Stars shine brightest against a pitch black sky. With so many rising stars shining so brightly on the Performance Theatre stage in VJC on the night of 13th April, Musicfest 2018 would certainly be a night to remember.
Ethan Lim from the 34th Students’ Council cited, “As soon as the doors started opening way before the start of the concert, there was already a sizable crowd rushing in to fill in the seats.” Soon enough, the Performance Theatre was packed with an excited audience ready to start the night. The audience eagerly anticipated amazing performances from familiar faces on stage, and were just as curious about the performances from those going onstage for the first time.
This year’s Musicfest theme was “Rewrite Your Stars”, calling Victorians to step out of their comfort zone and to immerse themselves in doing the things they love most. And indeed, many signed up to rewrite their stars, and they definitely made the night absolutely LIT.
As the lights dimmed and the spotlights focused onto our emcees for the night, a hush fell over the audience. Our emcees, Jo and Darren introduced themselves, promising the audience an exciting lineup of spectacular performances. True to their word, they did not disappoint.
First up onstage was Mad Ratio. Starting their dance routine with the song “Rewrite the Stars”, followed by many other hits across other popular genres (even Red Velvet’s Bad Boy to the delight of Kpop fans!). Their stellar performance was simply the perfect opening act to fire up the night’s concert. The energetically upbeat rhythm of the music resonated with the dancers on stage as well as everyone else, who were in awe of their seemingly effortless grace and creative choreography.
The septet evidently enjoyed themselves on stage, giving it their all with their sharp and powerful movements. Everyone on stage was fully engaged in their performance, enjoying every moment as they drove the crowd wild with seamless transitions into other popular music. Truly, their sass was unparalleled! With Mad Ratio’s performance effectively making the audience all hyped up, the atmosphere in the PT was full of excitement and anticipation for the following acts.
Mad Ratio was followed by Luxe, with a duet of Ed Sheeran’s “Kiss Me”. Their performance was not the fast paced exuberance of Mad Ratio’s choreography, but a deep, soulful duet that managed to slice through to one’s very core. The Performance Theatre was utterly quiet for the entirety of the song; it was just the two of them on stage, their melodious voices and the guitar blending together into a smooth, soothing harmony that captured many hearts in the audience.
Next up, celebrated and highly talented Aida from 17A13 took the stage with an original song “Sophie”, and claimed the student body’s heart once again. The song was inspired by everyone’s favorite childhood tale, Big Friendly Giant (BFG) by Roald Dahl. The song was well written, thoroughly engaging the audience with its emotive lyrics and melody, exploring a soured relationship between a child and their caretaker. The vulnerability in Aida’s voice made the audience reflect on their own relationships with their role models, and her beautiful piano skills helped to weave a melody that swept the audience off their feet again, leaving everyone calling for an encore.
After Aida’s performance, Jun Kai took the stage with a piano rendition of Coldplay and The Chainsmokers’ Something Just Like This. And as promised in his caption, his performance was indeed better than his photo. Jun Kai’s deft fingers expertly played a melodious blend of notes, effectively translating an electric pop song onto the piano with much intensity and emotion. His impressive performance definitely wowed the crowd, and a resounding applause resonated across the PT as the last note faded into an echo.
Jun Kai’s splendid showcase was followed by the second dance item of the night: Caderas! Their ‘Spongebob’ opening certainly left an impression on the audience, leaving many of us smiling at the memorable ‘Aye-Aye Captain!’ from our childhood. Besides that, Caderas managed to capture both an ethereal grace and a confident swag across their performance, and most definitely, nailed their complex choreography. As they struck their finishing pose, the audience let loose a loud roar of applause, clearly impressed by their stage.
Next, Blueberry Jam was the first band to take the stage. Despite being a new group, their talent and passion was evident in their performance. Performing ‘Clarity’ by Zedd, the whole band was really in sync with the strong, unique vocals of the lead singer and the synchronisation of the accompanying instruments coming in together. The product? An amazing blend of melodies and beats that blessed our ears. At one point, the drummer even came forward to get the audience to clap to a rhythm, and of course, the crowd clapped along! Clearly, the audience enjoyed every bit of Blueberry Jam’s performance, and we can confidently say that this was a great start to the band’s journey in VJC!
