Sunday, August 23, 2009

Contest Winner!

By my count, we had 99 comments on our blog while we were on tour! Wow! Thank you all so much for your support! Now, on to the winner:

The random number between 1 and 99 is:
Congratulations to Joel! Your are the lucky winner of some authentic Indonesian Loot! Here is the lucky winning comment, posted on August 20th:

" Joel said...

Business class from Hong Kong to LA? That is sweet.

August 20, 2009 7:50 AM"

But that's not all, we have a runner-up:

Congratulations to Tim! You are the runner-up with this comment posted on August 9th:

Blogger " Tim said...

Aryo- a TV personality. Who would have guessed? Next stop the Today Show in NYC.

August 9, 2009 9:19 PM"

Stayed tuned to see what the prizes are, and the winners can look for their loot in the mail, or in Tim's case, personal delivery! Thank you all again for supporting us and following our blog!

PARADISE FM Interview went GLOBAL....

The initial Swara Sonora Trio Paradise-FM (RRI-Bali Station) interview with Ibu Helena Keith was re-broadcasted throughout the world on Voice of Indonesia (VOI) Radio Network on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, at 6 PM. We are grateful to hear that!

In addition, Voice of America (VOA) in Washington DC will also re-broadcast this same one-hour interview again in the next few weeks. The staff in DC is still waiting the interview CD from Kathryn back in Tucson.

Keep reading the blog, and giving comments.... More to come later, including UNICEF East Java Field Visit this coming week.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Surabaya Symphony Orchestra Pictures: Solomon Tong and Donors

With SSO students, orchestra members, soloists, and organizers

With two wonderful SSO Donors and a wonderful Chinese Folk-Song soprano

With SSO Conductor, Maestro Solomon Tong, and his wife, pianist Mrs. Karlina Magawe-Tong

Here's some more pictures from our last concert in Surabaya, Indonesia, with Surabaya Symphony Orchestra on August 18, 2009. Please enjoy!! And keep giving comments to the blog... Remember, the result of the blog winner will be posted tonight! Thank you all for the support and prayers!
Visit our 100 Friends page to see our final days for UNICEF Indonesia Fund-Raising!!

100 Indonesian Friends (especially for Indonesians living abroad in the USA):

Home! (and contest info).

This is just a note to let you all know that Kathryn and I made it home safely yesterday morning. Cathay Pacific provided us with a hotel room in LA, and we were on the first flight to Tucson in the morning.

This evening (Arizona time), I will use a random number generator to select a winner for our blog contest. I'll give you all the rest of the day to post your last comments!

Ibu Erni sent us these photos taken at the Surabaya Symphony Orchestra Gala Concert. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Waiting in Hong Kong

Greetings from Hong Kong! Due to a small delay (which included a catering malfunction), Kathryn and I are relaxing in the business class lounge. We will also enjoy the upgrade to LA.

Don't forget that every comment enters you into our blog contest! You have until Saturday!

---Post From Kat''s iPhone

Final moments of tour

This morning in Surabaya we said our goodbyes and officially concluded the Peace Tour. Swara Sonora will be reunited in Tucson in a couple weeks, and we are thinking about planning a small concert and presentation about our travels for sometime in September or October. Until then, though, we all have some catching up to do on sleep and all the other aspects of our lives!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DONE for this year... but UNICEF till Sept 2nd

Dear all blog readers, supporters, friends, patrons, donors, and all music lovers:

Thank you so so so very very much for all your support, wishes, and prayers. Finally we are done with the tour, and we've ended it successfully. Lots of great memories, great new friends, great pianos and hall to perform, and ..... of course lots of peace and love between different countries (not just US and Indonesia, but Argentina, Singapore, Malaysia, Great Britain, etc.).

While we are done with the tour, Swara Sonora Trio is going to hand out the final amount collected for UNICEF Indonesia - for their immunization and child healthcare - on September 2nd, 2009. So, there is still time to donate for this cause.

Especially, for those who lives abroad... Indonesians who live in the United States, Europe, Japan, Singapore, or Hong Kong.

