|15 Dec 2020|
A pianist, a poet, an opera singer, a storyteller and a dancer. The ISKL Notable special guests spanned the genres and delighted their worldwide audience at our Night of the ISKL Notables virtual gala reunion on Saturday, December 12, 2020.
The annual ISKL Alumni gala reunion in December is always a hit with those alumni able to be in Kuala Lumpur for the event. But this year, Alumni from around the world, from Australia to Europe, Singapore to Canada, for the very first time, had the chance to take part. Despite the very early or late starting time for many, Alumni from every ISKL decade joined the fun.
ISKL Director of Development and Alumni Engagement, Lynette MacDonald, played host and emcee for the event which began with a “Who Am I?” quiz to reveal our Notable guests. One by one, starting with ISKL’s Head of School and concert pianist, Rami Madani, the guests were uncovered. Each then was asked to perform live. Rami set the mood with an excerpt from Erik Satie's Gymnopédie played on his home electric piano - not quite the ISKL grand piano, but his passion and skill shone through from his living room venue.
Rami was followed by our Notable 2, Grant Venables, ISKL High School International Baccalaureate English Literature teacher, and an accomplished poet, who drew the virtual audience in with a very evocative recital of one of his own poems.
There was rapt silence as ISKL Alumni, Kirstin Chavez, Class of 1987, a world-class opera performer wowed all gathered with a section of an aria from her renowned Carmen. Despite it being just after 5am in Salt Lake City where Kirstin is based, her incredible talents were on full display.
More Alumni talent followed, with Tobey Ishii Anderson, Class of 1972 and Faculty Alumni, as well as a dramatic storyteller, sharing some favorite anecdotes about school life at ISKL’s very first campus, the Istana. Tobey started school in Grade 6 at ISKL in our very first year, 1965, and we were privileged to hear her firsthand account of life at the Istana.
Last, and definitely not least, ISKL’s own Karen Palko was revealed as the fifth Notable. After 38 years at ISKL, Karen’s passion for the community and dance shone through as she took us through 20 hip hop moves from the 80s, encouraging our virtual guests to dance along and guess the names of the moves.
The event was all about sharing, and our Notable guests hosted virtual “decks” where the other attendees shared their special ISKL mementos and reminiscences in our ISKL Show & Tell. There were prized ISKL t-shirts, jackets and patches; old yearbooks and even some of the very earliest editions of the Fishwrap, ISKL’s first student newspaper.
The evening concluded with an extra special finale as former ISKL Singer, Julius Lim, Class of 1995, led a rendition of Negaraku, Malaysia’s national anthem. With Kirstin Chavez chiming in for support, it was a beautiful and thoroughly Malaysian way to wrap up the evening.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we all do many things, not always for the best, but this worldwide virtual gala reunion gave us the chance to reach our ISKL Alumni family in a new and fun way. While we hope to have events on campus again soon, this is a new addition that’s likely to become its own tradition.
Remembering Patti Ishii Halbmaier, the young woman with the bright smile in the photo of ISKL's first graduating class. More...