By Fabian Ong (23S06A), Chairperson, Tan Xiao Zhuang (23S06O), Vice-Chairperson, Joanne Koe Zi Xin (23S06K), Publicity and Media Director, Loo Tien Chin (23S03N), Welfare IC and Music Director, Lu Shiyi Rachel (23S03L), Events Manager
No, we don’t all play on the same piano at once.
No, we don’t play individually.
No, we don’t have 17 pianos in one room.
We hope these statements answer some queries you might have in mind after hearing about our CCA. The unique nature of RIPE often invites questions from musicians and non-musicians alike – after all, the piano is commonly perceived to be a solo instrument.
We are not your conventional performing arts CCA. We are Piano Ensemble, fondly known as RIPE, where like-minded music lovers don’t just gather to share the love of music. We also use the piano in a unique way by playing pieces as duos, trios or even quartets, with members spread across one or two pianos.
Performing together is an electrifying experience, where individuals lose themselves in the labyrinths of music, unearthing the masterpieces of composers from Joseph Haydn to Joe Hisaishi, revelling in Ravel and brawling with Bach. RIPE offers a valuable platform for us to forge memories of collective music-making, reaching heights that one cannot scale alone (We hope you got that low-key joke. And on this note we will move onto our next section).
Movement I: What do we do?
There are 3 types of sessions in RIPE, and these generally take place from 8 to 11 every Wednesday morning. Firstly, there are coaching sessions held for 30 minutes per week on Wednesday mornings, where members of a practice group come together to be trained by our friendly coach Mr Shane Thio at LT2. Secondly, there are practice sessions where, well, practice occurs for an hour every week. These sessions will be held over Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays, depending on your availability, at our cosy MEP practice rooms. Lastly, bonding sessions – compulsory, mind you – or as we affectionately call them RIPE Rhapsodies, are held around every fortnight, where the entire CCA does fun activities together such as throwing mini-concerts or watching movie screenings!
Movement II: Some highlights!
Our 2022 RIPE journey started off with our CCA Orientation camp in March, where the Y5s were introduced to the CCA.
cresc. (crescendo, i.e. gradually getting louder)
Some other highlights of RIPE’s journey in 2022 included our Ad Astra performance at the start of the year where our CCA members got to showcase the piano pieces that they had tirelessly prepared for the Rafflesian community. This is not the only performance opportunity for our RIPE members. Every member of the CCA will have the chance to present the piece he or she has practised with their partner at the end of the term.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we have begun to conduct more face-to-face activities, such as the latest Ad Astra concert, and look forward to holding even more of these in the coming year!
Lastly, putting music aside, we also go on regular CCA lunches after Wednesday sessions.
When the opportunity arises, we also hit the streets and have fun together through a plethora of activities, such as watching external concerts.
Movement III: Why should you join?
Why should you join us? In the busy mayhem of JC life (trust us, you’ll be far busier than expected) CCA may be seen as a rigid obligation to some. However, RIPE offers something most CCAs lack – flexibility. Generally, each member only has to attend 1 hour of practice and 30 minutes of coaching per week, and can pick from multiple available slots throughout the week to do so. So, if you have projects, meetings, consultations, don’t worry, you can always reschedule your weekly sessions!
RIPE is a pretty small CCA, with only 17 members in Batch ‘23. Thus, we are a bonded community of passionate musicians not afraid to express ourselves through our shared interests every week. After all, we only have so many pockets of free time each week. Being able to come together to play, practise and perform gives us a refreshing respite from work.
Do expect a welcoming family of friends to explore musicmaking together in RIPE, be it through composing, arranging, or simply performing! RIPE provides a safe space for all members to share niche works and novel ideas, experiment with different types of music (not just piano!) and see personal creations come into fruition, growing our knowledge and love for music together.
Movement IV: Conclusions
You only need 3 things to join RIPE –– fermata (i.e. pause, or in some cases *dramatic pause for effect*) –– simple piano skills, a fiery passion for music, and an open mind. If you think you have what it takes, do not hesitate to drop by for auditions! Remember, you do not need to have the showiest technical prowess to join RIPE–any experience in other aspects of music such as composing is also highly welcome.
morendo (dying down)
Feel free to drop us a message on Instagram @ri_pianoensemble if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing you at auditions!
Coda: Bonus pun
What was Bach’s favourite vegetable? A Baroque-uli! (badum-tss)
RIPE’s CCA Vlog: