CTWinds: Leaving the Stage with No Regrets

Ericia Chay

Clarinetist
Band Major (Music)
Clementi Town Winds

My journey in band was a tough but fulfilling one; full of ups and downs and most definitely my blood, sweat and tears.

Peers around me always ask, “If band is so tough why not just quit already? There is no point in struggling so hard for just for a CCA.” For me, the answer is simple: band is not just a CCA. In CTWinds, band is so much more than a mere CCA, and it is precisely the experience in CTWinds that defines who I am today. The unique experiences in band that tie us together as a family is truly what makes the journey special, and I believe this applies for every bandsmen, not just in CTWinds.

I started band in secondary school, which meant that it wasn’t easy for me to learn the ropes of making music. Having my whole life revolved around sports in primary school, it was a huge change for me when I first joined band. Thinking back, my seniors probably had it worse than me, trying to teach me to play the clarinet when I was clueless on what ‘foreign language’ they were even speaking to me in.

When I recently heard my own recordings from 2016 to 2017, I couldn’t help but cringe at myself. It was hard for me to believe that it was me playing in the recordings. Does this ring a bell? Of course, this is simply the process of growing that everyone, including myself, will go through in band. Surely the process will be challenging, but as a band, we learn from our many mistakes and change for the better, in both playing and in thinking.

One of the most special experiences I had as both a member and a leader was definitely SYF 2019. For me, the experience on stage was amazing, but it was not the most significant. Instead, the process building up to SYF day was the most memorable for me. It was extremely difficult, I have to admit. Balancing studies and band on the daily, dragging myself home after band ended, returning home past 8pm and having to do homework to prepare for the next day. Sure, it was draining, sure I had to ask my tablemate to pinch me every time I was dozing off during lesson time, but was it worth it? Well, no doubts- YES!

It was indeed rewarding to see members coming down on non-practice days to drill the parts that they couldn’t play, correct whatever the conductors pointed out was not perfect and most importantly, build relationships. In less than 2 months, seniors and juniors were closer to each other than ever. Sections were going out for section dinners or section lunches. All these little gestures may not seem all that special, but it mattered more than anything to me because it allowed me to know that everyone was working together as a band. It was because of all these that allowed us to “leave the stage with no regrets” on the 8th of April, 2019.

I’ve realized how much I have grown as a person throughout the short four years of my band journey. I, along with my batch have gone through so much, from Junior Band Festival in 2016, our very first performance, to the recent SYF 2019, our very last.

These people have stuck with me from the very beginning and I truly wouldn’t have been able to come so far without their constant support and encouragement. Of course, without the hard work and dedication that our conductors, Mr Alvin and Mr Tarun, as well as our teachers have tirelessly put into helping our band throughout the years, nothing would have been possible.

Having to express my band journey in words is such a complicated thing to do, because it is just so special. For my juniors and those who are still in band, the journey is sure to be tough. You will experience so much, from tears of joy, to moments where you are truly on the brink of giving up. No matter what, a word of advice: giving up is the worst thing you can possibly do to yourself. Always remember that tough times don’t last but tough people do; it is up to you to determine how your band journey goes. Always keep a positive attitude towards band because everyone is going through the same thing together with you.

I hope that CTWinds will continue working hard and keeping the positive spirit throughout the years! We will always “leave the stage with no regrets”.

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