For the first time in 2017, Victorians were seen walking into the Performance Theatre (PT) after sunset to attend a concert. However, this was no ordinary concert — this was Raise The Roof 2017, a concert where the performers were drawn from our beloved teaching staff! About two weeks before the event, there were sneak previews of the performances to come, with Mr Ho Wei Kang playing the harmonica and Mr Tan Yew Hwee singing Tears For Fears’ “Shout” during morning assembly.
Tickets were sold to both current students and alumni and the response was indeed encouraging. According to Ms Ho Ting Xuan, “We almost sold out!” The majority were sold to existing students (the J2s in particular), then to teachers and ex-students from previous batches. “It’s very decent given the timing of the concert, that it is on a weekday, and the J1s aren’t very familiar with the teachers yet!” It had been quite a while since we had a concert dedicated to staff performances, so we’re indeed very lucky to have the privilege of attending Raise The Roof as VJ students!
As Victorians were in the midst of streaming into the PT (and working out which seats they could take and which were reserved for teachers), the lights went out. Then, a DJ took the stage — Tan Yean Keat from 13S51! Setting the mood for the concert, he hyped the crowd and got them to clap along and rave, reminding the J2s of DJ Bran Sim who had done a similar job at last year’s Victorian Affair.
Then, the show began. Mr Najib, who performed at last year’s Farewell Assembly, took the stage in a navy blazer with a grey shirt, introducing the background of the event and hyping the audience up before inviting fellow emcee Mrs Judah onto the stage. Mrs Judah, whose husband had come to support her, wore a black waterfall dress with gold strappy wedges. The emcees bantered and the event commenced, with both of them starting the night with a duet of “Lean On Me” and “Everything” by Michael Buble, accompanied on the keyboard by VJC Alumni and former teacher, Ms Wang Jiehui (04A55).
The curtains drew to a close to the sound of thunderous applause, and reopened to reveal a 5-member band comprising of Caleb Yoong (more on him in a bit), Ms Audrey Tay, Mr Najib, Ms Tiffany Yeo and the “special mystery guest” from Cedar, Mdm Tan Yah Hui! This unexpected “mystery guest” surprised many ex-Cedarians, who began cheering for Mdm Tan. The crowd clapped enthusiastically to the band’s mashup of two songs featured in the “Trolls” Movie — “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake and Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colours”. Mdm Tan’s presence, although a surprise, was appreciated by many ex-Cedarians who knew her as the choir teacher-in-charge. When the mashup ended, it was time for the next act.
Caleb Yoong was then introduced by Mr Najib as an artiste and a geographer, two words that seem pretty paradoxical. Nevertheless, Caleb (13S41) proved it was possible to be good in both. He launched into his self-written song, “Love like the Ocean”, that was written in 2015 during an emotional time. The song, which he had written in his journal and had contained “lyrics about love that carried [him] through every situation”, had actually been lost for years. Yet, he found it within 5 minutes upon Mr Najib’s request for him to perform at Raise the Roof Concert. Fate? We think yes. Caleb also performed “I Won’t Let You Go” by Switchfoot as the second part of his act, doing it completely solo with only the picture of the flickering campfire for accompaniment.
Next up was a duet of Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill” by Ms Audrey Tay and Ms Tiffany Yeo. Upon the mention of Ed Sheeran’s name, the crowd whooped in excitement — which is completely understandable since, well, who doesn’t love that guy? Ms Tay and Ms Yeo certainly did the song justice, launching into a harmonised version of the song and receiving roaring applause from the crowd.
Finally came one segment everyone had been eagerly awaiting. Mr Tan Yew Hwee was announced as the next performer. To tease us, the spotlight shone a few times in some rather misleading places before the curtains opened to reveal Mr Tan on the piano with Collin Raye’s “Love, Me”. However, after the first verse he was interrupted by the emcees, who then proceeded to reveal the actual item and introduce the school leaders and HODs, including Ms Ek and Mr Guru.
In groups of fours and fives, they took the microphones to deliver a powerful and moving choral performance of “You Raise Me Up”. It was a treat for students seeing HODs like Ms Anne Yip and Mr Seet singing passionately to the song. While the choice of song may have puzzled some students used to choirs performing it on Teachers’ Day, it was explained well by saying that we, as Victorians, indeed raise up our school leaders to help us all as a family achieve greater heights.
The next performer was someone similarly anticipated — Mr Ho Wei Kang of the Maths department. Earlier on, a post making the rounds on Facebook asked alumni to guess Mr Ho’s favourite instrument — and Mr Ho joked twice on stage addressing this. Firstly, he claimed it was a “triangle — the right-angled triangle”, and secondly “the Texas… Instruments… graphing calculator”, holding up a TI-84 Plus CE! Nevertheless, he revealed that it was, as we all knew from his assembly performance, the harmonica. Accompanied by Ms Liew Huimin and Ms Ding Yih on the piano and violin, he performed a rousing rendition of “Always With You” from Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, no doubt delighting Studio Ghibli fans in the audience.
