BWW Interview: Program Director DASRIZAL on RELASI NADA DUNIA's Upcoming VIRTUAL MUSICAL CONCERT
On June 27th and July 4th, the musical training institute RELASI NADA DUNIA (RND) will hold VIRTUAL MUSICAL CONCERT. The concert will feature 14 musical songs performed by 29 RND students who took a 2-week workshop course earlier this month. Broadway World spoke to Dasrizal, the Program Director, to learn more about the show.
Dasrizal works as an educator. In-between grading tests and preparing class materials, he makes time for his other passion; musical theater. Last year, he was one of the 13 students selected to attend intensive musical training in New York under the INDONESIA MENUJU BROADWAY program.
This June, he is teaming up with RELASI NADA DUNIA, a training institute that provides courses on performing arts. Last year, RND held a production of INTO THE WOODS JR., featuring young actors, many of whom were enrolled in their classes; the review can be read here.
Their upcoming show, titled VIRTUAL MUSICAL CONCERT, is slated to run on Saturdays June 26th and July 4th. As the name suggests, the show takes the form of a concert held in the virtual space, with the platform of choice being YouTube, featuring songs from various musicals. Dasrizal takes the helm as the program director.
Broadway World contributor Rakaputra spoke with Dasrizal to learn more about the concert's conception and what musical lovers can expect from the show.
The following interview has been translated from Indonesia and edited for clarity.
Can you tell me a bit about how you got involved with the concert?
Initially, RND knew me as one of the Indonesia Menuju Broadway awardee. But our first contact was after a talk show at @america about the IMB program, I was one of the speakers. They approached me to teach workshops at RND. I agreed and we did two workshops together.
Then we had a meeting where they told me that they were looking for a program director. The people from RND challenged me to create a new program that RnD has never done before. I take them up on that.
How did this concert come to be?
About a month ago, when the social restrictions were already in place, we started with a brainstorming session. After throwing ideas around, we settled on a virtual concert. The main idea is that we want to continue creating art even when theaters are shut down.
On a technical level, we wanted to create a show that is not bogged down by the limitations of video meeting apps. We experimented with several formats until we arrived at our current one.
As we developed the show, the concept kept evolving with new ideas but also restrictions. We had to be adaptable and make adjustments.
However, we were also racing against time, so to speak. Taking the director of RND's input into account, we plan to hold the concert before the social restrictions are lifted, when people are still most in-need of online entertainment.
I was working on the concert's set list when a suggestion to hold a workshop came up. The idea was that people could join the workshop and top it off with the concert, to showcase the results of their training.
What was the pre-concert workshop like?
We had two weeks for the workshop. Twenty nine people joined, their age ranging from 8 to 23 years old. Everyone got three one-on-one sessions, two of them online and one held face to face. Each session ran for 40 minutes.
Most of the workshop attendants are trained singers, some of them have attended vocal schools or lessons, though there are a couple who haven't had prior training. We actually have several people who are already involved with the performing arts scene, like Lil'li Latisha (Indonesia Menuju Broadway, TEMAN's Hairspray) and Britney Kimberly (Indonesian Idol Junior). Some came with theater experience.
But we only have two males in this batch. It's still a challenge to get more male performers in the industry.
During the workshop, we of course studied and trained vocal techniques. But more importantly, we had them learn how to deliver musical theater songs beyond the singing. We worked on how to convey a story through gesture and expression in addition to the song itself.
How did you come up with the set list and arrangement?
In developing the set list, I looked for songs that focus on positivity. Songs that carry a supportive message and those that can be understood by most people even without the original context, songs like No One Is Alone (Into the Woods) and I Have A Dream (ABBA/Mamma Mia!).
As to how we decided on the singers, I asked the people who registered for the workshop to send a sample of their singing. I had the set list prepared by then. So I plotted out who the singers will be for each song based on whether or not their voice fits with the song as written.
With the help of our music director Hizkia Yosurandri (Jaksical), we then arranged all the songs to be sung by either a group of two or three.
There were some challenges along the way. For one, some male songs ended up with female singers, so we had to make further changes, adjusting the key and having the singers try them again.
Another problem was, of course, learning through video meeting apps. The latency made it really hard to work on our harmonies. That was also a consideration when we worked on arranging the songs; our arrangements are easier for each singer to rehearse separately first with the backing track we provide. That way, it's easier for them to learn on their own time.
Can you tell us more about the concert?
The Virtual Musical Concert will run on June 27th and July 4th on RND's official YouTube channel, for free! We have a different performance on each date, with a different set list as well. So to get the full experience, please watch both shows.
Elisabeth Viona (Kaeru, Danada) will host the concert and introduce the songs. Throughout the concert, she will also share quiz questions! If you think you've got the answer, you can send them to @relasinadadunia to win e-wallet credit.
The performers will mostly sing together in the same studio, except for those who are not currently in the Jakarta area. As for the accompaniment, our music director Hizkia will perform our arrangement on the keyboard from a separate location.
As we're presenting a concert experience, we will not be replicating full-on scenes from the musicals. Likewise, for the wardrobe, the performers will wear outfits put together by taking inspiration from the original musicals.
Is this concert a one-off event or will there be similar concerts in the future?
A second season is in the talks, but we're still very early in the production process. We will take into account our findings from this first concert and your feedback to create an even better show.
Particularly, I would like to increase our efforts in promoting and marketing our next event. We did the best we could with this concert, but we had very little time to get the word out.
Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Even though we can't go to the theater at this time, don't let our love for theater and art die. One way to keep it alive is by letting your appreciation be known to those who are still creating art. Bring each other up, show your support through social media, and watch the content we post. Even an act as simple as watching a video we worked so hard on can mean a lot.
Thank you for your time!
You're welcome, thanks a lot!
The first of RND's Virtual Musical Concert videos can be watched here starting at June 27th, 3 PM Jakarta time.