A probable reason why some schools have alumni bands are that these people see a special meaning to come together for a purpose, not just because they once graduated from their alma mater, but also that they recognise the friendship beyond music and hope to reminiscence the memories of a lifetime.
The Maha Bodhi School Alumni Band, or MBSAB in short, is one such case. Despite busy work or school schedules, this group of former band members took their precious time off and committed their weekday nights to rehearse for their bi-annual concert “Reminiscence III”.
“The factor that allows MBS Alumni Band’s members to always return to their alma mater, is the bonds that are formed since their primary school days. Our members have always been doing many things together such as practising for SYF competitions and studying together. This practice of working together continues into the alumni band, where advises and help are always there for our members. If anyone in the band has encountered a problem, every other member is more than willing to lend a helping hand,” said Low Kai Li, chairman of the band.
“Due to the tremendous support we receive from our Music Advisor, Mr Quek Boon Hui, I am extremely glad to have a consistent stream of new members joining us. He has been speaking good about the alumni band to existing members, garnering their interests. Our participation in the students’ music-making journeys through learning camps and master classes have also contributed to that factor,” Kai Li continued.
The repertoire for the concert was crafted around the band’s versatile capabilities, with a balanced set of serious wind band works in Laudate Regem, and popular arrangements such as Ghibli Medley and Takarajima.
The exciting program also showcased the contrasting styles of the trumpet sound in Frank Ticheli’s ‘An American Elegy’ whose offstage trumpet part was covered by Joelle Sze, and in Otto M. Schwarz’s ‘Solo Bossa’, where alumnus Christopher Yong Lin delivered his solo on the Flugelhorn and Trumpet.
“To be able to play a solo with MBS Alumni is a very emotional experience for me. This is my musical root, and I am very proud of every individual who has contributed to both the MBS and the MBS alumni band, especially to my mentor Mr Quek and my dearest friend Mr Yeo,” said Christopher, who graduated in 1998.
As a combined finale item, Music director Yeo Jieyuan selected ‘Tabidachi No Hini’, a melodic arrangement of a graduation song commonly used in Japanese schools.
“The piece carries a special meaning for our alumni members. It signifies the revisiting of our roots and the reminiscing of our graduation from our alma mater,” he mentioned.
In preparation for the concert, the executive committee (exco) headed by President Low Kai Li had to ensure that all logistic efforts are smoothly planned for the facilitation of the rehearsals.
“Running an alumni band is not easy. Even though my exco and music department are busy with their work and studies, we make it a point to spare some time monthly to come together and make things work. This is because we know that it is now the best time to give back to our alma mater,” said Kai Li.
“饮水思源 is a value Maha Bodhi School has taught us and it will always remain strongly in our hearts,” he added.