Sharing the Tradition of Drumming

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Central Band recently put up its twelfth instalment of the Chamber Repertory series on 27 January at the Esplanade, featuring its very own Corps of Drums and guests from the Society of International Rudimental Drummers (SIRD).

The evening’s music both Swiss and American literature, showcasing the hardwork of the percussionists who were treated to two weeks of intensive classes and guidances by the three SIRD guests, namely Oliver Fischer, Urs Gehrig and Dave Loyal.

“This collaboration was only possible after discussions in Paris last September during the 2nd International Rudimental Drummers Symposium (now known as SIRD). I wanted to bring in foreign drummers to educate the section about their style and culture. It was timely as we decided to theme the Chamber concert as a percussive one to make it eventful for both parties,” said ME2 Hazizi Jafaar, Percussion Group Leader of the SAF Central Band.

“We were busy learning about the Swiss and American style of Drumming. We were also taught about the Bass Drum technique which isn’t common at all in the world until recently thanks to Dave Loyal. I’ve personally learnt how important it is to have the WHY factor as to everything we learn and practice. The section had tons of questions for the three guests and their responses allowed us to deepen the understanding of their repertoire and made our learning to become more meaningful,” he continued.

ME1(T) Brenson Yam who recently signed on with the band also shared his experiences.

“The guests showed us rudiments that were commonly used in Swiss Drumming and what really fascinated me was that even though the rudiments they have might be similar to what we have here, it can sound totally different especially in the character and feel. This is probably because everything was approached as a melody and it’s very apparent in their playing which always had a wide range of dynamics. I really liked how they sing out their rhythms as a tune before playing and making it sound exactly like how they phrased it.

Apart from the musical aspect, we also discussed quite a bit on the importance of proper technique and the efficiency of strokes that allows us to get a big sound with the least effort and allow us to really play out with ease and have more freedom to express ourselves.”

The concert also marked a first time unique experience for Swiss drummer Oliver Fischer, who believed that the training sessions for the percussionists received excellent huge support from the superiors and participants.

“The drummers were very well prepared and open for new ideas and drum styles. The sharing and developing of rudimental drumming on this level has never been done before, and it is definitely something unique in the Asia Pacific region.”

“This is a milestone for the heritage of rudimental drumming and the future!”

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