Joshua Sim

Trombonist & Acting Brass QM
Eunoia Junior College Symphonic Band

Band. A simple 4 letter word, with 1 syllable. Yet this word sparks immense joy within me every time I think of it. As of 2021, it is my 6th year as a symphonic band player. And a good 6-ish years I’ve invested indeed.

I always found band to be a place where I could be completely myself without worrying about being judged or shunned by others. It’s like a second home to me.

It was a place where I’ve lost myself in music countless of times. A place where I played my heart out during practice. A place where I had my first combine in. The place where I graduated from.

I was assigned to the Trombone section by our assistant conductor, Mr Terrence Wong, at Sec 1. Knowing virtually nothing about the instrument except that there are a couple of positions I have to shift to in order to play some notes, I started my band life with no idea how much joy, sadness, satisfaction, disappointment, pleasure or despair was installed for me.

I’m sure at least 2 of the emotions listed above have been felt by you at some point in time during your own band, chinese orchestra or choir journey.

The joy of pulling off a performance you and your members know was one hell of a show. The disappointment of being unable to achieve a Distinction in SYF. The frustration you get when you just can’t seem to play this one phrase in the piece, and the absolute sense of relief once you managed to get it right at last. The pride you feel when you see your junior’s improvements. The helplessness felt when they refuse to practice any longer, etc. All these emotions, experiences, friends and memories I’ve made in my time in Band will be treasured by me forever and hopefully, you too.

2020, was the year where it truly felt like the end of the world. Empty streets, closed shops, quiet days: all spent in the confines of your house. For a person who enjoys socializing with people and going out, this was hell for me.

Coupled with my own internal issues, 2020 was by far the one of darkest years of my life. It didn’t help that band had been suspended during Home-Based Learning (HBL) for about a month before online lessons with our instrument tutors began.

Saying I was miserable would be a vast understatement. I was desolated, dejected and depressed. I couldn’t focus on work that was assigned. I wasn’t motivated to watch lectures. I felt so purposeless it hurt. Even now when I looked back on my time in J1, I wondered how did I managed to make it out alive and with my sanity intact.

In fact, all I can remember about my time as a J1 was the orientation and band practices. Everything else is a void in my memory – completely nothing. Without exaggeration, my mental state then was very fragile.

But why? How is it possible for someone to be so affected by the suspension of their CCA? Isn’t CCA a burden?

I was so affected by it because I love band. I genuinely love it like one would love their pets or family. This sounds like a cliché love confession but I feel it’s truly how I feel. The people I get to meet and those I have to say goodbye to year after year, is what I love about band. The chance to be connected through music and get lost in it, is what I love about band. The sight of my members’ smiles after an epic performance, is what I love about band.

This band journey of mine was one filled with emotions, blood, sweat and tears. As I leave EJCSB, although I’m not as saddened compared to my graduation from CHSSB, I will still treasure the lessons and experiences I’ve learnt in my time in band, as well as the friends that have stuck by my side since Secondary school.

One Band, One Sound, always One Brotherhood.