Light the Way: Symphony of Sound

What are the performing arts CCAs doing for the College Day Concert? Find out more in our ‘Light the Way’ series! The Origin* will be featuring each performing arts CCA in a series of 5 articles leading up to College Day. First up, we have EJ Band!

Written by: Aloysius Tng (19-U4), Lee Keng Yan (19-U1), Clarence Sim (19-A6)

Designed by: Athena Lim (19-A4)

Photograph Taken By: Yau Yu Hao (18-I6)

In this piece, we will be showcasing our very own Eunoia Symphonic Band, a CCA that has been with us from the very start. Snagging a distinction in their very first Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) in 2017, Band has been one of Eunoia’s core aesthetic CCAs with many successful performances under their belt. With over 50 veteran members and instruments ranging from the triangle to the double bass, Eunoians are in for a treat, as they will get to see all of these in action at the University Cultural Centre on 11th May when they perform for our Eunoia College Day concert! Today, we will be interviewing the Symphonic Band President Chang Aik Chuan from 18-U1 and a dedicated J1, Zhang Runze, from 19-U4.

Party in Space, composed by Lee Jinjun is the set piece for the SYF 2019 Arts Presentations for Concert Bands. Clocking in at just over three and a half minutes, it’s not a stereotypical work of classical music that one might expect a band piece to be, with its off kilter rhythms and varying melodic contours. The piece begins with a short  but strong introduction, before rapidly transitioning into a softer passage showcasing the various brass instruments. The piece goes through several builds and climaxes; none of these are as great as the ending, when the drum set ushers in the trombone glissando and the entire band bursts into rapture, playing their own little piece of the melody.

Sea of Wisdom, composed by Daisuke Shimizu is a stunning piece that takes the listener on a sonic journey through various soundscapes. The beginning of the piece depicts an image of a  serene and tranquil ocean, with seagulls (clarinets in disguise) in one’s mind, providing an even more surreal effect. As the song progresses, the clear skies turn into a ferocious thunderstorm, as the piece gains a newfound sense of urgency and tension. After this thunderstorm, grey clouds give way to rays of sunshine as the band slowly but surely grows louder as one, finishing the piece with a majestic and triumphant series of crescendos. The most prominent part about this piece is probably the saxophone solo which is played twice as it represents a solitary voice of strength and hope; it is assuring, resolute and melodically beautiful.

The pieces are certainly fitting for the occasion, and for Symphonic Band. When asked about the significance of their participation in the College Day Concert, the response was that of hope. For Symphonic Band, the College Day concert is an opportunity to showcase their hours of sweat and work. It’s proof of their identity as a band, a harmonic cohesive that plays with one sound. Symphonic Band has been hard at work for the past few months, with our interviewees feeling that band has worked its hardest, and can say with utmost confidence that they are ready to put up a good show. This year’s College Day is going to be an almost-surreal, almost-unreal one, and Symphonic Band is determined to seize this opportunity to showcase their talents.

As we interviewed them, their excitement and determination was palpable. Aik Chuan felt that it would be a very surreal experience, as they would be transitioning from a small school stage to a prominent concert hall while Runze was evidently hyped for this performance and for everyone’s efforts to pay off.

As College Day approaches, some pieces come to their end. As the seniors prepare to hand over the baton, their wish is this: for the J1 musicians to, of course, practise hard together, but also to cherish their time together. Runze expressed deep appreciation for their seniors’ guidance and acceptance, which has eased them into the various expectations demanded of a high-level performance. Their gratitude shines through in their wish to carry on their seniors’ legacy, continuing to create Eunoia’s sound with the incoming J1s as one Band.

Gruelling months of training will culminate into one stunning performance on the 11th of May, so don’t miss the chance to witness them in action! Come down to the University Cultural Centre on that day to see all five of our Performing Arts CCAs come together to create a stellar performance for everyone!

Addendum:

Just in: SYF Results Release – a hearty congratulations to Symphonic Band for obtaining the Certificate of Distinction!

CCA in the Spotlight – Dance

One breath, One dance, One family. Behind every successful concert is a hardworking and talented cast. Find out more about the setbacks and challenges faced, as well as the motivation that keeps them going.


Interviewee: Gisele


  1. What is an average CCA session like?
    Gisele: It’s really fun despite it being challenging. The people in my CCA are also very friendly.

