Poh Jo Zhi Wayne
Band Major and Trombonist
Manjusri Concert Band
There’s a saying, ‘The end of one journey is the beginning of the next.’ I uphold this statement, as it is representative of my personal journey in band. The end of this journey does not mean the end of my learning, instead, I believe it is a stepping stone on my path to success.
My name is Poh Jo Zhi Wayne, a Secondary Four student and the former Band Major of Manjusri Concert Band. To describe my journey in band, I would say that it has been laborious, but at the same time, extremely rewarding. It’s one where I have managed to develop qualities and make memories I would not have otherwise done so in another CCA.
First and foremost, it was not really my initial interest to join band. Something about pouring in years of commitment and dedication into this CCA that I have limited knowledge and understanding of did not really intrigue me. However, I was assigned into band, and with no prior experience of playing an instrument or being in a band, it was my utmost desire to leave. Nevertheless, I still decided to give it a shot. In hindsight, staying was the best decision I made. I eventually became the Band Major, leading and forming closer bonds with a group of remarkable and phenomenal musicians. Being able to produce music with them not only elevated my sense of belonging to the CCA, but also made me feel like band was my second home. Not only that, I’ve also managed to meet others of similar interests through events related to this CCA.
During my time as a leader, it was really tiring and draining having to take charge and lead. I constantly strived for improvement and excellence, to meet the expectations of my members and teachers. What I had not expected when I first took up this position was how much it would change my life. The amount of pressure I placed on myself, and the time I dedicated to ensuring the wellbeing of my members in band, took a toll on me. It was definitely one of the toughest parts of this journey. I realised that such stress I accumulated over time was not only detrimental physically, but also mentally. I still remember vividly having sleepless nights due to the immense stress I had. However, what this has taught me, is how to overcome hardships and grow from it. I eventually opened up and approached others, and with the help of Mr Yeo Jieyuan, my teachers and my committee, the process of leading the band became smoother, and my worries have waned. This difficult period definitely taught me more than a thing or two, and by the end of my service, I have grown from a reserved and timid person to an outgoing and much more confident self.
Back in 2022, when I first heard news that we were going to participate in the Singapore International Band Festival, I was rather doubtful about us achieving our desired results. Frankly speaking, at that point, the band had barely reached its pinnacle of our potential, and we were still adjusting to the new leadership and environment after our seniors left. A few days before the actual performance, 3 members, including myself, were down with COVID-19. This was devastating news for the band, as every member played an important role during our performance. Luckily, the band was quite versatile and managed to cover up for the missing parts. I felt immensely apprehensive for the band, but on the day of performance itself, I managed to test negative, and participated in the performance! I felt a sense of jubilation, and this made me realise how much band meant to me. In the end, we managed to acquire the Silver award, and this raised our hopes we had for our SYF the following year.
Leading up to the recent SYF, our band spent countless hours training, just for the few minutes of limelight up on stage. It’s really commendable how much dedication and effort everyone has poured in for us to achieve an outstanding result for SYF. Everyone has contributed in some way or another, and I found it fascinating how people of different abilities can come together and work hard towards a single goal. We faced tough obstacles which unquestionably lowered our morale, but we did not let such hindrances get in the way of our target. Instead, we persisted despite how dreadful we felt.
Before the performance on the 12th of April, some were unbothered, while some were visibly anxious. However, on stage, we all had a clear objective, and it was to deliver good music. After the performance, it was undeniable the amount of relief we all felt. I really enjoyed the moment up on stage with my bandmates, and it was also great that the year-long burden was lifted from our shoulders. A few of my fellow members felt that they could’ve done better, and a few of them were disappointed. This feeling is inevitable, but I am exceptionally proud of my members for finishing our SYF journey. In the end, our efforts have borne fruit and we managed to obtain the Certificate of Distinction!
The end of SYF meant the end of my band journey. After four long years in band, it all built up to this one result. The memories I’ve gained, the lessons I’ve learnt, and the new bonds I’ve made, were indisputably the best parts of my life. I do not have a single bit of regret joining this CCA. I truly appreciate everyone who was present during this sentimental voyage. I’ll truly cherish the time I spent and people I have met through band. Band has definitely changed me for the better, and I’m grateful for it. Graduating does not mean the end of the road for me, as the qualities I have gained can open many doors and be useful in my future endeavours.
Band was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me, and I’m thankful for every last bit of the pleasant memories.