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Gita Meit

Photo by Mary Antonette Abello

The evening of July 2 could just be an ordinary, cold, rainy, lazy Saturday for most Bangkokians, but not at Tim Johnson’s place.

To celebrate his birthday, the musical director and pianist Tim Johnson invited his friends, students and other music enthusiasts for a charity evening of musical performances and wine tasting. The event dubbed Music, Wine and Friendship for Burma was inspired by the Burmese words “gita” means music and “meit” means friendship.

The proceeds from the wine and beverages will go to the Gitameit Music Center, a non-profit music school in Yangon founded by Prof. Kit Young, an American and M.D. U Moe Naing, a Burmese (more info are available at www.gitameit.org). Aside from the sales generated from the wine and beverages, they also welcomed donations of any kind such as music scores, DVDs and musical instruments.

It was my first time to meet Tim Johnson so I was very excited. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to meet a musical guru who has worked with Broadway producer and director Larry Alford, stars Seth Riggs and Roger Love, award winning choreographer Anita Mann and famous celebrities like Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul?

The moment I stepped into Tim Johnson’s house, I could feel the soul of art from every nook and cranny of his home. From the colored glass windows, lighted candles spread across the entire room, photos and paintings hanged on the wall and simple but elegant furniture, there were so much to marvel at for a creative soul.

There were already a lot of guests when I, Neil and Kuya Boy, a Filipino freelance photographer and English teacher which we happened to bump into at the gate, arrived. My timid self was a bit reserved until Tim Johnson came to greet us. His warmth and hospitality and the friendly guests made me feel more relaxed, ready to have a blast.

Shortly after a sumptuous dinner, the musical performances started. A riveting melody filled the air as Tim Johnson played the piano whilst the angelic voices of the performers swept us away. The beautiful Ms. Kristen Rossi and Alex sang “Serious from the musical “Legally Blonde”. The Head of the Voice Department of Mahidol University, Dr. Colleen, sang “The Girl in 14G”, “Taylor the Latte Boy” and “Alto’s Lament” leaving us in total awe. Students from Mahidol University – College of Music also performed. Among the songs they sang were “I’m Still hurting” from the musical “The Last Five Years”, “Cabaret” and “I’m Alive” from the musical “Next to Normal”.

It was indeed a night to remember. I was reminded of my childhood dream of learning to play the piano. We’ve also met a lot of wonderful new friends. On top of that, I have learned to appreciate the art of musical performance more than ever. And oh, the Italian red wine was delizioso!