Thank you for all 100 FRIENDS AND 100 INDONESIAN FRIENDS. The number for 100 Indonesian Friends have doubled in Indonesia. THANK YOU!!

Especially thanks to Dedi Panigoro for his generous donation in Jakarta concert!

So, hopefully we can finally reach the true 100 Friends in the US, and also more for 100 Indonesian Friends.

To find out how to donate, please visit this website and you can donate online using your credit card or debit card. AND, it will be fully tax-deductible as well:

We have raised $ 1,500 from our initial donation, and an additional $ 600 to 700 from Jakarta Concert. Hopefully we will raise a total of $ 3,000 from our entire tour. So let's work together and support our future, children of the world!

Swara Sonora Trio

Homeward bound

Tomorow morning Nathan and I begin our long day of travel home. Aryo will stay in Indonesia for another couple weeks to visit family and friends. Swara Sonora's Peace Tour is officially over after a great master class today at the Surabaya Symphony, an a lovely dinner with conductor Bapak Tong, Ibu Tong, an their children.

It's been an amazing three weeks, and we've met and worked with wonderful people. We will miss many things about Indonesia. Stay tuned for some post-mortem blogs with additional photos, and there are still two days to comment before we randomly select the winner of our Blog Comment Contest!

Thanks for all your comments, messages, and support.

--Swara Sonora

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kebaya journey home

To those of you who have expressed concern about how I will get all four of my beautiful new kebaya home, I offer the following reassurances:

1. as you can see from the photo below, they fold quite nicely and fit into the ubiquitous plastic sleeves into which all textiles are placed at shops and tailors here

2. I bought a second suitcase. Aryo's parent took me shopping a couple days ago and we were lucky to hit the Independence Day sales at the Matahari department store, where I got a nice Polo (but not Ralph Lauren Polo!) suitcase at 50% off for only 250,000 rupiahs!

So never fear, they will arrive home safely, and I'll have a fashion show back in Tucson sometime.


-- Post From My iPhone

Photos From Our Final Concert!

Here are the photos from our last concert of our Peace Tour. We were guests of the Surabaya Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Bapak Solomon Tong. It was a gala affair with a huge crowd gathered to celebrate Independence Day here in Indonesia (August 17th).

Swara Sonora with composer Ananda Sukarlan and UNICEF Indonesia's Agnes Savitri
Aryo with his Parents
Swara Sonora in a becak!


Yes!!! Finally, we, Swara Sonora Trio, were able to meet Maestro Ananda Sukarlan himself. He is the one who wrote "Love and Variations" piece for us. He was so kind and generous to go directly a day after his Opera premiere in Jogjakarta to Surabaya.

He took the late afternoon flight to Surabaya, went straight to the ShangRi-La Balroom Hotel from the airport and was able to attend our performance. He was very nice, courteous, and complimentary. We took pictures with him too, and also with Surabaya UNICEF Representative, Ibu Agnes!

Fun day / debut concert in Surabaya: sold out hall (all 1,200 of the ShangRi-La Balroom seats were filled), good music making, fun new friends, and then meeting Maestro Sukarlan.

Pics to follow soon!!

And don't forget to see Kathryn's latest, and last gown..... (the pics).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last Day in Bali

Here are a few photos from our last day in Bali:

First we went to see a performance of the Barong Dance:

I especially loved the Balinese Gamelan orchestra!

Next we visited the Garuda Wisnu Kencana park, which was amazing! The park is a huge rock quarry, where they plan to build an enormous statue of Wisnu (Vishnu) riding Garuda (a bird). The park has a huge amphitheater and features parts of the statue that have been finished thus far.

It was located high up on a hill, which provided great views of the beaches below. After a wonderful lunch, we bid farewell to our wonderful hosts, and flew back to Java.

Tomorrow we have our last performance!

Bali Fun day

Yesterday Ibu Lily of the Rotary Club Bali Taman entertained us in high style. It was the one vacation day of our 22-day Peace Tour, and Bali was not a bad place to spend it! After a lazy morning we headed to Ubud where we had a leisurely and delicious lunch at a resort owned by another Rotarian. Then we saw the town and palace (what a beautiful place Ubud is with hills, rice paddies, and shrines everywhere) before heading to the beach for an incredible grilled seafood farewell dinner with a bunch of the Rotarians.

