NYJC Symphonic Band: Treasuring the Memories

Charlotte Chia Re Teng

Hornist
Vice-President Admin
Nanyang Junior College Symphonic Band

Band has been a large part of my life till now, and I would gladly say that I have no regrets joining band once again.

In the past 11 years of my time in band, I’ve gained unforgettable memories & made friends who I know will stay by me. The joy of making music with people who share the same passion is a feeling I can’t find anywhere else. Band is more than just a CCA, it is a time and space to have fun, an avenue to escape from the ordinary life of a student, and a journey that I treasure very much.

Band is something I treasure so much that I would willingly spend time and effort to commit to self practice, plan band events or return to my previous bands to perform as an alumni. I’ve learned so much more from band than just making music. It has taught me to believe in myself. It is only when I think about how I was in primary school, that I realise how much I’ve improved since then.

Till this day, I still remember the very first SYF I participated in, the date, the music, the entire choice piece – the exact notes, rhythms and rest bars of my part, and the happiness of hearing our results live as a band. That was the impact band had on me back then.

Fast forward to my last SYF, I would say that this SYF would be just as memorable as my first one. During our first sight reading session with 5 possible choice pieces to try out, we did not even attempt playing our chosen choice piece – “In the spring, at the time Kings go off to war”. We only listened to the recording in confusion as to how to even read the first few pages of our score. We then proceeded on to counting “1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2” under our breaths while wondering why we would need to scream and sing in a band piece. Finally, we concluded it was a pretty crazy piece, without expecting that we would play it for SYF.

Frankly, two months ago when we finally confirmed our choice piece, I would have never imagined us being able to pull it off. For the next two months, the band room was open and bustling with activity everyday from Monday to Friday, and Saturday as well for the last month. This was the result of our members deciding to come for self practice or self arranged sectionals. Upon seeing our members’ dedication, amount of time and effort put into improving their musical abilities, it made me reconsider: maybe we would be able to do this after all.

The last month building up to SYF was especially intense with several members staying up till 10pm voluntarily on different days. It was heartening to see everyone take ownership of their music and doing their part to put up the best performance we could as a band.

This SYF has truly taught me the value of perseverance and hard work. We eventually managed an initially overwhelming piece and we would not have been able to achieve our Distinction if not for the amount of time and effort every member has put into practicing. The teachers too, helped us a great deal in our preparation for SYF, from getting venues to coming down on Saturdays and a public holiday to allow us to continue our extra practice. Also, our conductors, Mr Tan and Mr Neo have put in so much time and effort, often staying back after practice hours to guide us and offer advice, and coming down on all our extra practices to rehearse with us.

Although my journey in NYSB will come to an end with our upcoming alumni concert <roots>, the experience I’ve had here will stay with me forever. The band events we participated in- concerts, performances and the taiwan trip, the band events we planned – the barbecue we initiated, bonding games day, band dinner, tune-in, band camp, and the process of planning these band events- the seemingly off-topic discussions and filming of videos, would remain as a valuable memory for me. I wouldn’t have imagined that band would give me the experience of making a skit from scratch with my friends (casting, scripting, making props and choosing music to be played during the skit by the J2s then). Such unique events were what made my time in NYSB extraordinary.

My band journey was filled with so much fun and I’m thankful to everyone who has been part of it.

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