The Band Post takes a peek into Mr Quek Boon Hui’s years of helm as Band Director for Maha Bodhi School Symphonic Band, an established primary school band in Singapore with a distinct number of accolades. Mr Quek will be celebrating 20 years with the band in 2016.
What are your thoughts after being in Maha Bodhi Band for almost 20 years? Has this entire journey changed you?
This is my nineteenth year in Maha Bodhi School (MBS).
Over the years, the MBS Band has also grown not only in size and musicality, but in instrumentation as well, with the latest addition of the double reeds, transiting from a concert band to a symphonic band. Before I started teaching in MBS, the band was actually closed down for two years.
Through these years, I have also learnt a lot and have grown to become a better band director and educator. Learning is a never ending process, and I learn something new every day from the students I teach.
Were there any memorable moment/s that you can recall during this long stint?
One of my most memorable moments was my trip to Sydney together with the band, to participate in the 17th Australian International Music Festival back in 2006. It was also a special trip to celebrate our 10th anniversary.
Back then, we were the only primary school to participate in the competition, and we were even invited to perform for the closing ceremony at the iconic Sydney Opera House.
How does it feel as a teacher to see your students come through your programme, graduated and yet continue to give back by returning as alumni members?
It is extremely gratifying to see my students coming back as alumni members to mentor our junior members, especially when we are preparing for the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) Central Judging and our annual concerts.
It is also nice to see them pursuing their passion in music and even taking music as a career, such as Yeo Jie Yuan, Danny Teong, Shawn Yap… and more recently Lee Wai Teng, Joseph Chong, Yong Lin, Seah Hee Cheng and Samuel Phua.
We believe that you have created a Maha Bodhi legacy thus far. What do you think is this core value / spirit that is keeping everyone together like a family?
MBS is a Chinese-based school which has nurtured the students to be rooted in Chinese culture. The school is also under the umbrella of the Buddhist Federation and the buddhist teachings have definitely impacted our students.
“饮水思源” is one of the school’s values that have been inculcated in us and I believe that this is what brings everyone together.
Do you have anything to say to your students, whether past or present?
Dedication and commitment is key. I definitely also hope that music and music making will continue to be a part of everyone’s lives.
What past students say about Mr Quek[blockquote author=”Wan Rue (Class of 2014)”]Mr Quek’s teaching has sparked an interest in me in making music. It is how he teach that brought out the hidden potential in myself.’ Wan Rue 14.[/blockquote] [blockquote author=”Liam Soh (Class of 2009)”]Actually, Mr Quek just taught us how to play our instrument, and possessed a fatherly figure and we respect him very much.[/blockquote] [blockquote author=”Audrey Chen (Class of 2000)”]Everyone started out in the band, young and mostly clueless about what to expect. All we had was that little inkling of love for music and Mr Quek took that, built on it and consolidated the essence of it.
He worked his magic and hence ignited a flame of passion that burnt deep and strong. Calling it magic might be a little cliche but no other words seem to best describe it.
Mr Quek led us through great music experiences, allowing us to appreciate music making alone and as a band, therefore creating a community of passionate music makers.
Not all of us went on to pursue a career in music although i must say quite a fair bit of us did. Not all of us are perfect in our skills or are well honed to this day; mine has dwindled to say the least but that word is strictly reserved for my playing. Years of inactive band involvement has corroded my playing abilities but it has done little to dampen my passion for it.
That’s the magnitude of an impact he has made in my music journey; he took my inkling of love for music and rooted it in.[/blockquote]
(cover photo: Maha Bodhi Band at Istana (18 Aug 2013) / credit: Maha Bodhi School Symphonic Band FB page)
A contributing editor at TBP.