We were sad to leave Bali, but now that we're settled into our hotel in Surabaya we finally have time to catch up on the blog and post some photos from our time in Bali. But first, some sleep!

Swara Sonora in the hills of Ubud

-- Post From My iPhone

Julia Roberts.... oh Bali.....

Dear all:

We are so sad that we have to leave the Paradise..... leaving the beautiful Bali with all of the great Rotary Club Bali Taman 3400 organizers. We had a great time, thank you for all the music making, great hospitality, great dinner, showing around (personal tours, etc.).

Thanks for Yamaha Bali (personally, from me) for giving such a wonderful, well-tuned and well-voiced piano for the concert. I rarely say about good pianos on tour, but they were great!!

What else.... oh yeah.... Apparently we were visiting places and hotels (even stayed at one - pro bono) where Ms. Julia Roberts will come in November to Bali to shoot her new film (based on a book.... that Kathryn is reading now...... Eat-Pray-Love ?? ...).

Hahah... we beat Ms. Roberts by a few months ;-) Sanur, Ubud, etc. etc.
Thanks to two hotels that I truly recommend for honeymoon and private secluded vacation.

Blue Fin Villas:
The Payogan Villa in Ubud:

Great hosts, great food, great hospitality...... and if you want to trace Julia Roberts' steps for her latest movie :-)

We joked that Kathryn should've stayed a few months later so that when J.R. is indisposed, she could've stepped in ;-)

Greetings from Surabaya!! It was fun times at Paradise... but alas we have to get back to the real world. But we'll have lots of fun in Surabaya, performing AND teaching!! Pictures will come soon tonight!

Friday, August 14, 2009

PARADISE FM Interview on Thursday: live broadcast

With the entire RRI-Bali staff and Rotary Bali Taman 3400 Ladies after the interview

Intense interview with Ibu Helena Keith, from Paradise FM (RRI-Bali)

Another interview picture....

Post-interview picture, with RRI-Bali Banner in their studio.

Swara Sonora Trio went to the RRI / Paradise FM studio on Thursday, August 13th, 2009 to do a live interview at the radio station. Paradise FM is the only round-the-clock English Language radio station in Bali. We were interviewed for an hour, from 5 PM to 6 PM.

Helena K. Keith, the interviewer, was the most consummate personality. She made us at ease and the entire interview was just fun! It was recorded and will be re-broadcasted in the VOA (Voice of America) network immediately.... so it won't be just the entire Bali island, but also throughout the world (I hope).

Three of our song selections / recording from July 19th concert were broadcasted in between questions (which was fun, and thanks to St. Andrews Bach Society for the recording) and then we got several incoming phone calls from listeners asking questions.

Fun productive times!! Please see all the pictures above....

Thank you PARADISE FM!! Thank you Ibu Helena K. Keith! We were honored and grateful to be given this opportunity!

Swara Sonora: Rotary Club 3400 ENDS POLIO!!

Yep, the concert was a success!! Thank God, we're really grateful.

I was surprised to see the entire 500 ballroom audience were present.... including the VIP tickets (which is not cheap). We were glad to be able to help Rotary International to raise funds to eradicate polio worldwide. Some of the audience members actually donated even more towards this cause last night.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation challenged Rotary Club International to raise funds up to $ 100 Million USD to eradicate polio. Then he will match that with a $ 350 million when the goal is reached. So hopefully last night's concert help towards that goal. Rotary International asks all Rotary Club worldwide to donate $ 1,000 (a minimum) each year to reach that goal for the next 3 years. I think last night we've passed that amount easily.

Fun concert: it was even recorded and broadcasted by the BALI TV. At the end we were interviewed by lovely Ibu Joyce, the Master of Ceremony who is also a well-known TV personality in Bali. We'll post this interview (along with my earlier METRO-TV interview) on youtube too!!!

This time, all THREE of us were interviewed immediately following tonight's performance.

Success in Bali!

