This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.
By Eric Leow (16S06G), Vice Chairperson and Kellerine Quah (16S03B), Chairperson
*Cue misconception* Do Piano Ensemble members simultaneously bang on 20 grand pianos during CCA time? As much as we would love to (and we are still experimenting with the boundaries!), in Piano Ensemble, we play works ranging from classical masterpieces to self-arranged pop songs in our groups of twos to fours on 1-2 pianos.
Through the demands of understanding our partners and working through weaknesses, it is certainly no wonder that we have come to form a tight-knit family of like-minded peers who unite at keyboards through our intimate CCA sessions and arranged practices. In Piano Ensemble, soloists and team players alike humble themselves to step out of their comfort zones and deliver euphoric performances together, bringing music to life. Most uniquely, in Piano Ensemble, members will get to build strong individual friendships with our ever-changing duet partners, through quality practice time and of course, loads of laughter within the ensemble.
Our only official CCA day is Tuesday, and time is extracted at the ease of one’s schedule to practice with their friends. CCA sessions are often sparked by our experienced coach, Ms Yeong, who shapes our musical direction, and never fails to brighten up our day with her encouraging words, whatever skill level one may be at.
During our general meetings, we plan for future performances, ranging from external recitals and CIP performances to our much anticipated Annual Concert. In RIPE, no talent goes to waste, and creative juices are ever-flowing – be it instrumental arrangements, designing, videography or scriptwriting, our members get to share these skills in preparation for our performance programmes and storylines.
As a RIPE member, one can expect to be involved in an exciting line-up of activities such as our annual piano competition, Vivace, a pianistic equivalent of SYF, where we performed commendably this year and clinched the individual 3rd placing with a couple of gold awards.
Also, a huge part of our CCA journey would be our annual concert, where we play upon innovative themes, our most recent being “Around the World on 88 Keys (2015)”. Our press review of “Around the World on 88 Keys” may be found here.
Apart from school-based activities, our passion for music is also seen through community involvement programmes (CIP), such as providing piano lessons to underprivileged children in Tanjong Pagar Community Centre, and performing in external locations such as the National University Hospital. The common trait between all these activities is that they are not merely an avenue for us to showcase our technical abilities, but instead, to provide a platform for us to come together as a CCA and to forge better relations with one another through accomplishing a common milestone. Looking back, these were indeed precious times spent together as a CCA, and there is nothing more satisfying than doing something meaningful with a batch you’ll grow to love!
With a plethora of opportunities for us to double up with different friends and enjoyable CCA gatherings (with ice-cream!) one can say that not only is RIPE a safe haven for music enthusiasts to practice and perform, but is also nothing less than a home. A fundamental principle of duet playing is to listen to a partner, accommodate, and reach a common ground to produce lovely sounds and effects – after all, these principles are not much different from the essentialities of forming friendships.
Duet playing, in the words of Andrea Bocelli, is the “sharing of pleasure and responsibility of making music”. If you have a passion for music and wish the spread the love, we hope that you would take a step to join our family, and make music, create memories and magic at your fingertips!