Even before it had begun, the school was already brimming with excitement. It was the night of MusicFest, and Victorians were eagerly lingering outside the theatre for the performances that awaited them within its wall. Going beyond the trademark neon lights, flair and music, this MusicFest would prove to be delightfully different from the ones prior — and even better as a result!
For those of you who didn’t have the privilege of going, allow us to set the scene for you. Imagine walking up the steps of the LT, welcomed by a smiling student councillor who opens the door for you and pulls the black curtain aside. Taking a step forward, a gush of cool air brushes past your cheek and the melody of a familiar tune fills your ears. Before you know it, your head is bobbing to the beat of the music and you let the exhilaration in the atmosphere wash over you. Never before have you seen the LT filled with so much vibrancy, and you decide to relish in it as much as you can before the lectures and mundanity that the coming day would bring.
This was a sentiment echoed by all Victorians as they stepped into the neon daydream of the blacklight room. Under the cover of night, LT1 was transformed from the dreary and lifeless place it typically is to a luminescent wonderland. The mundane white ceiling and walls were painted over by glowing ornaments and lights of all prismatic colours, casting a bluish umbra throughout the room. Complete with tunes that were sure to get you swaying to the rhythm, the blacklight room set a vivacious and lively tone for the rest of the evening. It is no wonder why many Victorians were ready to hype it up when the time for the concert finally came.
Glow sticks? Check. Big smiles? Check. Concert etiquettes deeply ingrained by StudioV? Check, check and check again. The audience in the Performance Theatre was a hive of excitement, buzzing with anticipation for the performances to come. Victorians were unified by the same enthusiasm and eagerness to cheer on their peers who were performing, and to catch performers who were making their mark on VJ’s stage for the very first time. As the spotlight beamed upon the entering emcees, the crowd knew the performance they had been waiting for had finally come with the line “Welcome to MusicFest 2019: Seize the Night!”
In light of this year’s theme, ‘Seize the Night’, the emcees explained that MusicFest was all about capturing the moment and not letting opportunities slip by us. Whether it was performers putting their inhibitions behind them to perform in front of the school, or audience members tabling a night of mugging for 2 hours of fun and music, everyone indeed reflected the idea to carpe noctem.
After a short preamble, our emcees finally welcomed the first performer for the night. Wen Wei graced the stage with a ukulele in hand, and all eyes were on her as she started to sing one of her favourite songs, ‘Girl Crush’ by Harry Styles. Taking a deep breath, her soft melodious voice filled the PT, intertwining beautifully with the sweet sound of her ukulele accompaniment. Despite the pressure of being the first act, Wen Wei could not have done better! Her astounding performance left us with high hopes for the rest of the performance, and we certainly were not disappointed.
Wen Wei wasn’t our only female soloist either. Jia Tong also took the stage with what initially felt like a soulful and mellow Chinese song. However, her powerful voice soon encompassed the theatre as she crescendoed in the chorus, gripping the crowd with an emotional, but intoxicating melody. It was surely a performance of grace and elegance.
We also had Nyimas, who changed it up with a slow and emotional Adele classic: ‘When We Were Young’. With the warm yellow light gracing her presence on stage, her soothing yet rich voice reverberated through the theatre and entrancingly transformed the space.
Last but not least, the audience were completely enchanted by Yi Mei’s strong and fierce stage presence that became apparent the minute she stepped into the spotlight. She definitely owned the stage that night with her confidence and fearlessness as she wowed the crowd with popular female artist, GEM’s, 龙卷风 (Tornado). Not only did her powerful vocals leave the audience craving for more, but her rapping in Chinese sent the crowd into a wild craze. Topped with her expressive and vibrant dance moves which seemed to fill the entire stage, her passion for performing was undeniably incandescent.
The first interactive segment ‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics’ was met with much merriment from the crowd. This segment had been arranged by the Ad Hoc to spice things up, and it definitely achieved its purpose! Xavier, the first participant, leapt on stage with outstanding gallantry to complete the lyrics to Shawn Mendes’ ‘Lost in Japan’. Despite not knowing the answer (much less the song), he was undaunted and the audience eagerly assisted him. He was indeed ‘a couple hundred miles’ from the right answer, but it was nonetheless a valiant attempt.
Following the slew of soloists, Dustin, dubbed as VJ’s ‘guitar prodigy’, charismatically took centre stage! He was finally back after performing for Teachers’ Day and Victorian Affair last year and was ready to seize the stage once again. As he began strumming his guitar and tapping his foot rhythmically, the most entrancing and lively melody was unleashed into the PT. The audience were left in a daze, stunned by the scintillating beauty flowing from his guitar.
Wang Yi Ke’s amazing performance made it difficult to believe it was his first time performing on stage. With his skilled vocal runs and flawless notes performing ‘All of Me’ by John Legend, as well as his appealing charm and charisma, he managed to successfully woo the crowd. In the midst of his performance, Yi Ke pointed the mic to the audience, and everyone instantly sang back in return. This heartwarming moment truly highlighted the strength of our Victorian spirit, banding together to support our fellow Victorian who poured his heart out on stage.
