CCA Previews ‘20: Raffles Chorale

By Jerome Tay (20S06Q) and Wang Xuyang, Chairperson (20S06K) 

Choral singing isn’t easy. Hours of hard work are to be invested in every piece that Raffles Chorale performs. Magical moments, beautiful harmonies, and literal chills only happen after members of the 19-strong CCA come together and brave the rigour of practice. 

Raffles Chorale has sessions twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays, mostly held in the LT1 of the Y1–4 campus. Stumbling into the LT during one of our sessions rewards you with a world of musical pleasure and confused stares from the choralists as you frantically realise that, no, that was not the venue of your history lecture. With a broad range of music from soulful Germanic lamentations of ages long past, to pop songs of our decade and whole arrangements about food, Raffles Chorale has something for every aspiring singer out there.

The countless hours put into practice have yielded a strong sense of camaraderie amongst our Choralists: be it randomly breaking into song, or challenging each other to see who has the highest falsetto, our members can be who they truly are during training sessions. The bonds forged here are unique, with friends made through the appreciation of art (and memes—lots of memes). To the 19 of us, Chorale is an ever-present family through the hardships of the concert season and the frustration of rehearsing the same part of a song multiple times. Excellence has only come through blood and tears. No sweat, because we enjoy the luxury of a fully air-conditioned LT.

With prospective members hailing from different secondary schools and musical backgrounds, talent takes a backseat during the selection process as each individual is judged on their passion and receptivity to feedback and growth. 

Raffles Chorale has pretty impressive accolades as well, clinching the Distinction award at the biennial Singapore Youth Festival in 2019, as well as obtaining the Gold Award in the 12th International Choral Festival Orientale Concentus in 2018. Prospective members can look forward to an overseas exchange next year where we pit our voices against choirs from around the world. Kind of like a riff-off, but with people that can *actually* sing. You can even look forward to Vocal Delights, Chorale’s annual student-run a capella concert, where our members are given the liberty to explore new depths—such as arranging and acting—and perform popular songs to display our skills in multiple genres of music. We have also worked with Habitat for Humanity for the past few years to make Vocal Delights a charity concert—all proceeds from this concert go toward helping their cause of improving the lives of those in need. 

Raffles Chorale at Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) 2019.

If there’s one thing that Raffles Chorale has taught us, it’s this: you don’t have to be the next Freddie Mercury or Whitney Houston to be able to make beautiful music. In Chorale, it is the continuous pursuit of the intrinsic reward and magic of music-making that motivates and drives us to perform and improve. With the burning passion that our Choralists carry, and under the baton of our conductor, Mr Toh Ban Sheng, music comes to life.

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