The talented duo comprising of Ms Audrey Tay and Ms Tiffany Yeo then took the stage with the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked. The audience gasped at the tough song choice, with Jameela Silmi from 16A14 remarking that it was a pretty difficult song to sing. Nevertheless, the two teachers, accompanied by Ms Liew Huimin on the piano, pulled it off perfectly with their powerful vocals. The audience was left completely enthralled, and applause rang throughout the PT as the two teachers embraced after their splendid performance.
Things took a decidedly different turn for the next performances, with male voices dominating the stage. It was the English department’s turn to lend their talents to the show, with a band called The Three Amigos (“If you get that reference, welcome to our era!” —Mr Ben). After performing Neil Young’s 1972 hit “Heart of Gold”, they revealed that they were also known as “Peer Pressure” as a series of jokes ensued, culminating in a rather awkward yet immensely entertaining sketch about… the trio’s differing levels of hair loss.
Then, the second special guest was introduced, Mr Jeff Lim, HOD of the Victoria School English department, to loud cheers from the VS boys. He joined a teacher band fronted by Mr James Ho, the “VJC Rock Revival”, as they performed a medley of Rolling Stones hits. Before they began, however, none other than our teacher-in-charge Mr Teo Gene En was invited on stage to recite the first verse of “Jumping Jack Flash”, as “it is also poetry”!
The Rock Revival then performed the rest of “Jumping Jack Flash”, as well as the hit “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. The crowd went wild when Mr Ho notably substituted a line with “Well he can’t be cool ’cause he doesn’t go/to VJC like me!”
After that, Mr Najib joined them as they transitioned to “a style of music you won’t hear at MusicFest — the blues”. Mr Ho, Mrs Ting, Mr Lim, Caleb and Mr Najib then belted out “Sweet Home Chicago”, as popularised by Eric Clapton, with a finale of “I say home, you say VJC”, with successive cheers getting louder and louder.
Finally, it was time for the last performance. Our emcees Mr Najib and Mrs Judah once again took to the stage, but this time inviting Victorians down to the “mosh pit” on the floor right in front of the stage, as they performed OneRepublic’s hits “Love Runs Out” and “Counting Stars”. This was quickly followed by Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”, another fan favourite. Enthusiastic Victorians raved and partied as Mr Najib and Mrs Judah hammed it up on stage, with many singing along as they knew the lyrics — we have more than a few OneRepublic and Coldplay fans, it seems.
After the performance ended, loud chants of “Encore” reverberated. The teachers who “did not expect this to happen” (really?) then launched into “We are Young” by Fun, with a clever twist of the lyrics “So if by the time the school closes, and you feel like falling down, I’ll carry you home tonight”…
And of course, no VJC event would be complete without Victorians putting their arms around each other and belting out the Victorian Anthem and “Yo VJC”, the standard end to all school events.
According to Mrs Judah, “The run up to the show was taxing as many of us were rehearsing twice to three times a week while juggling our teaching, marking, meetings and other responsibilities. We were constantly pushing ourselves to put on great performances and many of us were tired and cranky at times too. But it all came together beautifully! And of course, seeing the crowd’s faces and the energy in the PT, we were thrilled that it was a success.”
“I really enjoyed myself,” said Ms Ho Ting Xuan, “and I think all the hard work we had to put in was worthwhile because it gave the students an awesome end to the term! The entire concert was run by teachers, you see, except for the [5 batches of] PA Crew who helped. I think those of you who hadn’t been there Thursday night might have really missed out!”
Indeed, the teachers certainly “Raised the Roof”. It sure was a great way to end off the school term, as many of us walked out of the PT with a newfound admiration for our teachers’ hidden singing prowess. With that, The Victorian Press wishes everyone a happy and restful March Holiday break!
Special thanks to these performers who made the concert a success: Mr Najib, Mrs Judah, Ms Audrey Tay, Ms Tiffany Yeo, Mr Ho Wei Kang, Ms Ding Yih, Ms Liew Hui Min, Mr Ben, Mr James Ho, Mr Lee Keng Hua, Mrs Ting Siang Leng, Mr Derrick Wong, Principal Ms Ek, Vice Principals, HODs and special guests from Cedar (Mdm Tan Yah Hui), VS (Mr Jeff Lim), and Alumni (Tan Yean Keat, Wang Jiehui and Caleb Yoong)!
Victoria Cheung, 16A14
Ryan Ch’ng, 16S47
Cover photo by:
Liyana Mokhtar Hussein, 16S31