The an­them that in­spired a na­tion

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - ANNE MATHER

A TAS­MA­NIAN mu­sic stu­dent has writ­ten a song that has cap­ti­vated the in­ter­na­tional sport­ing stage.

Mia Pa­len­cia, a Con­ser­va­to­rium of Mu­sic PhD stu­dent, has re­cently re­turned from the open­ing cer­e­mony of the South­east Asian Games — where she sang the open­ing-night theme song.

The song, which she also wrote and com­posed, was per­formed in front of 87,000 peo­ple at the open­ing cer­e­mony in Kuala Lumpur.

The stir­ring an­them con­tin­ues to en­trance mil­lions in Asia, and has made Malaysia’s top-10 list of pa­tri­otic songs.

She has now been in­vited to com­pose for a mu­si­cal about the glo­ries of Malaysia’s na­tional soc­cer team when it en­tered the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

“It’s just amaz­ing how this has snow­balled,” Ms Pa­len­cia said.

The song­writer was in­vited to sub­mit a song for the 29th South­east Asian Games, which were held last month, by a Malaysian pro­duc­tion com­pany. The Games hosted 11 na­tions in more than 400 events from Au­gust 19-30.

Her com­po­si­tion, So Many Hands, was selected by the Min­istry of Sport in Malaysia and the Ho­bart stu­dent was flown to the Games to per­form live.

“It was amaz­ing and ter­ri­fy­ing at the same time,” she said. “It’s not ev­ery day that you get to per­form in front of 87,000 peo­ple.”

The song is a trib­ute to the un­sung he­roes in elite sports, from fam­ily through to coaches. “Of­ten when we watch sports as spec­ta­tors, we are fo­cused on the game and the play­ers,” she said. “The re­al­ity is that count­less and tire­less hours of train­ing and many un­seen faces would have sup­ported the ath­lete over many years for them to ar­rive at that defin­ing moment. “This led me to the con­cept of So Many Hands as a ref­er­ence to all the many hands that ‘car­ried’ the per­son to that moment.” Ms Pa­len­cia grew up in Malaysia and moved to Ho­bart eight years ago, be­cause her hus­band is Tas­ma­nian and the Tas­ma­nian Con­ser­va­to­rium of Mu­sic was one of the first to of­fer a song­writ­ing de­gree. She said writ­ing songs in Tas­ma­nia had been a help for her cre­ativ­ity, be­cause of the qui­eter at­mos­phere and the plethora of great artists on the is­land.

“Things can still hap­pen from lit­tle old Ho­bart, in fact I’d say it’s bet­ter here,” she said.

“We have amaz­ing mu­si­cians and stu­dios here [and] while Ho­bart is small, it doesn’t lack for cre­ativ­ity”.

Con­ser­va­to­rium of Mu­sic di­rec­tor As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor An­drew Legg con­grat­u­lated Mia on her achieve­ment.

“I watched the event live, and was com­pletely con­vinced that Mia’s per­for­mance was re­mark­able, to­tally in­spir­ing and ab­so­lutely world-class,” he said.

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