begin!”
Among those present at the ceremony was Robert Eklund, president and CEO of World Association of Marching Show Bands International.
Eleven teams took part in the night parade which started at 8.30 pm with the Mladeznicky Dechovy Orchestr (or the Youth Wing Orchestra of the Music) from Cheb, Czech Republic, four-time winners of the WCMSB from 1999 till 2001 and 2003, stood out and roused the crowd with their attention-grabbing dance routines.
The one-hour performance ended with the last team, Batterheadz Percussion from Malaysia with their energetic demonstration of marching and drumming skills.
Kuala Lumpur won the bidding to host the WCMBS 2011 at the World Association of Marching Show Bands Delegates’ Conference held in Chicago, in the US, in November 2009. The bid to host was made with the support of Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
The competition involves more than 3,000 international participants from 30 teams from eight countries, including Canada, Czech Republic, Hongkong, China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia and promises to be quite a spectacle.
The world championship is held in different country each year and it is the third time the event has come to Asia, being held previously in Japan and Korea. Next year see the bands in Calgary, Canada.