CCA Previews ’18: Raffles Chorale

By Kevin Li (18S06I), Chairperson, and Solomon Chann (18A03A), Vice-Chairperson

Chorale’s main activity is, of course, singing – but if you asked any of the 25 chorale members in this batch, “singing” doesn’t really do the amount of time and effort put into the CCA justice. While practices usually are on Wednesdays and Fridays for 4 hours each, it isn’t uncommon to find choristers practicing with their sections and friends outside CCA time, as concerts and competitions come near.

Chorale performs two or more times a year, and biennially aims to go on overseas concert or competition tours. In the previous year, we had the opportunity to fly to Vietnam to compete with over 200 international choirs, following 2 local concerts as well as our biennial SYF. These concerts feature the bulk of Chorale’s repertoire — we get to perform everything from sacred Latin works to folk songs and contemporary pieces, giving us choristers a well-rounded and educational experience across the different genres.

chorale 1
Raffles Chorale, post-SYF 2017.

Away from our classic repertoire, however, our annual year-end charity concert Vocal Delights — a fully student-run concert — gives us the chance to showcase a much more modern sound with a pop-focused set sung in smaller groups. Every detail of the concert, from our set to ticketing to decor and publicity, is fully done by our members, and is a great opportunity for choristers to showcase their talents outside of singing.

chorale 3
Vocal Delights Performance 2016.

However daunting it may seem, Chorale definitely isn’t all about practice and performance – in spite of already spending many hours together preparing for many performances, we actually spend a lot of time outside of CCA together as well. Many batch outings, as well as our annual overnight camp in March, give us the chance to grow closer together and forge tight friendships with one another; While singing is a skill that is perhaps developed alone, a choir is inevitably held together by the ties between its members.

chorale 2
Raffles Chorale at Sentosa.

There is definitely a lot of work involved in putting up a performance one can be proud of. As our conductor Mr Toh puts it, “true intrinsic reward comes when you know that you have done all that you could have before going on stage.” To him and to us, singing is not just about making notes, but rather a technical discipline that requires an open mind and a willing heart to practice and make true music. That discipline determines not just the quality of the sound we make but the intrinsic reward and meaning we get on stage, for it is our yearning for that moment of magic on stage — when we are sure we have given our best possible performance — that pushes us forward.

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