Drum Major and Trumpeter
Unity Symphonic Band
I am Sebastian Artjioes, the Drum Major of Unity Secondary School, representing the 2022-2023 batch. My four years in Unity band have undeniably been arduous yet meaningful as I have gained leadership skills, mastered playing my instrument as well as developed life-long friendships which I otherwise would not have achieved if I were to be in another CCA. I would like to share with you my wonderful journey in band and what it has taught me.
When I initially stepped foot into the CCA, I had no idea what I had signed up for as I had no prior knowledge about music, playing musical instruments or anything related to band as I had previously joined a sports CCA in primary school. At first, I was very lost and timid to join the band as I was fearful of the seniors and was shy to approach them. However, the seniors and alumni members in Unity band had made us feel comfortable by offering us candy and having fun and candid conversations. One of my fondest memories during my time in band would definitely be during sectionals. As simple as it sounds, I really enjoyed just being around my section mates, creating music together and bonding through small chats. This feeling of being close to each other truly made me look forward to every single band session so that I would not miss out on anything. Hence, as one of the leaders in the band, my committee and I aimed to make the band more united and for each and every one of the 60 members to feel as comfortable as I had felt when I was a junior member. As my leadership journey in Unity Secondary School comes to an end, I can confidently say that I have felt very close to everyone, and the committee has successfully instilled a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie in Unity band. We specially organised events such as our March and June holiday band camps, and Legare performance in order to forge friendships with each other and other people like the alumni and friends from other CCAs. However, out of all these events, I would like to focus on Legare and tell you more about it.
Translated from the Italian language, Legare means “to unite”. It is a yearly homecoming event for all band alumni which is usually held in late October or early November. The band plays nostalgic songs or pieces which we have been currently working on as an incentive for alumni to come back and enjoy the performance together. Not only that, the committee also benefits from working together and planning for this event as it enables them to build stronger bonds and develop organisational skills which are highly sought after in today’s world. As the overall in-charge of the Legare performance in 2022, the committee and I had encountered several problems during the planning and execution of the activities. However, through feedback from teachers and a lot of discussions, the committee managed to overcome all problems and came out to become better leaders. I would miss the late nights of staying up with my committee to plan together, and though it was stressful, it is something I would cherish tremendously.
Besides that, I would like to share about the preparations leading up to this year’s SYF. Although we might have gotten the result that we wanted, I would like to put more emphasis on the journey of attaining this result. When our Secondary 4 students had stepped down when I was in Secondary 3, the band had many problems as our skills were not up to standard. The rest of the band had struggled to bridge the learning gap and this left a tremendous amount of pressure on my batch, as we were the oldest in the band and everyone was looking up to us as an example to follow. This was definitely one of the toughest parts in my band journey as I was not too sure whether we could play as good as our former seniors. However, we pushed on and continued to trust the process and we even attended extra practices held on Friday afternoons, on top of our regular band sessions on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings.
We had put in our best efforts for our first competition which was the Singapore International Band Festival 2022. To our surprise, we had attained a score of 69.5 which was a Bronze award. Upon hearing the band’s result, I could vividly remember the band members and I jumping for joy and screaming at the top of our lungs. It was truly a memorable night. As I reflected further, although we had exceeded our expectations set for ourselves, we were 0.5 marks away from getting a Silver award. This thought fuelled me and the band to work even harder in order to attain distinction for SYF. We did not want to settle for good enough; we wanted to strive for excellence to be the best we could be and so, we continued to put in even more effort. Honestly, I was not too sure how we fared after our performance but to my surprise, we had successfully gotten the Certificate of Distinction! Hence, if you really put your heart and soul into something, I believe with 100% certainty that you can attain it.
Through this four-year journey in Unity band, no words could describe the plethora of emotions I have felt. It was like being on a rollercoaster ride but it definitely was a fulfilling and enjoyable one.