Author: Karen

More Than Replay: an Exceptional Evening with Raffles Jazz

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Theophilus Kwek (12A01B)
Photos by Daryl Wong from Raffles Photographic Society

Fairytale rehashes seem to be all the rage this year, what with Wicked’s half-year run at Marina Bay Sands, Storyline 2012’s TV-themed remix, and Piano Ensemble’s retelling of the Snow White saga at their annual concert, Legende, two weeks ago. Last night’s brilliant recreation of Little Red by Raffles Jazz, however, proved in many ways to be the most ambitious and inventive of the lot, without overshadowing the group’s stellar mix of jazz favourites.

It was clear from the start that this concert would be different—posters around the school gave away little else than a red cloak and a hint of a smile, while the event’s Facebook page merely told us to “expect the unexpected”. But these, and the musicians’ wide-ranging network of friends and alumni, were compelling enough to fill the hall within the first fifty minutes of ticket sales.

On the evening itself, the expectant crowd was treated to a series of standards by six different bands. These ranged from instrumental hits, such as Weather Report’s Birdland, to George and Ira Gershwin’s Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, which Year 5 vocalists Brillia Soh and Bianche Lim delivered with panache. Several of Stevie Wonder’s evergreens, including a passionate rendition of Sir Duke by Benedict Tan, featured alongside early bossa nova reels, such as No More Blues, performed spectacularly by chairperson Priscilla Goh. And ending off the first half was a high-octane spin on Dizzy Gillespie’s 1942 classic A Night in Tunisia by Baik Gi Won, to which guest performer Aaron James Lee added a fantastic drums accompaniment.

The audience returned from the fifteen-minute intermission suitably impressed, but our musicians had barely just begun. Even before the chatter had quieted completely, Alex Chan’s sinister narration of Little Red Riding Hood stole the show, introducing each of the characters in a deft mime. We were soon drawn into the tale’s unabashed plot twists and clever reversals, which presented its title role as the unforeseen villain of the day. Victoria Yeo’s portrayal of the antagonist—equal parts chilling and convincing—made for a winning lead that held the plot together.

Not to forget, of course, the band hidden behind the sets, which was the true star of the show. Colouring each scene with just the right shade of jazz, they added joy, anticipation, fear and rage to the action, with keyboardist John Lee’s trippy improvisations, in particular, keeping pace in a parallel plot. The occasions at which the band joined the vocalists and actors in adapted or self-composed musical numbers, before returning to the background, were simply bonuses to the masterful action.

Throughout the evening, there were several moments of inexperience, but none of incompetence. Both in voice and action, the musicians were buoyed through the concert by their visible love of the genre, and even more so by a strong sense of professionalism and enjoyment. It was difficult not to be captivated—or at the very least, moved—by every single piece on the programme, and by the time the exuberant encore drew to a close, it was as if the night had flown by in no time at all.

Having risen to prominence throughout the past year with a string of well-received gigs, Raffles Jazz’s batch of 2012 truly gave their successful run a finish to be proud of. Replay was not only a creation of skill and style, but of soul, and left its audience so much the better for it.

Can Anybody Dance?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Karen Gwee (12A01C) and Wong Wan Ting (12A03B)
Photos by Mark Tan (RI alumnus)

Raffles Street Dance’s first ever concert. Tickets sold out in three hours. A black market with tickets going at $22, $10 above the original price. Was all the hype about AnyBody Can Dance justified?

Raffles Press sought to find out. At 6.45pm, the foyer of the PAC was already packed – with parents, grandparents, siblings, and of course, students, waiting in anticipation for the ‘dancical’. Armed with hole-punched tickets, a blue stamp on our upper arms, an ABC Dance Academy ‘2012 Planner’ cleverly masquerading as a programme booklet, and extremely high expectations, these reporters managed to snag two seats in the second row, and sat back smugly as the latecomers streaming in sadly settled for seats in the back rows.

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Preview: R Project 2012 – Memento Mori

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Karen Gwee (12A01C)

If you haven’t seen the dreamlike posters dotting our school, or the enigmatic videos playing occasionally in the canteen, I suggest you remove yourself from the rock you are probably living under. Raffles Runway has been going on a publicity blitz for their upcoming annual fashion show, R Project 2012: Memento Mori, to be held this Friday and Saturday. And it hasn’t been for naught – tickets for Saturday’s Gala Night sold out in 25 minutes, while tickets for other shows are going fast. The overarching theme of the show is Apocalypse, with other alliterative concepts as sub-themes: Animalism, Annihilation and Awakening. R Project this year looks set to be dramatic and theatrical, overflowing with beautiful and inspired designs. Raffles Press checked in with Raffles Runway Chairperson Jolynn Lim for a sneak peek at Memento Mori.

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Raffles Chorale and Raffles Voices: Limelight 2012

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Siew Jey Ren (13S03R)

The night’s vocabulary of sighs was scarcely audible within the vaulted confines of the Esplanade’s Concert Hall as the events of the evening drew to a close.

Centred on the theme of “Peace, Love, and a Better World”, the annual concert of the Raffles Institution Choirs featured a varied repertoire of sacred music and folk-inspired music, drawing a full house to the Theatres on the Bay that evening. The event was but a prelude for their forthcoming tour of Europe, but it did not disappoint. For the thronging Rafflesians and expectant members of the public present for the programme, a resounding chord was struck as the choirs endeavoured to “bring about a better world through music”.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Abigail Lim (13S03N) and Fong Hoy Yik (13S03N)

Raffles Piano Ensemble’s annual concert, Légende was a fairytale – literally. Strung along the well-loved fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Légende saw many popular and well-established numbers in its repertoire (think the Disney Medley and Symphony No. 5, Op. 67 – I. Allegro con brio), but also made sure to include other less famous yet intriguing pieces like Méditation from Thaïs. That night, the audience was treated not only to a wide range of wondrous music played by our pianists but also a mellifluous combination of tones, textures and registers from the sounds of violin and voice as well.

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