By Serafina Siow (17A13A) and Abdul Qayyum (17A01B), Additional reporting by Jeanne Tan (17A01B)
It’s the time of the year when most concerts by Performing Arts CCAs have concluded, and student-organised charity concerts step into the frame. As one of the first of such concerts this year, THINGAMAJIG 2016 was a small-scale, cosy affair. It saw students gathering in the PAC on a Friday evening in support of a series of high-calibre performances. Throughout the event, there were opportunities to donate money to the beneficiary of the concert, which was Xin Yuan Community Care – a non-profit organisation that supports the needy elderly and children from low-income families.
The start of the concert was delayed by technical difficulties that were swiftly remedied whilst the audience was psyched up by the excellent playlist prepared by the AV crew. In line with its tradition of participating in the THI concert, Daybreak from Raffles Rock started off the night with an energetic performance of classic rock songs like “Panic Station” and “Can’t Stop”. The adrenaline and thrill from the audience was palpable, which served as a wonderful start to the concert.
The excitement then slowly receded into gradual calm and tranquility with the mellifluous melodies played by one of Raffles Jazz’s bands, Peaches. Classic songs such as “Fly Me To The Moon” did not fail to lull the audience into a mood of relaxation, carried beautifully by their lead singer, Cristel Ho (17A01D).
The concert continued with an acapella performance of “Sorry” and “Lay Me Down” by AL4S, a group from Chorale. The soulful rendition seamlessly interweaved strong solos with beatboxing and harmonising.
The concert then kicked off its second half with The Lids, who performed covers of pop songs such as “Just Give Me A Reason”. Their powerful performance gained a positive reaction from the audience, who had praise particularly for the pianist’s passionate playing. The band also garnered gasps of awe from the audience when a member whipped out a melodica, incorporating its trumpet-like tunes beautifully with the soulful duet.
Following this anticipated Bayley-Waddle Musicfeste group, also known as the Runaway Babies. They performed well-known jams such as “Happy” and “Adventure of a Lifetime”. The infectious energy prompted several audience members to flock to the foot of the stage, which added to the excitement. This marked the highest point of the concert.
Though the bar set by the Runaway Babies seemed impossible to surpass, the hype and energy did not dip the slightest with the energy and passion of the next act. Raffles Rock took the stage once more to end off the concert with a bang and a few guitar solos. This time, their second band, Osaka Sun, performed songs like “Drops of Jupiter” and “Ain’t It Fun”.
While the modest audience was not surprising due to the limited publicity prior to the event, the concert was a gratifying result of the hard work of the THI team. The leadup to the performance was not without its challenges. With the limited publicity, the audience turnout was understandably the subject of some nail-biting by the organisers. Thankfully, however, the crowd on the night itself did not disappoint and a fair number of students filled up the PAC.
In addition, THI had made a novel change in the format of the concert. Initially a closed event which required payment, the concert was made free of charge. Audience members were instead encouraged to donate to the charity before, during and after the concert. Cutely decorated donation boxes were displayed outside the PAC, which served to remind the audience of the concert’s cause throughout the night. However, perhaps more may have been compelled to donate had the organisers provided more information on the charity and beneficiaries.
Nonetheless, in the words of Ms Lye Su Lin, Director of the Humanities Programme and the Teacher-In-Charge of The Humanz Initiative, the concert was a great way for students and the talented musicians to give back to the community from which they have received so much. Su Ying (17A01B), chair of Raffles Rock, also said that the concert was “definitely worthwhile as it allowed the bands to give back to the community through music and not just play for our own pleasure.”
Indeed, as an audience member, this author found it especially heartwarming to witness the enthusiasm of both audience and the organisers in sacrificing their time for this event. Our reporters took every opportunity to wave their hands to the soul of AL4S and jump to the drumbeats of Raffles Rock amidst joyful laughter and good fun, creating an almost unforgettable atmosphere. Ashley Teo (17A01B) cited the performances by Raffles Jazz and the Runaway Babies as her favourites.
In all, the night clearly held both entertainment and meaning to the audience members. As the concert came to an end, many audience members lingered around the PAC, chatting with friends and taking photos. Despite the late hour, it was only when the lights were switched off that most of the stragglers started to vacate the space and the night finally drew to a close.