Lucas Kwai Ming Yang

Drum Major

Maris Stella High School Symphonic Band

As the Sec 4s stepped down from band a few days ago, I’ve had the time to reflect on my band experience in these 4 years and how it has changed my life.

I remember when I was in Sec 1, I practically had no musical background unlike many of my seniors and batch mates who played the piano or played their band instrument in primary school. I wasn’t sure of how I was going to be able to be as good as them, but I knew I enjoyed listening to music and the challenge of reaching their standard spurred me on. I’d often spend a lot of time during my breaks to listen to music, and then finding the sheet music online to try playing on my instrument!

I didn’t realise it then, but this process of discovering new things and imitating the music would help me pick up new music quickly and adapting to changes or difficulties. Since then I have been exposed to a wide range of music while playing in band. Many people think that band only plays classical music or marches, but in fact, our band has also played pop and rock songs that are definitely familiar to everyone! Furthermore, we have also gone to several concerts for our band outings that have widened our perspective of band music, where more and more music is incorporating fresh and new ideas such as fusing traditional, choir, blues and even disco elements in them!

Being in band had also given me the opportunity to lead and teach people, and is something that I am very grateful for. It was the first time I was entrusted with the responsibility of leading so many people as well as having to plan and coordinate events that our band takes part in, such as concerts and workshops or even school events which the band was performing in.

Another first was having the opportunity to conduct sectionals, and many of my favourite memories are with my beloved section! It was really amazing to see everyone grow, especially during the SYF period recently, from being awkward around each other and not knowing how to respond to cues when we had our first sectionals into the confident and strong players who enjoy making music together and encouraging each other through tough times!

I also appreciate the memories and friends made in band. We’ve had our highs and lows, gone through times of great difficulty together, but we were able to pull through the obstacles we encountered knowing that we had friends beside us to lend a hand of support and give encouragement. As my batch mates and I grew older, our responsibilities grew too, and many of us took on leadership roles in EXCO or as Section Leaders when we were Sec 3.

When we were the juniors, we’d often laugh and joke about how it seemed impossible for us to become leaders of the band, but as time flew by we had already transitioned into our new roles of seniors, barely noticing that we had even stepped up at all. There were also times when we complained how tough and tiring practice was, but whenever we finished a good performance the joy on everyone’s faces are definitely moments that I will treasure stepping down from band.

This year’s SYF experience has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience for me as the band was faced with many challenges in the choice piece and it seemed almost impossible to play the piece properly. Many of us were in dismay as we couldn’t imagine ourselves pulling off the piece within the amount of time we had to prepare it. Nevertheless, the band worked tirelessly to understand the piece better.

With the support and guidance from our conductors, Mr Adrian Chiang and Mr Joseph Teo, the band was able to steadily improve over time. Our teachers-in-charge, parents of our band members and alumni were extremely helpful and encouraging during this period as well. Without them, the band definitely would not have been able to achieve the results we have gotten.

I am very proud of the band’s performance, and am excited to see what they will go on achieve next! Continue creating the legacy!