By Aristia Ho (19A01B), George Yeo (19S03A), Band Major, and Victor Tay (19S06S), Secretary
When you think of music, the first thing you think of is pop. Big names, big glam, big monies. Then there’s classical music – again big names, not so big glam, and definitely not so big monies. And the last thing you’d think of is your school band, no name, no glam, and zero monies. But you know, your school band isn’t really that bad at all, especially here in RI, where Raffles Symphonic Band (RSB) isn’t just a band, but rather a home to always return to.
Practices are twice every week for 2 to 3 hours on Wednesdays and Fridays, but just like your own home, the room’s always open for you. You’re bound to find someone else there to talk about whatever is on you mind, no matter good or bad (don’t worry, we’re not a judgemental breed.)
CCA sessions typically involve full-band sessions with our resident conductor Mr Lim Yean Hwee, who never fails to give you advice on how to get better as well as where to get the best bak chor mee at 8am on a Saturday morning. There are also separate sessions for sectionals as well as instructor practices, ensuring everyone is well prepared and getting the best out of their band journey.
All our hard work and efforts are eventually put on display at 2 yearly performances, A Tempo in May and Bandemonium in December. In past renditions of A Tempo, we performed notable tunes from Turandot and the musical Miss Saigon, classical pieces of band literature such as Mannin Veen, and even a piece composed by our very own (ex)-teacher-in-charge, Mr Derek Lim; Re-Storing Breath.
As for Bandemonium, we usually perform more light-hearted tunes, and our doors are always open for guest players (perhaps future RSB members?) to join in on the fun!
If you’re thinking about guest playing or joining, but are unsure about whether RSB is the band for you, we host our annual event, Tune-In, where we invite Sec 3s and 4s from all over the country to join us for a day of fun, games, and music.
Outside of those, we have the opportunities to interact with bands on an international level, most notably our exchange with Oxford Falls Grammar School in 2018, as well as travelling overseas to have exchanges with top bands in other countries such as Japan. In 2017, we had the privilege of hosting the band from Meiji University Meiji High School and Junior High School, with a 3-day exchange program culminating in a combined concert at SOTA concert hall. To top it off, we also had a week-long exchange trip to Osaka, Japan, where we were able to experience Japanese culture and interact with local bands, namely those from Osaka Gakugei High School and Kyoto Meitoku High School.
Without a doubt, no CCA would be complete without their very own camp, and we have just that with our annual band camp every March. It’s during this overnight camp where the senior Y6 members and the new Y5 members bond together through fun games and staying up till 2am talking about how one section is superior compared to another (or whatever topic interests you, we’re an open bunch).
Of course, that’s just what has been planned. There’s far more to this CCA than just practice, practice, performance, event, and more practice. Dispersed through the year are multiple informal get-togethers – barbecues, chill sessions, chalet stays – such that there’s never truly a dull moment with RSB. Even the time spent together lepak-ing before and after CCA have the potential to hold such precious memories. Believe us when we say there’s so much more waiting for you in this loving community, and you’ll just need to come and experience it yourself to really feel it. We’ll see you soon at the Y1-4 side to welcome you into our home (and hopefully yours too in time to come) with open arms!
P.S. If you get lost, just follow the sound of the blasting trumpets!
And… practical matters: Auditions! They consist of
Do tell us what instruments you play and if you need to borrow them from us! Hope to see you there!