The auditorium was filled with excited chatter. Packed to the brim, people were mingling around, some navigating their way to their seats and some chatting with their friends. It was a cheerful and comforting sight to behold. As the clock ticked closer and closer to the start of the performance, the audience gradually settled into their seats, readying themselves to watch their friends put up a beautiful performance. Behind the curtains, the familiar strum of guitar strings could be heard as the performers revved up their instruments in nervous preparation. The performance was about to begin.
“Ladies and gentlemen…” echoed from the speakers as the two emcees emerged from behind the curtains. A wave of silence engulfed the crowd. After giving the audience a brief introduction of the upcoming piece, the emcees retreated, leaving the crowd in eager anticipation. As the curtains parted gloriously, the crowd erupted into delirious cheers and raucous applause as the familiar faces of friends and classmates began to appear on stage. We were greeted with enthusiastic smiles of the guitar ensemble and their conductor, Mr Daryl Ang.
Mr Ang was actually a part of the very first batch of DSA students taken into VJC’s Guitar Ensemble. Since then he has taken on many schools, guiding them to greater heights. Drawing in warm laughter from the crowd, he started off with an introduction of the ensemble and the various guitars played. Oh and by the way, if you’re wondering why the annual concert is named “Perfect Fifth”, it is because the Alto guitars are tuned a perfect fifth higher than the Prime guitars. Similarly, the base guitars are tuned a perfect fourth down a prime guitar. How STRINGent!
The very first piece was the soothing Blue Danube Waltz. Despite being a famous song that many have heard before, the soft, melodic way it was played instantly struck a chord with the audience. With every strum of the guitar, the audience was taken back to the 18th century, to a posh, uptown European ballroom, where men and women glided across the marble floor to the Viennese Waltz. As the senior ensemble majestically played the last note, the crowd erupted into claps and cheers for their friends onstage.
As the crowd quietened down, the senior ensemble begun on their second piece, from another era; the Swing Era. The piece was titled The Duke Glenn Medley, written by Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller. A quick fun fact, did you know that Miller actually raised money to buy his first trombone by selling milk? We’re glad he did, seeing as the catchy pace and fun melody of the song instantly latched onto the hearts of the audience. Mr Ang and the ensemble enjoyed the snappy pace of the song, as they grooved to the beat, strumming to a unified rhythmic front. In fact, it looked like Mr Ang was dancing to the swing music as he conducted!
All too soon, the senior ensemble played their final note. Concluding their last performance with a bow, they left the stage for the junior ensemble to play their part.
The junior ensemble started off slow, but soon picked up their pace. They began a song originating in Cuba – Mambo No. 5. The rapid tempo and mesmerizing rhythm indeed played out into a catchy tune. The ensemble even engaged the audience with occasional “Hey!”(s) during the chorus of the piece. The audience was entrapped in the dazzling performance. Soon enough, they were shouting “Hey!” right alongside the ensemble! As Sara, a member of the junior ensemble, put it “The enthusiasm, support and energy of the crowd made the concert an amazing experience.”
The energy of the crowd, brought to life by the stunning performances by the ensemble, did not end at Mambo. It continued on for the entire concert, even including the solo and smaller band performances. It was truly inSTRUMental in creating a vibrant atmosphere that swept the crowd off their feet – if they were standing, that is.
As the junior ensemble ended off with a bang, their performance was undoubtedly spectacular. What made it all the more impressive, was the fact that they only had 2 months to prepare for it! “It was my first concert”, said Pooja, a member of the junior ensemble, who was “excited and scared” to be up on stage. Despite the intensity of practice, where they had to learn an entire song in just 3 sessions, engaging with the audience and seeing their obvious delight truly made the concert worth the effort. When describing the concert, she used the word “memorable”. Truly, the stunning performance by the junior ensemble was memorable indeed.
Other than the junior and senior ensemble performances, we were also treated to solo and band performances. The solo performance was by Benjamin, who played Six Variations of Sur Les Foiles S’Espange. He managed to steal the audience’s hearts with just a single guitar. His fingers moved seamlessly along the neck of the guitar to produce a captivating tune. Then, the audience was treated to a contemporary song – Attention, by Charlie Puth – that the audience definitely grooved to. The vocals complemented the guitarists in an inexplicable manner. The upbeat tunes enticed us and engaged us. The chemistry was extremely strong as the crowd clapped to the beat of the song, displaying their unwavering support for the performers. After intermission, Little Talks and Hanuman stole the night with a sizzling performance. The rhythm made us want to get up and groove to the beat. As Nathalie and Thern Kai, the emcees of the night, described it, “the performances were truly magnificent”. One could even say that on that night, the performers were at their ‘pick’ performance.
As all concerts, Perfect Fifth could not have ended without the shouts for an Encore. The audience was surprised when shades materialized onto the faces of the ensemble! The ensemble started strumming to the James Bond Theme song, and out of nowhere, Mr Ang snuck out with his shades on! The audience went ballistic as Mr Ang preened and pranced enthusiastically on stage, flashing his conducting moves without a single care in the world. Indeed, the concert would have been ‘pick’ perfect, had it not come to an end.
As the concert came to a close, the audience quickly streamed out of their seats, eager to meet up with their friends performing and congratulate them. As if unable to contain the liveliness of the audience, the exuberant mood leaked out of the performance theatre as friends handed out bouquets of flowers to the performers and took pictures. Tiny congregations gradually evolved into formidable crowds as performers, left and right, posed for quick snaps and received hearty praises. “We need to start working on the article…” I started before being briefly interrupted by a cheerful concertgoer. “Excuse me, can you help us take a picture?” Smiling, and with camera in hand, I turned towards the beautiful night sky as the melodies of the night faded into the gentle stars and the brilliant constellations. Only one word could truly sum up such a magical night: Perfect.
Agrawal Juhi, 17S37
Yong Shao En Ernest, 18S43
Nikhita Nair, 18S34
Chen Xiang Le, 18S43
Yap Yu Qi Delphie, 18S33