Ng Yong Hwee Melody

Alto Saxophonist
Queenstown Secondary School Concert Band

I started band in the year of 2018, intrigued after a senior very readily brought a French horn’s mouthpiece towards my face during CCA orientation.

Although I entered the band as a clarinetist, my band journey really only started to pick up around June holidays; when I was told to transfer to percussion for the Singapore International Band Festival (SIBF) as they lacked members. However, this particular story ended with frustration and a bronze award.

After the competition, I was asked to join in the saxophone section which also lacked members. This time for another, bigger event, the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) 2019. The switch from a clarinet to saxophone was jarring due to the angle at which the mouthpiece is at. However, with a good dose of support and the internet, I managed to learn and even decided to stay with the small section after SYF. We got the Distinction award we wanted and bid the seniors farewell soon after.

Since I have had the chance to participate in SYF 2019, I was already used to the hardships the band would face as we practiced harder for SYF. However, back then we didn’t have the problems that came with COVID, and could just go through the motions like a well-oiled machine.

Personally, I think the choice piece “Inspire” by Satoshi Yagisawa that we performed is very fitting to explain our journey to SYF. While the band’s interpretation of it was a child on an adventure in a forest that is rimmed with danger, I believe it also translated well to the band’s experience over COVID till the last note played in the hall.

The start of the piece is slow, tranquil and peaceful, reminding me of the times when we were completely unaware of the looming pandemic.

The music picks up a little in pace, with a melody line that will soon be parroted later on, representing our band members listening to the recording countless times, hoping to play as wonderfully as it.

It then slows slightly with a sharply accented high note indicating the start of the fast part. The clash in the sound comes and the tension in the music rises, just like our stress levels when COVID brought our progress to a halt.

The bass line of the fast music relates to our hearts beating fast while the melody reminds me of our messy minds during circuit breaker period, and the struggles and emotions we went through.

While still in this high tension phase of the music, a hopeful sort of feeling springs out as a clearer direction of the melody comes through. This is just like how the band managed to pick up the scattered pieces of our progress and tried our best to put them back together.

As the music carries on, there comes a heavily accented bit from the winds, and the percussion building up to a checkpoint; similar to how the band had put in all the efforts during this difficult time to improve ourselves to be better.

The music gentles again with the bass leading and the trebles tinkling as we reach closer to the climax; like how the band had their moments of rest after the period of constant improvement slowed.

Then, the music painfully climbs to the climax, reminding me of the time our band waits outside the conference hall, with anticipation and nervousness coiled tightly within us.

And as the music reaches its climax, the band has played the first note.

It gentles again and echoes the melody that was played earlier, with a few differences that represents the way our band has made our own interpretation of the music. I think we managed to play better than the recordings we had heard, and I feel that this repeated phrase holds my sentiments dearly.

The music then ends in the grandest of fanfare, marking the end of our SYF journey as we finally get to relax.

I am most proud that the band had managed this far, and will most certainly miss the chaos of it as I step down.

And with that, I conclude my band journey and Questband’s SYF journey.