Written by Daniel Ho
I believe that the contemporary narrative of Arts today must constantly seek to push and perhaps even redefine boundaries. To believe in your art-form also means understanding its fragility and capacity to evolve and in many ways.
Indeed, there is some value in adopting the oft-quoted adage of “Art for art’s sake”. Nevertheless, the reality is often that we need the audience. And in order to do so, we have to work to engage with them. Of course, this is not something new and the local band scene has already been making an effort to engage potential audiences. In recent years we see how social media platforms have been increasingly used to market concerts, beyond the traditional word-of-mouth, hard-copy leaflets and fliers. Concert programmes have also been increasingly geared towards repertoire that attracts a wider general audience, such as film and video game music.
At the same time, we must also understand that the creation of art should not simply descend into a matter of pandering to the transient tastes of the mainstream audience. The creation of art might consider the search and presentation of the intrinsic and intangible value found from engaging in the arts, together with the audience. It is important that different arts groups stay firmly grounded in their creative vision, be it championing local contemporary music, or bringing in large international works of great complexity.
Engaging with a wider audience has also been part of Orchestra Collective’s aim when we do up our calendar of events every year. At the same time, we also do so such that we do not compromise our creative vision as a collective, that is to continually present new and familiar music that will draw everyone into music’s potential for a dynamic and memorable collective experience. This is seen from our inaugural concert ‘The Usual Suspects’ in 2014, where we presented popular SYF classics – repertoire ingrained in the minds of many band musicians from our SYF years as students – to our 2015 collaboration with Band Fusion’s 10th anniversary ‘Tomorrow Today’, where we charted the development of the band scene in Singapore, with a nod to the past and embracing the future talents of the band scene.
We need not stop there. Instead of sequestering ourselves into our own art forms, art itself can be a bridge to other forms of performative arts. Boundaries of art themselves can be redefined to embrace a much larger and fuller concept. Music itself is a collective experience, and the idea of a collective can itself transcend various disciplines. This idea lies at the foundation of OC’s performance this year titled “Who Wants To Live Forever”. Drawing from theatre, we have decided to combine multiple disciplines of art to put up a show that combined the best of various art disciplines. Collaborating with traditional fixtures of theatre and voice, we want to meld the symphonic band sound with the beauty of spoken word and chorus.
This year’s production seeks to explore and define our human individualities and the search for meaning and personal space. “Who Wants to Live Forever” will also feature “The Queen Symphony”, an hour-long tribute that transforms some of English rock band Queen’s beloved melodies into an homage of life and all its paradoxes. This full symphony, along with chorus, will be the full Singapore premiere. This production also features our close friends from The Graduate Singers, director Thomas Lim, actor Mitchell Fang, and playwright Joel Tan. We cannot wait to present this multi-disciplinary work for you!
“Who Wants to Live Forever”
Presented by Orchestra Collective, featuring The Graduate Singers, with performance text by Joel Tan (Tango), directed by Thomas Lim, and starring Mitchell Fang.
This one-night-only performance will be on 14 July 2017, 7:30pm at the School of the Arts (SOTA) Concert Hall.
Tickets ($16, $26, $32, $38) are available at http://www.orchestracollective.com/buytickets
This production is rated Advisory 16 (not NC-16) for mature themes
A contributing editor at TBP.