Fine Pine, a group of closely-knit classmates whose band name was inspired by their class 17S33, was the night’s 7th act. They performed a catchy medley of the top songs of the last few years, including Youth by Troye Sivan, New Rules by Dua Lipa as well as unique renditions of songs such as Location by Khalid. Their stage presence was amazing from start to end. Gheslynn, the lead singer never failed to hold the audience’s attention with her voice perfectly hitting all the right notes. Meanwhile, Gabriel’s powerful and precise playing of the drums, Chloe’s good control and versatility as she strummed the guitar and Maribelle who wowed us with both her amazing vocals and the beautiful notes she produced as her fingers danced on the keyboard made this performance a definite highlight of the night.
Post-performance, the band said that they believed this year’s performance had been better than their appearance at the 2017 Victorian Affair, as they were able to engage with the audience more, and expressed enthusiasm at a chance to perform for VJ in the future. They captured the true essence of this year’s MusicFest with the apt sentence: ‘MusicFest, thankfully, isn’t a competition, so it was a perfect opportunity for us and other Victorians passionate about music to come together to deliver a show for our peers and friends’.
After a quick intermission, we were treated to a visual experience brought on and created by VJ’s own StudioV. With Riptide by Vance Joy crooning in the background, StudioV members painted a heart-wrenching love story gone rancid, tugging on the heartstrings of every Victorian in the Auditorium. Cliche had never been so enjoyable, and everybody had immense amounts of fun reacting to the adorable, and later on, sorrowful scenarios put forward in the video.
Adi, Qirah and Dylan then took to the stage with their rendition of “Almost is Never Enough” by Ariana Grande and Nathan Sykes. The harmony of Qirah and Adi’s vocals, with Dylan’s fluid accompaniment on the piano, fully immersed the audience in the R&B soul of the song. Those in the Performance Theatre soon found themselves swaying to the music, letting the wistful emotion wash over them. Perhaps some in the audience could relate to the themes in the song? Nonetheless, everybody could agree that it was a spectacular performance, once again erupting into thunderous cheers and applause for the trio.
Next up was brave soloist, See Chung. She performed the song “She used to be Mine” which is from the musical “Waitress”. Her melodious rendition resulted in goosebumps for many of us. An excited audience member felt the performance was “full of feels!”. See Chung described her journey in an exclusive interview after Music Fest – she was extraordinarily humble and thanked her best friend, Michelle, for helping her throughout her Musicfest journey. Her passion for Broadway musicals brought her to this stage and despite how absolutely terrifying it was to perform solo, she would never exchange this experience for any other.
Next up after See Chung’s strong and powerful rendition, was the night’s final dance item by Kronos. Just like the 2 previous dance groups before them, Kronos was also ablazed with energy and took to the stage with massive confidence. Their intense hip-hop dance moves was certainly a major stunner, especially with their dance stunts and tutting that require tremendous practice and skill. Undeniably, their adventurism to attempt a genre of dance not done by other dance groups and their innovative choreography was appreciated and enjoyed by the audience, who constantly erupted into cheers of encouragement.
Never failing to demonstrate his remarkable stage presence, Chen Yu’s rendition of 《打错了 + It’s Your Chance》was as splendid as the previous performances before him. It was impossible to not hear the cheers echoing throughout the theatre even before the curtains opened when his name was announced. He even gave his performance a personal touch. Out of the blue, he ran down the stage to engage with the audience, doing handshakes and highfives with the enthusiastic audience, while continuing to hit all the right notes without running out of breath. This added a new element of engagement for the audience with the performer, and was undeniably equally exciting for both!
The stage curtains drew to reveal a band onstage — Classified. With this being Classified’s last performance, the drummer of the band, Luke Lee, gave a huge shoutout to everyone in the band, also expressing the band’s gratitude to those who have supported Classified for the past one and a half years. Nadiyah, the guitarist, also added that that night’s performance was the conclusion to something that had been a significant part of her school life, and a celebration of how much they have grown as performers. Having watched performances by Classified countless times, Victorians, especially the J2s, would undeniably share the same sentiments on how Classified has also shaped their JC experience. The band’s performance that night of “Africa”, a soft rock song by the American band Toto, was sung with pent-up emotions and passion, and was yet again another treat for the audience’s ears.
