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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Spark: Spreading the love for music

Many people ask me why I sing in the SYC Ensemble Singers.

That is, outside of running my online boutique, TheVelvetDolls, being a blogger contracted with Nuffnang and working part-time with GetKlarity as the Editor-In-Chief.
With some fellow choristers in Hondarribia, Spain.

A group polaroid in Pamplona, Spain with the SYC Ensemble Singers
That's right folks, for the past seven years, I've spent seven hours (on average) a week in rehearsals with the SYC Ensemble Singers, which I joined the year I turned 21 years old. Apart from the seven-hours-a-week rehearsals, the SYC Ensemble Singers also travel every year, performing (concerts), competing (in international choral competitions) and learning (in choir ateliers/workshops). It is a huge commitment for me, especially in light of my super busy schedule, and I've had to work hard to keep myself in the choir in recent years, due to the high level of commitment required.

But when I ask myself if I should call it quits, or to leave the choir all together, I know that being able to sing as part of the SYC Ensemble Singers has become something that's grown to be a very important part of my life, and perhaps even somewhat part of my identity.



Because outside of work and personal commitments, this is how I'm doing something not just for myself, but for something that's profoundly bigger than just a singular me. When I'm singing in the SYC Ensemble Singers, I'm lending one voice to a cause to keep music well and alive in today's pragmatic society that sometimes doesn't pause to listen to such alternative voices.

Yes, we listen to pop music, we listen to the oldies, and we listen to the classics. But what about the living modern-day composers, that may become the Beethovens and Bachs of the future? If there is no one to give voice to our living talents, these voices will die out and face extinction.

When I first joined the SYC Ensemble Singers 7 years ago, I just thought it'd just be my way of keeping my passion for singing alive, but after so many years under the helm of the wonderful Jennifer Tham, I have learnt that I'm doing so much more than just keeping a passion alive. 

The one and only Jen Tham

As a singular SYC Ensemble Singer, I not just learn to become a better musician (coming from someone who cannot read music or sight-sing, even I'm impressed that I'm still here after seven years, and that is a testament to both the choir and how passionate I am for it!), I'm connected to like-minded souls, I experience different cultures through our international exchanges, I truly discover what commitment, discipline and dedication means. 

A treasured photo with the President of Singapore Mr Tony Tan and his lovely wife during the Cultural Medallion Award Ceremony.
In Turin, Italy for one of the largest festivals in Europe! Team Singapore Represent!!!
What it looks like before every concert. Game faces on!
..And after. Beer, food and laughter!!
As a collective group, we seek to promote the music of today through active commissioning and performance of the works of living composers. We explore the musical boundaries of what “choir music” is, what singing together means, we hope to showcase what a choir as a means of musical expression can be, and to inspire the proliferation of local choral works, choirs and choristers. 

There's so much I feel for music and singing in a choir that is too much for me to express: Read my previous blog post written some time ago about "Thoughts on Being a Chorister".

Having fun in Turin, Italy during an amazing choir festival!
Singing with two other choirs: Ateneo (from the Philippines) and Gaia (from Japan) during our massive THREE concert held last December.
Of course, it's also super FUN, there's always laughter, joy and a wonderful sense of camaraderie amongst my fellow members. I have been to soooo many foreign lands I would otherwise never have the privilege of experiencing and loving.

Aini, Woon, Fish and myself exploring Grenada, Spain after we ended an international choir competition.
I have made amazing friends like Woon, Fish, Aini and many more, because of the heartfelt experiences we've shared together, it takes some really serious stuff (like intense choral competitions!) to build such deep friendships. I love you all much!

Random trivia: Did you know that YZ and I met and fell in love (at a music cafe) because we both love to sing as well? :D
Circa 2007: YZ and I on stage at 木船民歌餐厅, The Ark Music Cafe where we first met

Random Trivia 2: The SYC Ensemble Singers sang together with Mick Jagger and the rest of The Rolling Stones during their last concert in Singapore *fan girl screams*
Woon and I with our memorabilia during the day of The Rolling Stones concert, SO so psyched!
All the above I've shared is why I started a Spark: Because music is something magical that speaks so loudly to me, beyond all tangible needs and wants. Singing and making music is something that speaks to my soul and satisfies me at a deeply spiritual level.

 And I want my magical experience and the love for music to be able to be shared with the people around me, my loved ones and friends!

My spark is for MORE ears to hear our voices and to keep our local music scene alive and well!

Some of my uber supportive friends who came down and enjoyed our concert on previous occasions!!
I'm hoping that more of my friends will come for my concerts frequently even if they can't understand half of what's going on at first. Hehehe. Look at YZ, he's a superb example! He really really enjoys SYC concerts now even though they left him confused the first 1-2 times.

And I've been doing what I can to share the music to my loved ones and friends, and I knew I had to have them sing for my big day, to which they so lovingly did.

These wonderful people accompanied our first wedding march-in with their beautiful voices and music. I love you all much!
I hope that my passion for choral music and my love for singing can spark off more widespread appreciation and support for the local music scene in Singapore! It's just a small wish of mine, but I truly believe in this cause. :)


Maybe take a first step by listening to some of these wonderfully composed pieces performed by us on SYC Ensemble Singers' Youtube channel first? (Psst, try to spot me if your eyes are sharp enough!)

What's your spark?
Spark off something you're passionate about at: www.dbs.com/spark, and take a step closer towards igniting your passion and to bring it to life :')

Find out more about DBS Spark Something on Facebook: www.fb.com/dbs.sg
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dbsbank


xoxo



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