Overview of Choir
Formed in 1985, Victoria Junior College Choir has grown and established itself as a highly versatile choir under the tutelage of Professor Nelson Kwei. As of February 2017, VJChoir is ranked 6th globally in the Mixed Choir category by Interkultur, the world’s leading organiser of international choir competitions. We are one of the few performing arts CCAs that hold our annual concert, A Symphony of Voices at the Esplanade Concert Hall that is well received year on year by both Victorians and the general public.
“No man is an island” is our choir anthem as well as the words all VJChoir members live by. Above all, what makes VJChoir unique is the strong ties we have with our alumni, created by none other than our unrivaled family spirit. The choir is motivated and defined by its passion for music and choral excellence which is passed down from batch to batch. A testament to this would be our alumni choir, the Victoria Chorale which was formed by a group of passionate alumni who loved to sing with one another and continues to grow every year. In spirit of our anthem, we often mutually show support and even perform together. Every Christmas Eve, both the Chorale and current choir will carol together at what we call the Grand Reunion.
Is there something about your CCA you and your fellow members think most people are unaware of that you feel needs to be shared to them?
You need not have any prior choral experience to join! Simply the flare for singing and the willingness to learn and improve is enough.
In Choir, there are plenty of opportunities, including planning parties, to display your leadership skills, which play a role in the selection of our next batch of leaders.
How often do you have your trainings?
Thrice a week, on Monday (5.40-7.40pm), Wednesday (3.30-6.30pm) and Saturday (9am-3pm). Don’t worry, Saturday practices aren’t as tiring as they seem!
Would you like to give us a glimpse of what trainings are usually like?
Every practice, we start with vocal warm-ups. After that, we break into sectionals to learn songs. We are constantly learning new songs in preparation for performances, competitions and our annual concert Symphony of Voices. After learning and familiarising themselves with their parts, everyone gathers back to piece the songs together, under the guidance of either Professor Nelson Kwei or our Student Conductors. From there, we try to work and improve on the songs, ensuring that the performances are to the best of our abilities.
Any additional information to take note of?
Besides our weekly practices, you have many other choir events both official and unofficial to look forward to! This includes our choir camp, concert, barbeques, farewell party and many more.
Our annual concert, Symphony of Voices (SOV), is held in Esplanade Concert Hall during the concert season in May. Besides SOV, we perform for international and regional choral competitions, school events and our annual carolling season, when we sing Christmas carols at hotels during the December holidays! Most notably, our Grand Reunion carolling session where numerous alumni gather to carol!
More about Choir
Why did you choose to join this CCA?
Having watched the Symphony of Voices concerts in previous years, and heard stories from seniors, I was inspired by the choral excellence and camaraderie that VJChoir displayed, as well as the lovely choral pieces that they performed. I could tell that VJChoir had a deep passion for music and a strong family bond, which resonated very strongly with me. I was only more convinced of this after joining VJChoir, for which I have no regrets.
– Dayne, 17A11
Having previously been under a choir conducted by Mr Kwei (VJChoir’s conductor), I was 80% sure I was going to join VJChoir. However, part of me felt like venturing out to try something new. After listening to my secondary school seniors (who were in VJChoir) speak highly of the CCA, I was eventually convinced to put VJChoir as my first choice. They mentioned that VJChoir is a ‘level up’ from our previous choir, with more challenging and beautiful songs, as well as awesome company. Being in this CCA for nearly a year, I can’t not agree with all that they have told me! #vjlungsgotpower
– Jessie, 17S33
What would you consider to be the highlight of your CCA journey thus far?
Singing on the stage of Esplanade Concert Hall for Symphony of Voices 2017 was definitely a memorable experience for us as new J1s. To be able to perform amazing songs for so many people is an opportunity that not many can say they have experienced. Carolling in hotels and spreading the Christmas joy was fulfilling as well.
Although these were noteworthy and unforgettable events, the best moments in our VJChoir journey come from the times we spend with our friends, both the good practices or bonding outside of practices.
Noteworthy CCA milestones in the past year:
We were awarded the Certificate of Distinction in our SYF in 2017. Our Symphony of Voices 2017, themed “Across the Vast Eternal Sky” was a huge success and showcased polished songs from SYF as well as others that revolved around the theme.
Our carolling sessions at Raffles Hotel and Ritz-Carlton Hotel brought in the Christmas spirit for both the guests and ourselves! They also allowed us to get closer to one another, and made the numerous performances less exhausting.
What about the CCA culture? What’s it like?
We’re really passionate about singing, and that extends beyond chorale pieces. You will never find awkward silences in a VJChoir gathering because there’s always someone jamming to a song, where the others will join in. Although this is not joined by everyone, there are frequent dinners which allows us to relax and unwind alongside great companions after a long day at school.
We strongly believe in our motto #nomanisanisland. When work and stress start piling up, you will find comfort in knowing your fellow choir members are waiting in the choir room, sharing similar pains. We always show our support for one another. Be it at the Victorian Affair or Open House, you will never fail to spot VJChoir members raving in the front to our fellow choir members’ performances.
In a Nutshell
To the incoming batch of juniors who will be busy pondering over the issue of CCA selection, what words would you give to those who may be keen on entering your CCA family?
VJChoir is a second home to most of us, and we always welcome new members to the family. The only requirement is a passion for choral singing! VJChoir provides you with many opportunities such as overseas trips and competitions, where along the way you will be able to develop as a singer.
Singing in Symphony of Voices will always be an emotional experience for the J2s, as they reminisce the experiences they’ve had in VJChoir. Yet, as they graduate from the choir, they know they never truly leave, as family always welcomes you home.
Dayne Taniajura, 17A11
Matthias Lee, 17S42
Arista Lim, 17A14
Nikki Lim, 17S44
Jessie Ng, 17S33
Sherlyn Priscilla, 17S32