Ever wondered why the Guitar Ensemble’s concert is named the Perfect Fifth? For Victorians who witnessed the concert, the answer is clear; the guitarists’ performance was simply flawless. On the 10th of May, the much acclaimed Guitar Ensemble showed off their talent in their annual concert, ‘Perfect Fifth’.

In light of this year’s theme, Viesta, the ensemble celebrated VJC’s 35th anniversary by delivering a feast of fond memories to the audience. From timeless old classical pieces such as Anita’s Dance, to recent pop songs such as Shallow by Lady Gaga, no one could resist the urge to hum along. You were sure to feel a nostalgic rush from many of the songs played, including age-old favorites like ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, about a place you used to share with someone and the memories now encapsulated there. The concert also presented some unique perspectives about memories, such as the bittersweet emotions surrounding the wartime song, ‘Cavatina’, and the origins of local folk songs showcased by the song ‘Bunga Sayang’. These songs served as a reminder to the audience that precious memories are always able to melt the years away through soothing tunes and heartwarming lyrics. 

A passionate performance.

The Guitar Ensemble is made up of a senior and junior ensemble, with the junior ensemble mainly consisting of J1s who had just started to learn the guitar a few months prior. Despite their lack of experience, they still strummed along beautifully to songs like Quien Sera, Yesterday Once More and quite notably a local song, Bunga Sayang. The budding guitarists’ passion for the instrument exuded from every pluck and strum of their strings — a promise of their potential in the future.

The senior ensemble, consisting of J1s and J2s with more experience, put their skills on full display with their excellent song choices. Their rendition of Kimi Wo Nosete, the theme song from the renowned Japanese animated film, Castle in the Sky, tugged at the audience members’ heartstrings with just the same intensity that the guitarists plucked their guitar strings. In a show of their dexterity, concertgoers were then left clutching their stomachs in laughter as student conductor Dustin Erhard Theofilus led the ensemble through a playful rendition of the Pink Panther theme song.

Dustin Erhard Theofilus entertains the audience with a tongue in cheek rendition of the Pink Panther Theme song.

Other than the two ensembles, there were also duets and group performances from both the J1s and J2s. The dynamic duo Kieran and Xiao Xuan had the audience cheering on as they showed off their skills in the guitar as well as their vocal chops, even despite having an impromptu change in their second song. The other duo, Dustin and Jet, entertained the audience with their antics while demonstrating their creative skills by rearranging the classic song, Rockelbel’s Canon, with a much appreciated modern twist. The first group, consisting of Isaac, Jared, Lynsie and Livia performed Shallow, originally sung by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, while the other group consisting of Wee Lin, Pooja, Vernice and Jamie performed Secret Love Song by Little Mix. The 2 groups had performed beautiful renditions of the two songs that tastefully added a fresh touch to the concert.

A brilliant showcase of the Guitar Ensemble’s vocal talent, in addition to their guitar skills.

We were able to interview Wee Lin, Pooja, Vernice and Jamie who had performed Secret Love Song by Little Mix: a song they had all resonated with. As it was their first time performing together, they found the experience extremely nerve-racking, yet ultimately exhilarating when they were able to perform for the crowd. Their anxiety had instantaneously vanished when they heard the loud cheers from their friends in the audience — making the performance all the more memorable for them as they had worked hard to reach the point where they could perform on stage. Their hard work certainly did pay off as their performance was not only flawless, but was also a crowd-pleaser and a key moment of the night. 

Another performer we interviewed is a member of both the junior and senior ensembles, and he thus got to experience the best of both worlds during the performance. Yan Zaiya, who had just joined the CCA this year, candidly reflected “I felt extremely nervous before the concert, especially when we were behind the curtains, just about to play our first piece and hearing the audience clapping.”. So what allowed him to calm down and deliver a wonderful performance? He explained, “Once we started playing, all the nervousness was chased away by the guitars in our hands. We just enjoyed the music. After the first piece everyone relaxed, knowing that our friends down there were not here to judge but to support us as well as enjoy themselves.” Indeed, it was the support from friends and families that encouraged the guitarists to press on throughout the preparation process and also shine confidently during the performance. At the end of the concert, Zaiya felt a strong sense of accomplishment, knowing that all their efforts had paid off. It was still bittersweet, however, as this was the last performance they would have with their beloved J2 members. 

A final strum for the J2 members as one Guitar Ensemble.

Interestingly, as to the theme of Viesta, Zaiya had his own interpretation. When asked whether the guitarists had done a good job in conveying the theme of Viesta, Zaiya’s answer was a confident “yes”. “We’ve worked really hard to put up this concert and each and every member has put in their maximum effort for it. This shows how well rounded we are as Victorians have always been and clearly illustrates our ‘work hard, play hard’ culture. And nothing would have demonstrated our school spirit better than the liveliness at the concert,” proudly mentioned Zaiya. His statement effectively embodies the sentiment shared by many audience members present at the concert, who were able to witness the true Victorian Spirit brought to them on stage.

The Guitar Ensemble working in synchronicity to bring their audience a spectacular performance.

It was evident by the end of the night that the ensemble had shone throughout their performances and sent the audience members home with a night to remember. And for Victorians, there was much more than beautiful music to bring home, as the sense of nostalgia and the theme of memories could not be more apt as we celebrate VJ’s 35th anniversary. 

Article by:
Muhammad Dzakir, 18S52
Di Fangqi, 19S48

Photos provided by:
VJ Photography Society

 

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