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UMS students perform their way to Hollywood for WCOPA

Published on 05 July 2018|
2 min read

Sabahans will be leaving their marks on an international stage.

by Stanley P, Carrybeans

Last Tuesday night, three students of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) showcased their amazing talents in anticipation for the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA). Dayang Nurazreen Salbador, Quenner Mitchell and Merald Omel performed at Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara (JKKN) Building before heading to Long Beach, California to compete in the only International Performing Arts Competition of its kind.

(L-R) Dayang Nurazreen Salbador, Quenner Mitchell and Merald Omel

A showcase of young Sabahan talents

The showcase last night was a preview of the performances that the UMS Team will show in Los Angeles. Their aim was to rally up support for the four team members who are one of the teams representing Malaysia in WCOPA. There were 11 performances altogether which included dancing, singing and instrumental music, all by the three students.


Dayang Nurazreen Salbador during one of her performances

Dayang Nurazreen showed us her vocal chops by singing four songs, including Siti Nurhaliza’s Kurniaan Dalam Samar and Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing. Meanwhile, dance duo Quenner and Merald performed four short but impactful dances that left us wanting for more. Quenner also performed instrumental music using binabad, a traditional bamboo musical instrument.


Quenner Mitchell playing the binabad

Last minute preparation

For the team, getting to join the competition was nothing short of a miracle. According to team manager Norain Abd Razak, everything was completed at the last minute, especially the funding. The registration fee was USD3,500 for each participant, so the cost was very high. Fortunately, UMS and Sabah State Government sponsored the flight ticket and half of the registration fee, respectfully.

Norain Abd Razak (second left) with Quenner Mitchell, Merald Omel and Dayang Nurazreen Salbador

“At first, the chances of us going for the competition was 50-50 because we had some difficulties in terms of the funding. Thankfully, we managed to get just enough funding for us to participate in the competition.”

– Norain Abd Razak, team manager

Training until the next day

Since this was a big competition, the students didn’t spare any time slacking off. According to Merald, they spent quite a lot of time training for the international competition.

“In preparing for the competition, we’ve been training from morning until dawn the next day. We’ve been training intensively to show Sabah’s ethnic dance to the whole world.”

– Merald Omel


Quenner Mitchell and Merald Omel showing us one of their choreography

Aside from the monetary issues, Quenner said that internal conflicts between team members had also arisen among them. However, they managed to work through their issues and became a stronger team because of that.

The WCOPA is the one-and-only, Olympic-style international meet for aspiring performers and entertainers held annually in the “Hollywood” area, entertainment capital of the world. UMS Team will be competing with other performers from all over the world in Hollywood on 6 July until 15 July.

So, to the team, Carrybeans wishes you all good luck in the competition!

Did you know that there’s a free walking tour of KK? We went to one recently and it was fun!

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