CCA Previews ’21: Raffles Rock

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By Gabriel Saw (21S06D), Chairperson, Nur Hana (21A01D), Vice-Chairperson, Tricia (21S06I), Secretary, Zunnur (21S03C), Quartermaster

To be perfectly clear, our CCA is not involved with actual, physical rocks. We apologise to you geology enthusiasts and rock climbing fanatics, but if you enjoy music and performance, we highly recommend you keep reading!

The 2020 J1 Band: April Holiday! (photo taken pre-COVID)

If you climb to the fourth floor from the staircase opposite the printing shop, turn right, and walk all the way down the corridor, you may (only the chosen ones will see it) see a quaint white door with an ominous red sign on top of it. This is our CCA Room—the (in)famous Jamming Studio. While you can’t enter if you’re a regular student, we can give you a taste of what goes on inside as a member of Raffles Rock.

Our official CCA sessions are held twice a week, on Tuesdays from 4pm-7pm and Thursdays from 4pm-6pm. However, given the unforeseen circumstances caused by COVID-19, our physical CCA sessions are cancelled for now, and we’ve been relegated to online CCA sessions on Tuesdays (5.30pm-7pm) instead. This is subject to change depending on the COVID situation, so we have our fingers crossed that we’ll be in the studio again by next year!

Our one jam session together before COVID-19 hit.

We have two lovely teachers-in-charge of our CCA: Ms Lena Teo and Ms Ng Pei San. We also have an instructor, Mr Ian Toh (just call him Ian), an experienced musician and the founder of Thunder Rock School, who gives us constructive criticism and helps us improve as a band. 

In a COVID-less reality, our CCA has two main events: Rock-In, held in school, and Rock-Out, held at the SCAPE Ground Theatre. Rock-In is a free concert held in April to introduce the school to the Rock J1 batch of the year. We generally get a bit more freedom with our song choices, though they are still subject to our instructor’s approval. Rock-Out, on the other hand, is our main highlight as a CCA—it’s our annual ticketed concert, complete with professional lighting and a legit sound crew. Our songs and sets are centered around a theme chosen by the J2s. It’s a night of moshing, head-banging, jumping, and scream-singing along to familiar tunes that make for an unforgettable experience.

Aside from that, we also play for other school events like National Day and Batch Night. However (and you may see this as a recurring theme), due to COVID, most of these events have been unfortunately postponed indefinitely or moved onto an online platform.

You might be thinking, “So because of COVID, you guys haven’t been in the studio? And all your physical concerts this year were cancelled? What do you guys even do, then?”

Well, we’ve essentially become a work-from-home band. We still manage to play together (even if we’re not physically in the same space), and record covers to songs or take part in online concerts. It’s a pretty tedious process, but it allowed us to learn new and unique skills, such as mixing and mastering audio and video editing. Furthermore, we were able to improve on our communication, which in turn has influenced our dynamic as a band and as a batch. So even though we can’t wait to be back in the studio and to be on stage, COVID hasn’t dulled any of Rock’s charm or made us an ineffective CCA—it just made us adapt and learn new skills extremely useful in the long-term.

We performed for NDP2020 from home!

Interested in joining Rock? If you’re on the fence, or perhaps just wanting to see us in action, you can sign up for Open Jam! It’s a short session where we play random songs, and you have the chance to try our instruments. And if you’re still really interested in Rock, you can come for auditions, held during the January Induction Programme (JIP) for RP students and the JAE Induction Programme (JAEIP)! You’ll be asked to play one song of your choice and one set piece to be released during JIP. We generally accept up to 2 people for vocals, guitar, keys and drums, except for bass, but this is highly dependent on the talent pool in the J1 batch. 

We aren’t specifically looking for people who can shred for 10 minutes straight, or recite a bunch of Grade 8 Music Theory when prompted. We value interest just as much as skill, since as a member of Rock, you’re bound to have opportunities to improve your skills over the course of your 1.5 years in the CCA. So, don’t be too nervous about auditions! Just do your best and show us your passion!

Our second family :’)

For most of us in Raffles Rock, we learn to be more open-minded towards each others’ music tastes. Through playing together, we end up broadening our musical horizons. In our tiny CCA and even tinier batches, we learn to work and play together, all to achieve our collective dream of rocking out on stage together. Rock is an experience like no other, and you’ll find yourself with a second family by the end of your journey! If you would like to be a part of this family, we hope to see you at Open Jam and Auditions!

Follow us @rafflesrock on Instagram for updates and more cool stuff! 


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