 

  1.                                                                                                                                                   What made you decide to join your current CCA?
    Gisele: I love and am very passionate about dance!
  2.                                                                                                                                                 What do you enjoy most about your CCA?
    Gisele: DANCING! and my friends & instructors make me feel even happier during the sessions.

  3. What is one essential quality as person must possess to join this CCA?
    Gisele: People who love to challenge themselves even if they cannot really dance because passion and attitude is the most important in dance. Determination as well! As long as you’re interested in dancing & willing to learn!

  4. CCA information (Timing, achievements, etc)
    Tuesday- 5.00 – 8.00pm
    Wednesday – 6.00 – 8.00pm

DISTINCTION (SYF 2017)


Not forgetting a significant milestone for Dance, their concert which happened on the 19th of May, where the Indoor Sports Hall was transformed into a performance space for the first ever dance concert, Momento, Chapter 1 – The First Breath.

The first piece was their SYF piece, City in Shroud, for which they clinched a Distinction. Choreographed by their dance instructor, Mr Dan Kwoh, the piece was about climate crisis and used dance as their media form to inspire change. As the pioneering batch of dancers, they soldiered on this intense road and managed to emerge victorious. With the upbeat rhythm and sharp movement, the dancers put their heart and soul to tell the story and really send across their response to this pressing global concern through his unique form.

The next piece was performed by the J1, Metanoia. The piece was about self-improvement and shows their hopes and dreams for EJ dance. It proved that they could rise above through obstacles through the adventure of their lives and can emerge triumphant. This piece was a perfect representation of modern pop culture and with their beaming faces, we could tell that they were really enjoying themselves through this dance.

The next piece, entitled Cloud 9, was a piece by the J2s. It portrayed the spirit of EJ dance and the cohesiveness as one dance family. The message was even though the hustle and bustle of life we should not forget the joy, liberation and euphoria in the little things. Wong Zann Yee from 17-O1 attended the dance concert and she really enjoyed the atmosphere of passion and love that all the dancers had, and the joy they brought to the audience through their dancing.

The crowd favourite was the choreography to the well-known song, The Greatest Showman, where it was an uplifting performance and garnered loud cheers from the audience. Amelia Quek from 18-E6, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the greatest showman choreography and how the dancers were all smiling and really enjoying the dance, which made the audience feel really hyped too. You can really tell how hard they worked from the tight choreography.”

Following that, was a urban piece choreographed by Zhi Neng, Silence. The message put across was the isolation by everyone and the conflicts we all face, such as adults trying to make ends meet and students having high expectations of themselves, but no one is really ever alone. Through this dance, the frustrations and internal conflict is portrayed along with the comradery and collectiveness of individuals coming together as one.

Next, Rise Up, a lyrical piece was performed by the J2s, displaying the amount of details and painstaking work put into the dance. It portrays a journey of the J2 dancers who have risen up against the odds and forged a path for the dance team. They bore the unspoken responsibilities of pioneers and had to remain resilient in trying times. This piece encapsulates their dream and embodiment of what what they want to pass on to juniors. Albeit uncertainties and difficulties, without obstacles, they would not know their own strengths and the power as a team and come together and rise above.

The finale piece entitled Bienvenue a Eunoia, was the piece they performed during College Grand Opening. The dancers were dressed as waiters and chefs, decked in crisp uniforms.

All in all, the quick costume changes was impressive and the ability to transform the mundane indoor sports hall to a venue with well-studded lights, well-decorated chairs and mats and fairylights, was truly amazing.

“Everything was confusing, almost foreign as most of us had never even met each other before, much less train or really just dance together. It was filled with trepidation, filled with laughter, sadness, anger and generally exhaustion and long days with the constant complaining for the performance to be over, which when it did end, let us realise we craved the thing we all so seemingly disliked. As a new batch/full crew of dancers we didn’t much know our strengths just yet and we often had trouble deciding/agreeing on actions to be taken like costumes buying. Communication at first was reserved and not very fluent between people but we managed to quickly form something beautiful as a batch and grew close together. The final full-dress rehearsal was my most satisfying moment. When I managed to see the entire crew come together and make something out of near nothing, realising we’ve really come far despite being so new, and that all our fears really didn’t matter that much in the end as long as we danced not just for ourselves, but each and every single person on that stage.”

~Bing Hong, EJ Dancer~

 

Chinese Orchestra Concert Review

A member of Press attended the EJC Chinese Orchestra concert on the 13th of May, see what she has to say about it!

