“Victoria in Singapore…” Victorians belted out together in unison the school anthem with pride and gusto. Many would be surprised to hear that the school song was sung during MusicFest; after all, it was not exactly a song that one would expect to hear during a music contest.
Yet, this was reality, one of the main highlights of this year’s edition of VJC’s favourite Music Event. Titled Transcendence, meaning existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe MusicFest 2017 as a stage where our fellow, talented Victorians truly pushed themselves beyond their limits and boundaries.
The lucky ones who managed to successfully ballot for tickets were treated to an extravaganza of artistic display in its most relatable form, through the familiar faces we land our eyes on within campus. For those who missed the concert, this article who give you a brief run-through of all that has happened on this unforgettable night where VJ’s hidden gems in music were finally uncovered, or, in some cases, rediscovered.
As Victorians were still in the process of streaming into a Performance Theatre which had already plunged into darkness, a group of performers, clad in bright blue and white outfits, marched onto stage amidst boisterous cheering. These performers belonged to none other than VJ Dance, one of the school’s most popular Performing Arts CCAs and the night’s very first act. As usual, they began enthralling the audience with a high-tempo performance that quite incredibly managed to incorporate elements of grace and poise amongst its high difficulty moves, drawing looks of admiration from the audience. It was then revealed that the routine was to be their item for the SYF in a few days, leading to many Victorians wishing them all the best for their performance on the big stage. (Writer’s note: At time of writing, the Dance Crew have attained distinction in the SYF. Congrats!)
After the adrenaline-packed opening act, the concert began, fittingly, with the concert etiquette video showed to the school a few days earlier, to once again remind overenthusiastic Victorians on how to act and behave during Concerts. Given the previous “horror shows” at the Esplanade during the Band concert the year before, the school was clearly not prepared to take any chances this year. Fortunately, Victorians this year improved, acknowledging the importance of behaving properly during concerts even as they snigger ed during the particularly ridiculous moments of the video. With the rules and regulations done and through, the Big Event began.
The first competing act of the night was a familiar name to J2s who had attended the previous year’s Victorian Affair. It was none other than the Supersonic Baes, a vocal duo, consisting of former The Voice of China auditioners Hu Xinbei and Qiu Shichao. The two conjured up a mashup of Lorde’s “Royals” and a few other tracks that left the audience in raptures at the end of the performance, with a considerable number screaming in excitement as the duo’s deep voices blasted out the familiar tunes of their repertoire.
In addition to the Supersonic Baes, there were two other vocal groups performing on the night, and, coincidentally, all happened to be duos. Manasa and Carissa consisted of returning act Manasa Ganesh and Carissa Leong. Dubbed the “Harmonising Queens”, they delivered a rising remix of Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman”, with harmonies that struck a chord within music lovers from around the school. Who could forget the moment Manasa hit the high notes we thought only singers like Whitney Houston could pull off? Indeed, the incredible vocal ranges of the two vocalists gave rise to the deafening applause at the end of the performance.
Venti, on the other hand, consisted of Celeste and Shivaane, two choir members who have never performed at events in VJ before, though the latter had been a member of The Bandanas who performed at last year’s MusicFest as a band. A fun fact we picked up was that these two had been friends since Secondary School and even live near to each other. The two thus possessed a deep chemistry on stage that seemed to radiate more strongly as compared to the rest of the acts due to the amount of time they have known each other, backed up by their strong presence on stage. It is thus to no surprise that they also delivered a flawless performance of their own that left the audience more than impressed.
One of the most hotly contested categories of the night had to be the dance category; the lineup consisting, perhaps unsurprisingly, of groups made up entirely of members from the Dance CCA. Do not be fooled, though, as all 3 groups delivered distinct performances that captivated the audience beyond their imagination. Iuris, consisting of petite J1 girls delivered a youthful performance that has ‘youth’ written all over it. A slow prelude soon transitioned to an upbeat show of twists and flicks that kept the audience at the edge of their seats, even cheering at the upbeat electronic music playing in the background.
Psyko’s performance was equally as upbeat as Iuris’, involving quick and sharp movements. In the process of introducing the group, the emcees hinted that there might be “boys twerking”. The audience were not to be disappointed, despite the supposed “twerking” quite literally only lasting a mere second in the spotlight, as the group managed to compensate with their largely in sync movements and choreography.
The final dance performance was without doubt the most aesthetic of all, featuring the group Reliquiae. The entire performance seemed to tell a story, featuring a constant struggle between the personas of both genders portrayed by the dancers in question. This was further emphasised by the contrast in the soundtrack used in the performance, between Sia’s ‘Chandelier” and something else which sounded like it was taken right out of an adventure movie. As for the J1 performers, they delivered with the same grace and poise as seen in the first performance of the night by their seniors, as well as evoking a certain intensity in their movements that kept the audience in suspense until the lights dimmed, signalling for the audience to give their rapturous applause.
The Vocal Soloists were without doubt the bravest group of competitors of the night, daring to face a near full-house crowd with only their voices to convince the hundreds of eyes gazing at them. Yet, they, like most of the other acts of the night, managed to hold their own and deliver jaw-dropping showcases of their formidable talent and, of course, nerves.
This was notable for Aida since she was performing an original, sentimental love song “I Don’t Know”. As it turns out, this is but one of many songs which she has written herself! Delivering the song confidently with emotions, it felt as though she is really singing it to someone, and this emotion touched the hearts of many. On stage with only herself and her instrument, she brought down the house with her powerful vocals and heartfelt instrumentals.
