By Seraphine Lai (Chairperson)
The first thing you hear is the twang of the guitar—a distinct note. Then, the drums, a constant heartbeat reverberating from the soles of your feet to the top of your spine. A bassline follows, teasing and quick. Now the keys chime in, tinkling lightly like faraway bells. And finally, finally, the singer steps up to the mic: “Hello… we are Raffles Rock.”
Now, dear reader, if you were lured in by illusions of rock climbing or geology, unfortunately, that isn’t us. However, if you’ve ever wanted to be a rockstar, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Raffles Rock, RI’s resident rock band.
If you’ve ever walked past the door with the red LED sign at Block D Level 4 and heard laughing and banging, you would have found our humble abode – the Jamming Studio. Generations of Raffles Rockers have called this place home, and it houses our most prized possessions: our instruments, and our memories. The Jamming Studio is where we flock to every Tuesday and Thursday from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm, retreating into our mysterious natural habitat.
So you may wonder… what exactly do we do during CCA? Well, you may imagine us completely shredding it every single CCA session, playing the greatest rock anthems of all time. While we do indulge in our favourite rock and metal music (such as playing Enter Sandman and Separate Ways for the 5000th time), we have also been made to stand in a tiny closet singing the Circle of Life from the Lion King (yes, including our instrumentalists, who made vague animal noises).
This is because our instructor is the great Mr Ian Toh ( lovingly referred to as Ian). He is the founder of Thunder Rock Music School, as well as a celebrated individual in the local music scene. He is joined by our invaluable teachers-in-charge, Ms Siti Zahidah (or Ms Z), who herself was a recording artist, and Ms Ng Pei San, who keeps us afloat. Thanks to them, Raffles Rock is a well-oiled machine.
Now that COVID restrictions are easing up, we have been able to kickstart our live performances with a bang! Apart from in-school events and YFC concerts, we hold two annual concerts. Rock-In, which is held in school for free, and Rock-Out, which is held at *SCAPE The Ground Theatre. Due to the pandemic, we have not had the opportunity to hold them recently. However, we are crossing our fingers that both events will return for the first time in two years in 2023.
Rock-Out is our highly-anticipated, ticketed concert, complete with professional lighting and sounds, sets, smoke, costumes and more based on a theme chosen by the J2s. We’re (in)famous for inspiring moshing, jumping, head-banging and full-on screaming to the tunes we play. Rock-Out is the product of months of hard work, and we promise it’ll be an insane time you won’t want to miss out on!
So how do you join our venerated ranks? Well, our community is small but welcoming! You do not have to be a Grade 8 musician or a classically-trained singer. What we want are individuals with an undying passion for music and a thirst for knowledge. Come for Open Jam, and you’ll see what we mean! You can meet the seniors (us!), and play with us to see if you’re a good fit for the CCA. Besides that, you can sign up for auditions that we’ll be holding during JIP (January Induction Programme) and JAEIP (JAE Induction Programme). There’s no need to be nervous; we won’t bite! Consider it your first big break—there’ll be many more to come!
If you’ve ever pretended to play an insane riff in the privacy of your own room or imagined yourself singing to a thousand adoring fans in the shower, you must be one of us. For many of us, Rock is a safe space away from the monotony of everyday school life: a refuge we can return to when life gets tough. Come forge memories with us you’ll never forget, and unearth that rockstar hiding inside of you!