By Joash Ho (19S03J), Chairperson and Janika Oh (19S05B), Vice-Chairperson
[DISCLAIMER: To all geology enthusiasts, this CCA is a far cry from an intellectual pursuit.]
The magnitude of sound was astronomical. The decibel level was on the threshold of pain. The barrage of sound assaulted my eardrums mercilessly. With each strike of the drums, I could feel the intense reverberations of the organs within my chest.
Welcome, to just another practice in the Jamming Studio, the humble abode of Raffles Rock. A lot of people have seen Rock perform – the violent head-banging, the jumping, the screaming. But what really happens behind the scenes of a typical CCA session? Do we just stand around in a circle and sing songs? (no, you’re not the first one to ask this) (and yes, we do this). A typical practice begins with us coming into the studio and randomly jamming some tunes. After a couple rounds of “YOUR AMP IS TOO LOUD” and “SHUT UP”, we start getting down to business and practise songs that we have chosen to play for upcoming gigs. Sometimes we don’t really have a specific agenda and we start randomly jamming to classics like the intro of Sweet Child O’ Mine except we all play it in a different key, or the chorus of 童话 with the iconic up-key transition not two but eight times (or until the vocalists start sounding like Mickey Mouse being rolled over by a truck).
These sessions officially occur on Tuesday afternoons from 4.30 to 7pm and on Thursdays from 3.30 to 5pm, if needed. However, we usually go to the studio the moment class has ended, and only leave when school security comes knocking on the studio door.
Apart from school events and YFC gigs, Raffles Rock usually holds two annual concerts: Rock In, held in school around April, and our main event, Rockout, held at *SCAPE at the start of the June holidays. While Rock In is held in the middle of the school term, there is NO excuse not to buy a ticket to attend Rockout! Along with professional sound and light crews, an imaginative stage design and months of hard work from the J1 and J2 bands, Rockout is a full-fledged rock concert and definitely does not disappoint.
Raffles Rock is mentored by Mr Ian Toh, who is also the director at Thunder Rock Music School. Ian is probably the only guy you will see walking around in school with long silky hair (that changes its colour with the seasons), while wearing a Pokemon shirt paired with berms. He’s a big name in the local music scene, and he knows just about everything from insider info about your favourite local band, to why certain pop artists are absolute trash. He gives us tips on how we can improve as a band, and often imparts valuable life lessons to us. TLDR: Ian is the coolest person ever (don’t ever tell him we said that). Speaking of cool, with the guidance of our guardian angels/teachers Dr Lena Lui (or Mrs Teo) and Ms Ng Pei San, the loons of Raffles Rock are always kept in check, allowing our delicate eardrums to live another day.
But how do you join the ranks of our sacred fellowship? One does not simply become a part of Rock until they go through a rite of passage to prove that they truly are worthy. Firstly, come for our OPEN JAM! We’ll be holding a chill jamming session before auditions, so come and jam with us – all are welcome! If you like what you see at the OPEN JAM and think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Singapore Idol, then come for our auditions! You’ll have to play one set piece (which will be released during JIP) and one song of your choice in front of us, our teachers and Ian. Auditions are chill and you don’t have to be too worried. It’ll just be like your first time jamming with us so just relax and have fun, we promise we won’t bite!
We’re hoping to accept roughly 2 vocalists, 2 guitarists, 1 bassist, 2 keyboardists and 2 drummers. However, this is subject to change based on the talent pool next year. Rock is a really small but tightly-knit CCA, and through Rock camp, gigs and countless CCA dinners, you’ll certainly forge some of your closest friendships. For many of us here in this CCA, Rock is the thing that we look forward to the most in JC, and it’s a safe haven where we can unwind through music after a long tiring day in school. It’s a place where you can just be yourself and goof around, and there’s never a dull day in Rock!
If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and thought, “Hey there, you’re a rockstar”, or simply imagined yourself on stage surrounded by deafening music and blinding lights in front of a hyped-up, jumping crowd, then maybe you should try out for Rock! We aren’t looking for the most technically advanced musicians who can play Bach with just their nose when they were 3, or the Eddie Van Halens who can tap the fretboard at the speed of light. If you have a love for music, a positive learning attitude and a passion for Rock, then we promise you that joining Rock will be something that you will never regret!
Follow us @rafflesrock on Instagram for more updates!