We just gave a wonderful concert, followed by an elegant dinner. More

details later, but enjoy this photo. Tomorrow is our fun day in Bali!
-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rotary hosts

Here's a photo we just took with some of our wonderful hosts here in Bali, members of the local Rotary Club - Ibu Noor, Ibu Lilly,Ibu Asia, and Ibu Ting!

-- Post From My iPhone

Preparations for our Bali concert

Today we are resting and rehearsing for our big concert this evening at the Sanur Beach Hotel.
Our concert is hosted by the Rotary Club of Bali Taman, and the lovely ladies of the Rotary are providing us a fabulous Balinese experience.

We just had a great warmup and are looking forward to the concert tonight. More photos later!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We made it to Bali and are being treated very well by our hosts! More to come!

-- Post From My iPhone

Press conference

We had a wonderful press conference yesterday in Surabaya. Aryo talked with the media and Maestro Solomon Tong gave us a great introduction. We also got to meet some of the other performers. We can't wait to come back for the concert!

Aryo talking with the press.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 13, or press conferences and tropical islands

Greetings from Surabaya! Our early flight reached its destination without incident, and now we are a press conference and another short flight away fron Bali!

Kat and her tropical fruit plate.

-- Post From My iPhone

Day 12, or Master Class and Spending Millions

Today we all gave master classes at ISI to some very talented students. Aryo taught twenty pianists, while Nathan and I split up working with the singers. We all enjoyed working with the students and appreciated their enthusiasm. It was fun spending the day at ISI -- thank you tothe faculty and staff for organzing the master classes, our concert, and our stay here in Jogja!

With some of the wonderful faculty and staff at ISI

After Nathan and I finished our classes, we left Aryo to teach the day away while we hit the streets of Jogja and, with Ibu Erni's help, shopped 'till we dropped. We each spent over 1 million rupiah, and finished the day with many beautiful things to remember Indonesia by.

We're sad to leave Jogja, but we're excited to get to the beautiful island of Bali tomorrow night, after a brief stop in Surabaya for a press conference hosted by the Surabaya Symphony Orchestra.

Day 11, or Concert nomer loro

Our performance last night in the Institut Seni Indonesia's was the first recital in their lovely new concert hall, which was just opened four months ago. It was exciting because we had an enthusiastic MC who announced us with flair, like rock stars, and the packed audience included many young musicians and university students. We did two encores!
Our hosts at ISI were professional, gracious, and made us feel welcomed here in Jogjakarta. We also got to try out our second set of batik outfits, which Aryo's had made especially for us by her tailor back home in Surabaya. We hope to return to Jogja for a longer period of time to perform again, teach, and collaborate with students and teachers at ISI.Align CenterNathan and Kathryn with ISI Dean Prof. Bramantyo

The banner at the entrance to ISI's campus

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 9 and 10, or Beautiful Jogja

Saturday morning we woke up super-early to fly to Jogjakarta, the center of traditional Javanese culture in central Java. As soon as we arrived at the airport we knew this was a special place.

After an afternoon of napping, we went to the Ramayana Ballet at the Hindu Prambanan temple. It was magical to watch the epic story of the Ramayana acted out in dance, with the backdrop of beautiful Prambanan and the full moon behind, and all accompanied by gamelan orchestra. We even got to take photos with the dancers after the performance.

Yesterday morning we set off early to beat the crowds and the heat to Borobudur, a massive Buddhist temple elaborately carved with images of earthly life on the way to enlightenment. The top level of Borobudur is covered with stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha. If you can reach in and touch Buddha's hand, the saying is that your wish will come true.

We were both tourists and objects of attention at Borobudur, as many Javanese families and students wanted to have their photos taken with us! We were also interviewed by young students taking an English class, and it was fun to interact with them.

Lest you think that we had only fun and games yesterday, we did go to the beautiful new hall at Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) to practice. The hall has only been open four months, has a great acoustic, and we are honored to be some of the first people performing there. Our hosts at ISI are gracious and are taking good care of us here, making sure we see the sights and eat lots of delicious Javanese food.

We have even more beautiful photos than we have space to post here, so when we return to the U.S. we hope to post additional photos from our journeys.