What is a “Chinese Orchestra”? To some a “Chinese Orchestra” is just a bunch of silly looking people performing the same Chinese New Year songs during every Lunar New Year celebration. To others, “Chinese Orchestra” is a cluster of students who perform weird Chinese music that seemed totally foreign at a certain CO concert they attended to support a friend. Sure, to a certain extent, they may be right, but that is definitely not all there is to a CO.
To us, CO is a gathering of friends who share the same passion for playing music together. As an orchestra, everyone plays a part in creating and shaping our music. What makes us different from a symphonic band or orchestra however is that we create music using Chinese instruments such as the guzheng and pipa, and we build our foundation through Chinese music. But that doesn’t restrict us to making only Chinese music! In fact, CO plays music of all genres and origins, be it modern or traditional, Western or Oriental. Don’t believe me? Here are Chinese Orchestras playing cool songs that you can connect to:
In RICO, we believe that we should play music with each other and for each other. All members have a say in what songs we should play, and some even arrange or compose their own pieces which we often feature. Regardless of our members’ prior experience in playing an instrument before or not, everyone has a place in RJCO.
As an orchestra, every member is crucial in shaping the group sound. Our practices are split into 2 types: sectional and orchestral. In Wednesday sectional practices, we split up into our sections to hone our individual skills and instrument mastery so as to achieve a homogenous sound within the section. In Thursday/Friday orchestral practices, all sections gather to coordinate between sections shape the music as an orchestra, creating one unified sound.
But it’s more than just the music. It is also about how 60 over people can work together to create something beautiful and become a big family. For most of us, our love for RICO stems from the friendship that binds us together. It’s about those late night dinners we have after practices and early morning gatherings just to see each others’ smiles before we plunge into the day. It’s about those outings, chalets and camps that allow us to spend quality time together, half the time mocking and teasing each other. And it’s about those friends that you know that you can fall back on, because there’s an entire orchestra behind you. We go through the highs and the lows as one orchestra.
What is a “Chinese Orchestra”? It’s just a usual group of students, bound by an unusual bond of friendship, playing music together.