In addition to that, we also got to see the other side to Yeoshi. Normally cheerful in school with a perpetual smile on his face as Ursa House Captain, today we saw him strumming melancholically on a guitar whilst performing a soft version of Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon”. This earned roars of affection particularly from his House mates from Ursa who were understandably excited at seeing their outgoing House Captain on stage.
As for Lloyd, our other vocal soloist, it was a little easier for him to deliver his performance as he had a pianist accompanying him. He performed an emotional version of John Legend’s All Of Me (after a poorly concealed faux John Legend-esque backstory delivered by the emcees), earning enthusiastic cheers from the audience especially when a light shone on him during the chorus.
In contrast to the vocal soloists, the Bands took turns to charm the audience in their relatively larger numbers. Each band consisted of at least a guitarist, a drummer and a keyboardist, and we got to hear the three groups of the night present different genres of music that gave the audience a wide variety of acts to choose from as their favourite.
The first Band we got to hear was Ludic Squad, which presented a rather different rendition of Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You” (the non-explicit version, of course). They encouraged the audience to sing along with them if they knew the lyrics. The song began with a slow, almost jazz-like introduction that soon evolved into the familiar melody we all know and love. All this culminated into a memorable performance that was being talked about in school for the days to come.
Following up was the band, Burmese Bombshells — a popular band which has performed at numerous school events including Open House and Victorian Affair, and won awards at VOMG. They chose to perform an original song, “No Reason To Complain”, which was intoxicatingly filled with their feelings of passion. The choice of delivery was certainly a surprise as the moment the strobe lights came on, it was not on the stage. Rather, it was on the Performance Theatre door where Meg-Mel was. As she sang in her melodious and enchanting voice, she walked slowly with grace a round on the floor round the stage before. To summarise this act, it can indeed be called a bomb (pun fully intended).
The details of the third band were top secret and even their name was Classi5ed! Their act, though, has been declassified — they performed Sunday Morning by Maroon 5. In an interview with Luke, the drummer, he felt that the most difficult part of their performance was ensuring their parts were in sync with one another but once they got it down, he felt they did the best they could. As for their actual performance, he was satisfied with his group’s performance and though they did pretty well. And to their followers he expressed his hope they like their performance and to look forward to seeing more of them in the future.
Not forgetting the Bachstring Girls which were one of the special acts of the night, not categorised under the main category. Certainly, many Victorians looked forward to watching their performance due to their uniqueness. Their melodious music felt surreal and so enchanting to the audience and many closed their eyes appreciating the melodious sound as they played their instruments. In an interview with a member of the group, Estee Ng of 16S49 (the first violinist), she expressed that MusicFest was on the day after SYF, hence they struggled to juggle two events at once, but she felt that that was the fun in it. She added on that she enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere during performance for MusicFest as everyone was there to have fun.
And then came the music videos, which were certainly a key part of the performance which saw many submissions — but unfortunately only the best 3 were chosen.
The music video that melted many a Victorian’s heart was Standing In The Dark by StudioV: The Break-In Boys. It told a romantic story of how a male teenager sought to reclaim the love of his beloved with the aid of his friends. The touching plot showed the painstaking efforts of the main character and his friends in order to win back the love. The stunning visuals at the end, as well as the storytelling throughout, were so beautiful and touching that it brought a tear to many eyes.
Another interesting music video was Double Lariat. According to its producer, Jared Goh, it is a Vocaloid song which he feels deeply about. Unlike many other music videos it was an animation of countless drawings. It told the tale of a young girl’s journey in yoyoing and how she improved her skills through hard work (Nil Sine Labore anyone?). As the credits rolled down, many Victorians could not hold back their laughter due to the mention of his many tutorials skipped and teachers angered, probably because they could relate to him.
The third music video was titled “Roller Coaster”, a rather apt title as the plot certainly gave the audience a roller coaster of emotions. It told the tale of how the protagonist rushes to reunite with her childhood friend, she reflects the memories of past with her. A striking part of the video was how they both wore motorcycle helmets which represented the connection between them. (Writer’s Note: The music videos are available via the link tinyurl.com/TranscendenceMVs so you can watch them if you are interested.)
Certainly now, many would be wondering how did the Victorian anthem come about in this concert. Between acts, Victorians in the audience were asked to demonstrate their talents and the lucky man Park Jiwon (the 34th SC Vice-Pres) was nominated by his friends. As the emcee Frances asked Jiwon to sing the song she heard him sing ever so often, he was rather abashed but with prodding from the audience, he soon began singing and Victorians just joined on.
We interviewed a member of the audience Lim Thern Khai of 17S49 on give his thoughts on the night and he expressed “The epitome of the night is not the cheers of the crowd, but the hard work of those who perform their very best.”
Of course, what better way to end off the night but with the ever so popular teachers’ band? This musical band of teachers performed “Something Just Like This” and “Shape of You”. As Mr Najib invited Victorians in the audience to join them on the floor, only a few did so, to which he commented that it was the least hyped concert he had! Least hyped it may be, but it was certainly inarguable that it was a night well spent with Victorians grooving their body to the music no matter where they stood, and that concluded MusicFest 2017.
And the awards are as follows:
2nd: Manasa & Carissa
3rd: Supersonic Baes
2nd: Burmese Bombshells
3rd: Ludic Squad
1st: Standing in the Dark
2nd: Double Lariat
3rd: Roller Coaster
We congratulate all the winners of MusicFest and hope you enjoyed the show!
Tan Suan Kai, 17S49
Paul Sim, 16A13