Rachel Ee

Drum Major
Nan Hua High School Band

SYF has been a fulfilling and audacious adventure for the band. Like all adventures, it has been full of ups and downs. Faced with two challenging pieces – Festival on Earth and Selections from My Neighbour Totoro – the going got tough sometimes. Some days, practices were a drag as we had to fix the same old problems like phrasing, dynamics, articulation, and old habits that are hard to kill. To add on, we now had to work on musical expression.

I learned that when we are hard pressed on all sides, it is important to stand by one another and remind ourselves to remain determined and have a positive outlook.

We were very lucky to have Mr Chua Tiong Hong and Mdm Tan Soh Hwa (affectionately known to us as Mrs Chua) as our music directors. They were more than just instructors. They were our cheerleaders, inspirations, father and mother to me and my fellow bandsmen. They encouraged us to push ourselves as they knew that we could be better than who we were.

Personally, Mrs Chua’s words etched greatly onto my heart as she emphasised on how ‘the band is only as good as its weakest player’. This made me want to improve and do better than what I am capable of as I knew that each and every one of us had the potential to soar to greater heights by this band journey.

Throughout this process, we felt really exhausted and stressed out at times. However, our determination did not deter us from chasing our goal for SYF and encouraged better friendships and bonds amongst our bandmates. As someone who had been in the band as a horn player for 9 years, I have gone through the good times and the bad with the other bandsmen and forged long lasting memories. When the going got tough, we would spur on one another to not give up, to look towards our common goal of achieving a Distinction for SYF.

As the days to SYF crept closer, with throbbing hearts and a sense of not knowing what was to come, each practice became progressively easier and enjoyable as there was significant improvement in our music. With the fortification from those practices, all of our spirits were uplifted and this gave us the courage to face D-day.

Finally, the long awaited day came, where everyone was feeling both excited yet nervous at the same time. All of us were ready to give our best and perform to our fullest potential. With thumping hearts, we played the pieces with vibrance and zest. A sense of relief came upon me when we finally completed our presentation.

It definitely was not a smooth-sailing journey, but hardwork and effort put in by each bandsmen improved the standards of the band as a whole.