What better way to end off this annual school concert than inviting our teachers onstage? That’s right, the final performance was none other than our very own VJC Teachers’ Band. Even though these talented teachers have performed for Victorians for many years, they definitely did not seem to have lost their golden touch. Victorians cheered their hearts out for their favourite teachers as they performed a medley of songs by Bruno Mars, such as “Uptown Funk”, “24K Magic” and “Finesse”. The teachers totally got the crowd rising on our feet (nope, not those in the upper gallery because we have to stay safe!) as the audience hyped up and sang along to more catchy tunes, including Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder”.
Sadly, Musicfest came to an end when… STOP, wait a minute! (get this lyric insert, Victorians?) So, it turned out that the teachers’ band was NOT the final act! As all performers gathered onstage, the audience were pleasantly surprised by the true final act — Edwin’s rendition of “September”, a classic of the band named Earth, Wind & Fire. His impeccable vocal range and his flawless ability to switch from a low to high note seamlessly was on full display, and certainly amazed the crowd. Edwin’s amazing voice, mixed with the incredible energy he brought up on stage through his animated movements, really raised everyone’s spirits up to an all-time high. His performance was no doubt a fitting finale for this wonderful music and dance spectacular.
As the sounds of the Victorian Anthem resounded in the Performance Theatre, Musicfest drew to a close, filling everybody in the auditorium with a sense of purpose and belonging. With every end comes a new start, and the closing of the stage curtains meant one thing: Now, WE write the stars.
“I was there to support James, Gheslynn and Classified! I’ve seen them perform before during other school events but this time it was a lot more special since it’ll probably be their last time performing and I know how much it means to them! The 3 of them have also worked really hard to put up a good performance on top of their CCA commitments and academics so I really respect them and hence I wanted to support them in the best way I could. They’re all really talented and i’m glad that they get to have a platform to showcase these talents. Furthermore, I could tell that they had so much fun doing what they love on stage and I had fun watching them enjoy the moment too!”
The Stars Behind the Scenes: PA Crew
Musicfest 2018 was the last event J2s in PA Crew were handling. PA Crew has had a ubiquitous presence in almost every concert yet are perhaps the most under appreciated. With Musicfest being the last event for J2s, this was a sentimental moment and here Triston (President of PA Crew) delves into a few questions in an exclusive interview!
- As the J2s’ last event of the year, what was the highlight of the process of preparation and the event?
“The highlight of the process was seeing both experienced J2 performers whom we’ve developed strong bonds with over the past year and the new J1 performers that bring in a fresh new wave of talent come together in one of the biggest events in VJ. Seeing them work tirelessly through multiple tech runs and full dress rehearsals really displayed their professionalism and desire to perfect each and every movement and cue.”
2. What’s the most under appreciated duty that you have to do?
“The most under appreciated duty is us trying to stay hidden in the shadows while getting our job done. As much as possible, we go onto stage in front of the audience to set up equipment while trying to avoid the spotlight as much as possible, such that we are not a distraction to the emcees or the audience.”
3. What would you miss the most about the behind the scenes work?
“I would say I miss my 34th PA Crew members the most, as this is our very last event as a crew. Working with them has made every tiring event so much more convivial and entertaining. As a crew, we will miss working with all of the people we have developed good relationships with, especially for this event, knowing that many of them are having their final performances. It was very heartbreaking setting up the stage for certain performances, knowing that this will be our final chance doing so.”
4. Would you say the event was successful in terms of PA work and are there are any improvements you would like to see in MF19?
“I’ll let the audience members be the judge on that HAHAHA. Year by year, MF has always been VJC’s way of encouraging those with the talent and skill to showcase them on the larger stage. During MF19, I would much like to see the same level of hype and enthusiasm, but with a much longer concert run in order to encompass more acts.”
As a whole, we would also like to thank the Students’ Council’s Musicfest planning committee for planning such a special event that many of us will regard as one of the best memories in VJ. As a platform for many Victorians to realise their dreams, the memories and experiences will truly live on forever.
Niyanta Chowdhury, 17S46
James Tan Shi An, 17S51
Lois Kok Yu Qin, 17S62
Yong Hwee Shi, 17S62
Rajkumar Snehaa, 17S62
Chan Siew Min, 17S63