The unexpected COVID-19 has deeply affected many performing arts groups across the globe.

Similarly, back home, the pandemic has affected the plans of Singapore Wind Symphony and its musicians in the past two years.

“In 2021, the SWS had plans to re-establish and rebrand as Singapore’s community band – with multiple outreach programmes and concerts, but unfortunately this was derailed by the pandemic,” said Johan Ezran, SWS Chairman.

“Since SWS is primarily a wind ensemble, the many restrictions prevented us from having group rehearsals, and concerts were put on hold. We had to constantly check the updated regulations throughout our preparation in 2020; but all our live performances were cancelled when the HA2 was announced,” he added.

According to resident conductor Joost Flach, SWS’s annual programme had to be moved another year. Despite the challenges, the SWS spirit has not waned.

“We were forced to change the size of the orchestra: the number of unmasked players allowed in the rehearsal and the stage fluctuated, depended of the regulations. It was like a yoyo, giving stress for the members of the organising committee.”

The Singapore Wind Symphony will present its virtual concert ‘YULEnsembles!’ on 25 December, as it livestreams the performances of 8 various ensembles via its Facebook & YouTube channels.

“Performing is the aim of every project. It is a self-fulfilling task where every performer works toward to. A recording is possible but doesn’t give the full satisfaction. The concert is and was a project to give the SWS a direction, to let the people know that the oldest community band of Singapore still exists,” said Joost.

The group also embarks on a donation drive, as it seeks to keep its passion for music alive for more years to come.

“Through the concert, we wanted to involved our musicians, reconnect with our section members, share our love of music through Christmas, and raise donations,” Johan added.

“Without funds from corporate sponsors and concert ticket sales, SWS has been sustained by dedicated volunteers and silent donors till today. Your donations will allow our volunteers and musicians to continue their good work in promoting Singapore’s musical identity!”