By Raffles Symphonic Band EXCO ’20
When you hear “band”, what do you think of? Words like “instruments”, “concerts” or “music” may come to mind, but here at Raffles Symphonic Band (RSB), band is not just a group of people who sit down and make sounds with their instruments. Rather, our band cymbal-ises a close-knit community of people whom we can always count on.
Being on the opposite end of the school campus over at the Y1-4 side, it might seem inconvenient to trek across the school to get to the band room where we have our CCA sessions. However, every cloud has a silver lining—the joy we get from seeing each other and practising together after an intense day of lessons makes the long walk worth it. Open practically everyday, the band room is also a place for all of us to chill and hang out: we practice, do homework, and even catch up on lost sleep at the Cozy Corner. It is literally our second home!
On Wednesday and Friday afternoons, we come together to plain black notes on pieces of paper to life under the baton of our resident conductor, Mr Lim Yean Hwee. To complement our regular combined sessions with Mr Lim, we also have sectionals with our respective tutors as well as masterclasses conducted by professional clinicians! All these sessions ensure that we are adequately equipped with the skills needed to become better musicians and in turn, foster a deeper appreciation and joy for music-making.
What makes us special is our series of annual concerts—we have not just one, but two: A Tempo in May and Bandemonium in December! With a challenging and captivating musical repertoire, our two concerts never fail to draw crowds every year, be it musical aficionados in Singapore’s band community or just fellow Rafflesians wishing to support their friends in RSB. A Tempo, being our main focus, has always been a gruelling but indisputably fulfilling experience for RSB members. Just this year, A Tempo XXVIII: Britannia treated a 700-strong audience to a selection of music of various genres, including the enduring band classic The Year of the Dragon! Our year-end concert Bandemonium, by contrast, is more light-hearted, with our repertoire consisting of several crowd-pleasers and familiar tunes such as Christmas classics and pop hits. It’s also special as our alumni and potential future RSB members (hopefully you!) are invited to join us as guest players.
Apart from concerts, another event we hold is our annual Tune-In. Tune-In is a day event open to Secondary 4 students from bands all over Singapore. Held after the ‘O’ Level examinations, Tune-In promises to be a memorable and fulfilling day lined up with many fun-filled activities. For reminiscent students interested in reliving their band experience, this is the perfect opportunity for such musicians to be reunited with their instruments. Tune-In is an event for these students to unwind after the wearying months of preparations for their national examinations. This year’s Tune-In will be held on 18 November and we’re hoping for a lively turnout!
That’s not all! Overseas exchange programmes are an integral part of every RSB member’s band journey, giving us the rare opportunity to experience new cultures and to learn from passionate like-minded individuals, while making new friends along the way. Just last June, our band visited Osaka, Japan and interacted with local bands from Konko Osaka High School and Settsu City Junior High School. Trips like these truly provide us with the time and opportunity to forge everlasting bonds with each other, effectively giving us an unforgettable and meaningful once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Of course, RSB is much more than just these events! RSB prepares for other events too such as Farewell, Band Camp, and other school performances. Throughout the year, we hold multiple informal gatherings like chalets, batch outings and our usual band dinners after band practices. Amidst the rapid pace of JC life, these moments spent together are a much-needed breath of fresh air. The memorable experiences we share, as we band together in this close-knit family, are ones that we’ll look back on fondly in the years to come.
And lastly, auditions! They will consist of
- Scales (up to 3 sharps and flats)
Do let us know if you need to borrow any instruments for the auditions. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!