“Overall, I personally found the experience to be really fun! My section mates were pretty new to this instrument (Erhu) but I could teach them as I had experience. We had to synchronise our whole performance so that the music produce would not sound disjointed and we also had to take note of the dynamics, Crescendo etc. Just like our theme – ardour, the journey was very arduous as we are a new CCA.”

~Phang Kang Qu, a member of Chinese Orchestra~

 

On the 13th of May, EJ Chinese Orchestra put up an amazing performance entitled Ardour at the Esplanade Recital Studio, conducted by Mr Chin Yen Choong.

 

Opening with a familiar pop song – the impossibly catchy Havana by Camila Cabello – they started the night off on a roll by revamping its swinging, saucy jazz upbeat with the refreshing lilt of the traditional Chinese musical instrument, the 弹拨, making way for a very interesting new sound. This was followed up by the playing of Subaru on the 拉弦(laxian), a piece known for its soothing melody and simplicity, a beloved favourite of the laxian section themselves that bonded together over practicing to its sweet strains, and then, rounding off, 云裳诉, or, Robe of Clouds, as composed by Zhou Yi Guo was played by the Guzheng concerto. On the Guzheng was Pauline Lee Lin Jing, and with Phoenix Gay on the piano, a feeling of grandeur permeated the studio. The orchestra had to practice this particular song many times under the guidance of their conductor to ensure perfect synchrony. It was definitely a pretty difficult piece, but they managed to perform it flawlessly and seemingly without effort!

 

After the intermission, Sydney Lai Mu-En, Ang Jiayi and Pauline Lee Lin Jing performed a Guzheng piece entitled 蝶, meaning Butterfly – a Japanese Koto piece composed by Migawa. It required a lot of co-ordination and unity to be able to synchronize the piece and play it with such emotion and skill. 马兰恋歌, the Love Song of Malan, a Taiwanese aboriginal folk song of the Ah Mei tribe, was played as well, with the 吹管 (chuiguan) and 打击乐(dajile) – percussion instruments. This was a celebratory song to bring the mood up once more.

 

Following that, the next two songs performed were dedicated to the mothers of the orchestra: 鲁冰花, Dull-ice Flower, the theme song of a 1989 Taiwanese film, where its purpose is to express their love for all mothers; and 听妈妈的话,Listen to Mother, composed by Jay Choi in 2006, in which Teng Xin Yi put her passion into an impressive rap that won over both the hype and support of her fellow orchestra members, as well as the audience. Played with absolute fervour and dedication, one could see from how deeply every musician was immersed in the music and the affection they wished to convey to their mothers. They played the piece with absolute fervour and their immersion into the song really conveyed their affection for their mothers. Towards the end of the latter piece, all the members also came together to sing an acapella version of the song. This was, as one can tell, CO’s very own unique way to celebrate this Mother’s Day by expressing their heartfelt gratitude for their mothers.

 

The last song was a SYF set piece in 2017 for Secondary schools. 焰火(Flame) was inspired by Tang Dyansty poet Bai Juyi. This piece was played by the entire orchestra and reflects the ups and downs of life and represents the lives of youths and how the flame burning in all of us will flicker at times, but ultimately burns strong. Lastly, The Typewriter, was an encore piece performed with a few members of the orchestra with a bell and a typewriter as the solo instrument. Who knew a typewriter could be an instrument too? It was an interesting finale piece where the orchestra was synchronised with rhythmic typing on the typewriter. The upbeat and quick tune drives home the essence of the working day and at the end of the piece, the typer snatched the paper out of the typewriter and exits the stage, leaving the audience in hysterics and the sudden drawback to the reality of the situation.

 

When asked about how the audience felt about the performance, Tran Nguyen Anh Thu from 18-I4 said, “The harmonies were brilliant and all the different section could blend with one another to produce soothing music.” Megan Ong from 17-I2 also mentioned, “The members were all so in-sync, and complemented each other beautifully to play such moving, emotion-invoking melodies. You can really see how much time and effort they devoted into practicing to present a marvellous performance.”

 

Overall, both the audience and the performers thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the afternoon ended with the audience scurrying around the Esplanade trying to spot their Chinese Orchestra friends to take pictures and to give them flowers.

 

台上一分钟,台下十年功. EJCO has truly shown the amount of efforts that has gone in to putting up the performance flawlessly which allowed this concert to be a success!