Just this morning (26 July), Victorians were treated to a performance of a cappella… with a twist, as the world-renowned Harvard Din & Tonics were invited to VJC to perform at morning assembly.
The Dins, as they are popularly known, are an all male a cappella group from Harvard University, and are in Singapore on their summer tour. Their name, Din & Tonics, is a pun on “gin and tonic” (an alcoholic drink), as well as “din” (a loud noise) and “tonic” (the first note of a musical scale). Clad in white ties, tails, and lime green socks, they certainly impressed all of us in the Hall with their performance.
Over the span of 40 minutes, the talented singers serenaded the College with many a tune from the 1930s and 1940s. These ranged from classics, like “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon and Garfunkel) and “Pure Imagination” (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) to some unexpected tunes like the quirky “McDonald’s Girl” (Dean Friedman) and a Chinese song that would be familiar to most of us, “Peng You/Friends” (Wakin Chau).
Along the way, they also amused us with their antics, such as their humorous dance moves, exaggerated reactions, comedian-esque impressions and even a long, dragged-out but admittedly funny joke — let’s just say the punchline, strangely enough, was “Praise the Lord”. This combination got the crowd roaring and clapping along, fully immersed in this unforgettable experience.
However, all good things must come to an end and before we knew it, it was time for the finale — a show-stopping medley of three songs, “Come Fly with Me” and “Fly Me to the Moon” (Frank Sinatra) and “Straighten Up and Fly Right” (Nat King Cole). It perhaps gave all of us a sense of closure when we ended the performance with the theme of flying away, truly a sense of freedom that only music can give us. (Interestingly, all these songs were icons of their era, and they have been covered in various forms, perhaps most famously in games such as the Mafia series of games set in that era.)
We managed to get a few words from some of the Dins when they were in the canteen to promote their merchandise — no easy feat, as they were surrounded by Victorians eager to pose for photos with them, almost to the point of being mobbed. We spoke to the President, Jacques Berguig, 18, who thought the crowd was incredible. “We’ve only been here for a couple of hours but it seems like a great atmosphere; people seem to be pretty cohesive, well-educated, well-ordered and know how to have fun.”
For him, it was an amazing experience because they got to travel to many places they would never have had the chance to visit otherwise. The Dins are currently on the Asian leg of a worldwide tour. “We started our tour in Reykjavíc in Iceland, went all the way down to Monaco and the south of France — all beautiful places in Europe; and then came to visit Asia, went to Japan through China, Hong Kong, Bangkok and now here in Singapore, and these are really all places that for myself I’ve never seen before. It’s been so so incredible to tour the world with your best friends, doing what you love most in life,” says Berguig.
This sentiment was echoed by Matthew T. Barber, 16, who said that his favourite part about being in the Dins was meeting and getting to know the ten other guys that he gets to travel the world with in summer and throughout the course of the school year. “The guys that I’ve met in the interval last four years I’ve been in the group have been absolutely incredible people, turned out to be some of my best friends,” says Barber. “One of them I’m actually living with in New York City next year after we both graduated from Harvard together. So definitely the friendships I’ve made with the group have been spectacular.”
Meanwhile, Ethan Craigo, 19, enjoyed the fact that the tour gave him a chance to travel. “I’m not very well-travelled, so I get to really see big stretches of two continents, Europe and Asia, for the first time.” He also likes the fact that everybody in the group is so good at polishing music and turning it into “the best sound that [he’s] personally heard.”
When asked about time management, both Ethan and Matthew concurred, saying that being in Harvard and being part of the Dins, time management is a valuable skill, and being in the Dins had definitely taught them to exercise it more and more often. Quite ironically, our interview had to end on this note as they had to rush off for a performance at Anderson JC, but it was very insightful and Victorians could perhaps take a leaf from their book.
The Victorian Press also spoke to our Principal Ms Ek, as well as Mr Seet, who confirmed that this was actually not the first time the Harvard Dins had performed at VJC. There have been performances a few years before, where likewise the Dins were invited to the school. That’s right, Victorians — the school has to “book” the Dins, and by no means is it free, so take this as a reminder to show your due appreciation and respect to performers whenever they are invited to the grounds of our school! Not only does the school spend money to invite these world-class acts to VJC, the performers themselves put in time and effort to give us a great show, so as a school it’s only right of us to give them the respect and attention they deserve during their performances.
All in all, the concert was a really enjoyable one, and we would like to express our gratitude to VJC and the Harvard Din & Tonics for this memorable performance! Thank you!
Ryan Ch’ng, 16S47
Jarod Zulkifly Yikai, 16A11