Excitement drummed through the audience members’ veins as they fidgeted on their seats, flipping through the beautifully-crafted Perfect Fifth booklets. When approached, Yu Xuan from 17S38 said, “I am very excited and am looking forward to see my friends perform the many pieces they have rehearsed over the past few weeks.” Perhaps, a question on all the audience members’ minds was the mystery of the title. To the non-musically inclined audience members, the title seemed like an obscure term that was yet another enigma that they thought they would never understand. Yet, they were there to support the Guitar Ensemble and geared up for a wonderful journey around the world which was the running theme during Perfect Fifth.
The emcees did a great job and made sure that the audience was comfortably taken throughout the performances. The night started out with a Japanese stint with the senior ensemble performing Poetry of Sunset composed by Reiko Arima. Here we saw the Soprano guitar’s wonderful utilisation to make this rendition of the song uniquely melodious which the audience very clearly enjoyed. Then came their Syf distinction-winning piece, Pastoral ~ Sky, Cloud, Wind~, composed by Mr Kengo Momose. It was brilliant and showcased their talent beautifully. The tunes were tinged with bittersweet nostalgia, coursing through the theatre in elegant eddies, reverberating tenuously, sending oscillations of fettered emotions into an intravenous swell of amorphous entropy. We sat, entranced and empowered by the melodies, ethereally emanating from the guitars. Lyrical aestheticism was typified in the transience of the melodies, floating away into the coruscating continuum of a metaphysical aurorean dawn.
The conductor then finally explained the mystery behind the title. The ensemble was comprised of the Niibori Guitar, in which they had the Contrabass and Guitarron which are an octave lower than the prime, the Altos and Auto Cembalos are a perfect fifth higher while the bass guitars are a perfect fourth lower. The non-musically inclined finally saw the symbolism and the “AHA” moment bell rang in all minds.
Piel Canela and Hymne A L’amour performed by the guitar ensemble which consisted of talented people who previously had no guitar experience at all truly shocked us with the quality. They were confident, expressive and performed effortlessly which must have been the fruit of countless rehearsal sessions. Nil Sine Labore indeed!
The soothing ensemble of tunes was juxtaposed with the rambunctious vivacity of the following song, titled ‘Senbonzakura’. Boisterous ballads of melodies electrified the theatre, riveting all with paranormal permutations, defying the gravities of human conjectures. The thematic poignant undertones of war induced attrition and civil dystrophy was elucidated through the tremulous fluctuations of the tunes. Skeletal imprints of musical intonations embed in our mind, as we relish at the desolate beauty of the amplitudinal atrophy. Suspended in an interstitial realm between the bi-polarities of our existences, we gape in awe, enthralled by the inexhaustible plethora of emotions begotten by music, as the melodies meander into the enchanting equinox of our sub-conscience.
Just like the intractable idiosyncrasies one would face when travelling, the introspective atmosphere rapidly shifted to a more light-hearted one, with the cover of a mashup between ‘cheap thrills and the greatest’. The upbeat tunes enticed us, leaving us at the edge of our seats, yearning for more. This is complemented by the mind-bogglingly phenomenal mashup of Sia’s brilliant songs and Ed Sheeran’s familiar tune. Wang Li Rong, 17S38, was the lead singer of the band and unfortunately for the first two-thirds of the song, the microphone did not work. It was only when a hoodie-clad backstage crew member could come and give Li Rong a working microphone, did the performers gain back their confidence. PA saves the day! This was greeted with significant support and applause which spurred on the performers and perhaps became an exemplary display of the Victorian Spirit.
The atmosphere was electrifying, and the boisterous personifications of melodies from the guitar was a lyrical foil for the sense of nostalgia conveyed by the renditions of La La Land’s melody. Auguries of poignantly bittersweet reminiscence spilled out from the guitars, as would warm honey on a frigid winter night.
The show moved forward with the Ex’s and Oh’s/FourFiveSeconds mash-up which consisted of a soulful, stripped down version which comprised of just brilliant vocals, the guitar and the cajon which truly made us feel “blue”. The well-known songs heard from such a different perspective made the performance very refreshing and wormed its catchy tune into all minds listening. With the Blank Space/Style mash-up, we were entranced by amazing vocals and the perfect guitar accompaniment. Those songs (and style) will never get old!
The Mary Had a Little Lamb/Chainsmokers’ Medley truly put up the Guitar Ensemble’s talent on display as we were entranced by the original arrangement by Cao Minh Huy, David Ian Santoso and Zhou Zi Tong. The subtle combination was like a breath of fresh air and indeed it did resonate in an unforgettable way!
Tawanan Hati’s arrival took us all on a magic school bus ride as we learnt about tradition, hybridised music and originality. The original composition by VJC Guitar Ensemble’s Student Conductor, David Ian Santoso was brilliant accompanied by the guitar ensemble’s playing talent. It was unique with the members cheering during the performance itself weaving them into the performance.
Of course, the famous West Side Story could not be forgotten. Somewhere and America were the senior ensemble’s performances made special with the little choreographies the guitar ensemble did, utilising their guitars for more than just playing music! Just as no one thought the concert was going to end, the emcees swiftly arrived and announced the encore song, Victoria composed by the 2009 VJC student elective programme.
Meandering around chiaroscuros of anachronistic memories and the relative permanence of the present, they imbued auroral gradations of colours onto static vignettes of memories, tinted sepia with age. Films of bygone years flicker past, quixotically superimposing onto the canvases of melodious tunes, tangential with the maturing age of the alumni ensemble. The tunes gradually converged in a confluence of the old and the new; a conduit of melodies transcending our conceptions of temporal linearity, fading into the distance of the descending dusk.
Wan Xi from 17S45 said, “I’ve always known about the different kinds of connections. Be it mental, physical and spiritual connection. After attending this concert, I think I finally understand musical connection.” Truly, everyone formed an unforgettable connection within those 2 hours at the PT. This concert embodied both the feisty and introspective elements of brave adventurism, transporting us around the world in just 2 hours. Michelle from 17S53 summed it up in a simple way ,”Soothing vocals with the the accompaniment of the guitar created miraculous performances. The plucking of the strings of the guitar tugged at the heartstrings of the audience. ” It left us enchanted, enticed, and enthralled, kindling in us a spirit of youthful vitality.
Ong Yong En, 17A14
Niyanta Chowdhury, 17S46
Kumaravelu Roshini, 17S52
Lim Xiao Hui, 17S33