For the 2nd interactive segment hosted by our very own house captains, the audience were invited to play ‘Simonhoose’. Juztin from Pegasus bravely took the stage without hesitation, and played ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars’ on the keyboard in accordance to the respective house emojis shown on screen. In his undeniable success and sensational rendition of the nursery rhyme, he won himself a pair of wireless earphones – which many thought were the highly sought-after Airpods.
Already overflowing with animation and elation, StudioV’s music video made this moment more sentimental than ever. Victoria’s very own film crew crafted a video using ‘The Greatest’ by Sia as its soundtrack, following the storyline of two guys who initially loathed each other. However, both of them were unexpectedly bonded by a mutual sentiment — their desire to perform in MusicFest despite not initially having the means to do so. Eventually, they managed to do more than just reconcile and set their differences aside. They also came together to put up a performance for MusicFest, much to the audience’s delight. With such a heartwarming video, Studio V expressed a vital message — that MF serves as a platform to build bridges, forge friendships and unite Victorians.
“The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word” – Mata Hari
And indeed, this is true of the first dance performance by CREDO, who brought the audience through the seven stages of grief with their mesmerizing choreography. The creative storyline flowed together with their graceful and alluring movements, leaving the audience in awe. It was the kind of jaw-dropping performance that would leave you wide-eyed and mind-blown. When the dance crew proceeded to execute exciting stunts such as spins in the air, the atmosphere instantly buzzed with electrifying energy as murmurs of “ooo” and “wow” echoed in the performance theatre. Praises filled the air as excited Victorians turned to their friends to express their glee and admiration for the dance crew.
Another one of VJ’s very own dance groups was INCENDIO. No matter where you were seated, you could feel their passion for dance burning bright from the stage. With their perfectly synchronised and quick movements, they captivated and left the crowd screaming as they dished out high-energy hip-hop moves to popular songs like Swalla. A few members of the audience, caught up in the high of the atmosphere, stood up and moved along to the strong beats of the songs. Wishing that this was not to be the last dance performance, the audience was then extremely delighted to be blessed with a mini-finale. In the 3rd interactive segment, 3 enthusiastic Victorians showed off their freestyle dance moves onstage to win a Starbucks card!
The only duet for the night, Lucas and Kaye started their performance with a fist bump and performed ‘Sucker’ by the Jonas Brothers. Kaye’s smooth vocals enthralled everyone the moment she began to sing, and Lucas, totally immersed in the performance, also charmed the audience by passionately and skillfully strumming his guitar. Their jaw-dropping performance was heightened at the chorus with Kaye’s mellow and honey-like voice and the booming, strong beats from Lucas’ guitar — spiking up the energy in the performance theatre. A completely bewitched member of the audience even commented, “Better than the original” as she mouthed the lyrics and swayed along to the music.
The performances by two of VJ’s very own bands, ‘Melodium’ and ‘Blueberry Jam’, were certainly some of the most highly anticipated acts of the night. These two talented groups of musicians had indeed impressed and livened up the hearts of Victorians before as seen from the enthusiastic cheers and whoops from the crowd before their performances. Melodium has wowed us before at last year’s Victorian Affair, and they did it again this time, but with a different vibe. The 4-membered band showed off their chemistry as they connected with the crowd in their performance of ‘Superhero’ by Lauv, imbuing the crowd with sentimentality. With a loyal fanbase, Blueberry Jam later hyped the crowd up again with their high-energy performance. Though it was unfortunate that Mark was unable to perform that night, the band was able to stun us yet again. Their strong and spirited performance of Centuries by Fall Out Boys invigorated the crowd and even left the emcees – in their words – “shook”.
In the last interactive segment, the audience was asked: What does the theme ‘Seize the Night’ mean to you? One brave soul dashed to the stage and proclaimed “It’s about living my best life and taking all the opportunities”, earning a impassioned cheer from the crowd.
Just when the audience was expecting the night to end, a group of teachers graced the stage with their instruments. It was none other than our very own teachers’ band! But this year, they welcomed a new member, Mr Nil Sine La-bear. In conjunction with VJ’s 35th anniversary, they started with a song from the era VJ started in, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. Victorians chorused along to the song and turned the performance into a fun sing-a-long! With bodies grooving along to the music, the air was full of the warmth and togetherness of the Victorian family. The teachers’ band also performed a variety of hits that got the crowd up and singing along. The performance theater was filled with cheers and laughter as Victorians basked in the fun and energetic atmosphere. There was truly no better way to end MusicFest 2019.
Though MusicFest was officially over, the memories made there will indeed keep living on. It wouldn’t have been possible to “Seize the Night” without the brilliant audience, performers, crew and Ad Hoc who helped make the concert possible. As Nyimas put it, “Be curious and always, always challenge yourself. School is the best place to start so go crazy all you want!” If you missed the chance to be part of MusicFest this year, fear not because you can LiVE like a Victorian and seize every day.
“The whole purpose of MusicFest was to create a platform for Victorians to rejoice in the talents amongst us. From Victorians, to Victorians. Despite some last minute changes we had to make, the moments when Victorians sung along to the familiar tunes, clapped their hands to the beat and waved their coloured flashlights… made everything worth it.” ― Tara, Ad Hoc
Semantha Wong, 19A15
Julianne Ong, 19S33
Val Guo, 18A12
Caitlyn Szeto, 18S33
Tiffany Lin, 18S55
Photos provided by:
VJ Photography Society