Bringing the 8th Singapore International Band Festival 2022 to a close is the Winners’ Concert Showcase taking place on Sunday, 31 July at the Esplanade.
The competition saw 8 ensembles and 30 bands compete across Band Divisions 1, 2A, 2B, 3, and the Ensemble Division. Winning ensembles and bands were selected by the jury to perform in the concert showcase.
One such ensemble is ‘Not A Clarinet Choir‘, a new collective of clarinetists from different backgrounds that aims to explore the possibilities and push the boundaries of clarinet music, with a keen ear for detail, and an open mind for collaboration. It will also be joined on stage by the BintaBrass Brass Quintet from Thailand, and the NUS Percussion Ensemble.
“We are beyond thrilled to have been selected to perform at the Esplanade Concert Hall. We have been hard at work the past few months diving deep into our music, and we are very pleased to be able to present our work once more,” said Brian Theodore Lim, conductor of the ensemble.
Since the COVID pandemic, SIBF is the first public performance for most school bands.
“The pandemic has definitely brought around big changes in our band programme. We were doing e-CCA via Zoom till February this year before we are allowed to start face to face training limited to 2 students per group. We also have to overcome the absence of my Primary 6 members and train a new percussion section from scratch (just like the title of the piece that we are performing) as the existing percussionists were all from the graduating batch.”
“My band students have shown great resilience in preparing for SIBF and they have put up a great performance! They were all thrilled when they knew that they were chosen to perform in Esplanade. It was a challenging journey to SIBF as we have to constantly adjust and adapt to the latest SMM, but we managed to overcome this with dedication from both the band teachers and the members.” said Philip Han, conductor of Rivervale Primary School Brass Band from Division 3.
“I am extremely proud of what they have achieved and hope they continue to work hard for the upcoming SYF in August as well as the Schools in Concert performance in November at SOTA,” he continued.
From Division 2A, the Anglo Chinese School (Independent) Band led by conductor Francis Tan will perform their rendition of City of Dreams Mvt 3 by Singapore composer Benjamin Yeo, and The Last Letter from Murdoch by Japanese composer Masanori Taruya.
“After a 2-year hiatus, the band has found it extremely exciting to be back on stage performing for a live audience, firstly, in our own school’s Festival of the Arts, and presenting the our two pieces at the NAFA Lee Theatre for SIBF 2022. It has been our honour to have been selected for the Winners’ Concert after immense hard work and preparations under the baton of Mr Tan.
Performing at the Esplanade has been the dream of many band members, who have found this a fantastic surprise to perform in the famed Concert hall so early into their band and musician journey. We are filled with anticipation to present to the audience and fellow performers these beautiful pieces of music, which we very much hope they would enjoy! Thank you!” said Band Major Ethan Chng.
Making its debut Esplanade performance is the Ahmad Ibrahim (AI) Concert Band, which emerged as the winning band of Division 2B. Under the baton of Mr Joseph Chong, they will perform Future of Tomorrow by Benjamin Yeo and Railway for Small Band by Shin’ya Takahashi.
Through weekly sectionals, the students dedicated their time to working on their individual and section parts with the guidance of Mr Chong and Mr Tarun Jayaram. Despite their nerves, the band grew in confidence and performed for the school for the first time in three years as part of their SIBF preparations.
“My first few years of being in the Concert Band was challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We could not have face to face practices which made it difficult to practice as a band. However, we did well in the Singapore Youth Festival 2021 which boosted our confidence. When Mr Chong announced to us that we would be participating in the Singapore International Band Festival (SIBF), I was honestly worried. Some of our junior members were still fairly new to playing their instruments. However, we knew that if we wanted to put on a good performance, we had to step it up and work hard,” said Liu Yu Zhe, Band Major (Music) of the AI Concert Band.
“In the last couple of months, our band made some improvements. This progression motivated us and made us even more united in wanting to work well with our conductors. I must thank all the conductors and teachers for pushing us. I have never felt so proud and happy for the band, and it is worthwhile seeing how far we have come.”
Also joining the concert from Division 1 is the NUS Wind Symphony, who performed Yiddish Dances by Adam Gorb and Arabesque by Samuel R. Hazo earlier this morning.
“It was very encouraging to see a good number of school bands and ensembles sign up for the SIBF this year as this shows that the scene is recovering from the pandemic,” said Steven Phua, committee member of the Wind Bands Association of Music (WBAS).
“Congratulations to all participating groups!”
Sunday, 31 July 2022
Esplanade Concert Hall, 7.30pm
SIBF 2022 Winners’ Showcase Concert
- BintaBrass Brass Quintet
- Not a Clarinet Choir
- NUS Percussion Ensemble
- Rivervale Primary School Brass Band
- Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School Concert Band
- Anglo Chinese School (Independent) Band
- NUS Wind Symphony
A contributing editor at TBP.