There is really nothing more we can say to praise the VJ Guitar Ensemble, because the full house for their concert “Perfect Fifth 2016” has spoken for itself.
From the moment we stepped into the Performance Theatre to the moment we left, the Guitar Ensemble brought the audience along on a fairytale journey by treating us with an array of enchanting pieces. Many of these were made famous by being featured in popular Disney movies such as ‘Pocahontas’ and ‘Up’, while others were from beloved Asian romantic films such as ‘Our Times’. We truly felt as if we had been pulled right out of the PT and plunged straight into a make-believe world where all is merry and true love lasts a lifetime…
Sure enough, it was a captivating and delightful journey for many of us, and we were truly left satisfied. For those who were sadly unable to purchase a ticket to ride with the ensemble, let The Victorian Press give you a run-down on that night’s events!
The first three songs of the night were performed by the senior ensemble, and they were titled ‘Scherzino Mexicano’, ‘Canon in D’ and ‘Married Life’.
How do we even begin to describe ‘Scherzino Mexicano’? Perhaps picture a loving couple in the late 1990s, hand in hand, strolling down a country side with the sunset watching over them. ‘Scherzino Mexicano’ is the perfect song to accompany a scene like that. With no care or worries in the world, the only person you see is your lover, and the only thing you cherish at the moment is the time spent with him or her.
‘Canon in D’, on the other hand, is more widely known — to many as the ‘wedding song’ — and it’s not hard to see (or hear) why! It is the perfect tune to accompany lovers in the ceremony of them taking their first steps in starting a life together. We could almost feel the audience sag into their seats, captivated yet relaxed, in a state of serenity and bliss.
‘Married Life’ is yet another familiar tune, perhaps to the younger audience who have watched the movie ‘Up’! Of course, married life cannot always be a smooth sailing one, hence this song is an excellent description of it. It started off on a light, cheery note, playing a sweet tune which induced the audience to subconsciously sway their bodies and picture a happy place. That is, until the music took a dip into a more depressing, mournful tune, telling the audience it is in fact right that all good things come to an end.
Even though the previous song concluded on a bittersweet note, the mood of the audience hardly dampened, because following that, many members of the audience sat up a little straighter and cheered a little louder to welcome the junior ensemble onto the stage for the very first time. They presented the crowd with two pieces — ‘La Cumparsita’ and ‘A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes’. Both songs could not be more different from one another, for while one hits you with a zap of energy, the other is soothing and calm.
If you are into tango dancing, ‘La Cumparsita’ is one song you would not want to leave out in your tango playlist. The fast paced piece with its staccato notes is perfect for anyone who wants to bust a move! No doubt, this piece requires its players to be extremely familiar with the score, because there is simply no time for them to refer to it throughout the course of this rapid piece! Seeing the junior ensemble successfully tackle this piece in a span of 3 months is simply amazing, and this only proves to us their dedication to the CCA.
Yet another song familiar to the audience, ‘A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes’ is a Disney classic song from ‘Cinderella’. It was as if the tall bleak walls of the PT had vanished and were replaced with tall dense trees, the carpet floor gone as well and grass and flowers sprouting out instead. As you swirl and hop about in forest, you meet the eyes of a few curious spectators — the deers peek from behind the bushes, the birds perched on tree branches to watch a good show and the squirrels gathering at your feet, wanting to dance along. An enchanting image that would linger at the back of your mind, even after the song ends…
The next song had many teenage girls in the audience squealing away; it came from the highly watched Chinese movies ‘You’re The Apple Of My Eye’ and ‘Our Times’. It was performed by 4 members, two of which sang while the other two played the guitar. As if both songs by itself weren’t good enough, they actually sang a mashup of both! Well, as the saying goes, two is better than one, so you could only imagine how wild the crowd went.
The final song performed before the intermission was ‘Take Five’ by the senior ensemble. The jazzy beat really reminded us of the feeling you get chilling at a hotel lobby, perhaps sipping on some martini (kidding of course)! Seeing the players move their bodies to the beat of the song really showed us that they were putting their heart and soul into delivering the music, and their enthusiasm had spread to the audience as well!
The following two songs after the intermission were crowd favourites as well. Similarly performed in small groups rather than by an ensemble, both ‘Love Yourself’ and ‘Let It Go’ had the audience clapping along, fully absorbed into the contemporary pop music.
‘Steel Heart’, however, was slightly different seeing as though the classical Spanish guitars were replaced by electric guitars. Every sharp, piercing note echoed across the four walls, and indeed it gave the audience a pleasant chill. I remembered when one member delivered a series of running notes, audible gasps could be heard from around me. Easily, anyone who watched the performance would not watch on without so much as a ‘wow’.
Ahhh, of course, the performance would have to cater to all ages, as the next song should resonate with the older generations. ‘Hotel California’ — a classic piece with its characteristic long opening riff that would make any guitar concert complete. It was actually shocking to know that the guitarists on stage weren’t those of the Eagles themselves! The sheer resemblance had the audience shocked to know that this group of students, all 17 or 18 years of age, had such incredible talent that could match up to that of a professional guitarist! Simply magnificent!
Finally, it was time to bring the senior ensemble back on stage. The event concluded with ‘I Need To Be In Love’ as well as ‘Colours Of The Wind’. The Carpenters song and Pocahantas track could not be better to wrap up the event since it brought the crowd back down from the high of the previous song. By the time the emcee had announced the end of the concert, the crowd were booing and fiercely demanding for an encore. “Ask and you shall receive” were their last words as the crowd indeed got what they wanted — one last song and one last memory before the night is over.
Unquestionably, ‘Someday My Prince Will Come’ depicts the wish of most, if not all princesses known, and of course many of us in the real world. With that, the event TRULY ended on a hopeful note. The audience were reluctantly transported back into reality and left the PT hoping against hope that our lives would be even half as blissful as the one painted, or in this case played, for us. A job well done guitarists! So…where to next?
Megan Chor, 16S31