Chrysonance – an amalgamation of “chryso”, meaning “gold” in ancient Greek and “sonance”, meaning a sound, or a tune.
This vocal group, comprising of Cleon, Nicholas, Brendan, Michelle, Azure and Ye Won, features the wonderful harmonies of six voices soaring as one to create the perfect melody.
Acapella groups are uncommon, and are a rare sight at Musicfest. But this year we are fortunate enough to have this group of talented individuals perform for us on the big stage. Acapella groups are different from ordinary vocal groups, for they have to rely solely on their voices instead of having instruments to accompany their singing. In the case of this group, however, that’s no issue, for almost all of them were from their respective secondary schools’ choir. Brandan, being the exception, is now in VJ choir himself. With their background, harmonising is second nature to them, being able to meld different pitches together to produce a sound they can be proud of.
The idea of an acapella group was first born during the IP Orientation, when Nicholas, Brandan, Azure and Ye Won, along with some other friends, performed together during IP Initiation Night. The four had so much fun performing on stage that they wanted to do it again. After searching for more members, Chrysonence was born. They got in touch through friends of friends, and they have been practising hard almost everyday to prepare for Musicfest. However, it was not always been smooth sailing for them.
“When we first met, we were very awkward… We didn’t really know one another, and needed to bond before we were able to sing together well. Initially it was quite weird because we didn’t really know one another,” Cleon candidly revealed with a grin.
It was frustrating for everyone at first, for when it came to making decisions on performing, even little things, such as song choice or formations, became difficult and took a long time to settle – because the group wasn’t close.
“Yeah, everything took a long time to decide… Mostly because if we disagree with someone else, we don’t want to offend that person, so we don’t really say what we want to say at times. If we were close from the start, we didn’t really have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings,” Nicholas chimed. But, despite the challenge of not knowing each other, they persevered and kept trying different things. While experimenting with song choices over numerous sessions of practice, the group soon bonded.
“We just kept laughing at Brandan to make things less awkward.”, Cleon revealed with a grin. Everyone laughed (except Brandan, who just rolled his eyes).
“No, but seriously, we all just really wanted to perform well together. When we joined Musicfest, it wasn’t really to win. We joined for fun. We wanted to enjoy it,” he added later. Despite the group’s focus on fun, they have also been working very hard to prepare for Musicfest.
“It’s really stressful on stage,” supplied Nicholas. “If one person messes up, well… We’re all basically done for. It is very obvious if one person is off-key, even if it is for just a moment. It will kind of sound like crap,” he bluntly pointed out. This difficulty, however, has also helped them come together as a group.
“We have to rely on each other to execute our individual parts correctly. We started to trust each other more too.”
Nicholas was very conscious of this, as during the semi-finals, his microphone didn’t work properly. It was a nerve-wracking experience for him, but the group managed to pull through to the finals to perform on the night itself.
“We were very worried before the results, as we were rather unprepared… Even an hour before the semis, we were still finalising certain things,” he recalls. If anything, their semi-finals performance is motivating them to do all they can to ensure that their performance for Musicfest will be perfect. After all, they have dedicated so much time and effort into practising. Ye Won is very excited to perform and show VJ how far the group have come.
“That satisfying feeling of coming together and achieving something together… That feels good. We want to put up a good performance, better than the semis, and achieve our fullest potential for Musicfest.” It has been a long journey for them, and the auditions felt daunting. But all of them put in a lot of effort to make it happen.
“We constantly met up to practise. We put in a 110% for this… And all of that effort will not go to waste.”
We also asked them about their future aspirations for Chrysonance.
“We hope to be better than Pentatonix one day,” Cleon half-joked. “For now, we just want to do the best we can for Musicfest.”
The group have certainly put in the effort to make their performance a success, putting aside time to practice despite all of their other commitments (like Project Work). As the night draws near, they can’t help but get more nervous. However, if anything, that only makes them work harder to put up a good show. We also asked them if they would like to say anything to the Victorian community before Musicfest.
“We hope you all enjoy the performance!!” Azure smiled.
Adam Ahmad Samdin, 15A14
Ah yes! Zenith is right around the corner, and everyone is on their toes. While the students with the privilege of watching the annual performance are at the edge of their seats, shaking in anticipation for the big day, our Zenith finalists are in quite the opposite situation right now. They are glued to their seats, spending these precious days left to perfect their acts. Be it nailing those lyrics down, ensuring their pitch and harmony are on point or being in sync with the beat, they are doing their very best and putting in truck-loads of effort to blow the audience away, and give them a night to remember. However, besides looking forward to the spectacular day, and briefly knowing the faces and names of our finalists, what more do we know about them?
Recently, I sat down with one of the vocal group finalists – Deux – just to have a little insight on their story and Zenith journey thus far. Having watched their semi-finals performance, I was simply starstruck by their duet, which I must say, sounded like it was played right off a CD! The smooth angelic voice of the singers backed up by infectious beat and rhythm of the guitar had made the hair on my body stand on its end and my feet tapping uncontrollably to the upbeat tempo of the song. It has certainly left a good impression on not only my friends and myself, but the judges as well, seeing as they had almost effortlessly breezed through the preceding rounds. Like a crazed fan meeting her idols, I had a long list of questions prepared for Deux, so without further ado, here are all the things you need to know about the duo!
For starters, the two-member vocal group consists of Hu Xin Bei (16S47) who sings and Yan Xiao Zhi (16S51) who sings and plays the guitar. When asked how they found each other, they revealed that they had initially asked other scholars if they too, were interested in auditioning for Zenith, only to receive no response. But with a hunger for showcasing their talent, the two had decided to go ahead regardless, and eventually formed a vocal duo. As the saying goes, good things come in pairs, right? Standing out amongst the other vocal groups, the pair had decided to be bold, and perform a romantic Korean piece – the same piece which earned them a spot in the semi-finals in the first place. Xin Bei, a first time performer, had apparently sent out a whopping list of 20 to 30 song choices for Xiao Zhi, who is more experienced in the entertainment scene, to choose from – after much consideration, they came to a consensus to perform this very piece. Performing a song in a foreign language is definitely not easy for non-Korean speakers like Xin Bei, who is Chinese. Memorizing the lyrics was in fact quite a feat for her, as she actually needed the guidance of Chinese characters to figure out a language that was completely new! On the other hand, you could say Xiao Zhi has had a much more effortless life than Xin Bei. Being half Korean, speaking the language was second nature to him. In fact, he was so comfortable with the language that he could even rap at supersonic speed without getting his tongue in a twist or showing a hint of hesitation. Apart from that, the duo left a deeper impression by shying away from the norm of simply singing. They had creatively incorporated a short skit at the beginning of their performance, wanting it to come across as more of a musical.
The duo went on to explain their choice of music genre. Romantic songs are no doubt a big hit among teenagers; the idea of falling in love sets off a flutter in our stomachs, and a warm glow in our hearts, and this was their strategy to appeal to the audience! In fact, by the end of their performance, Xin Bei and Xiao Zhi hope the audience will be filled to the brim with sweetness, or to put it metaphorically, as if they were sitting right in the core of a warm marshmallow.
Like every other group, there is a reason or motivation that drove the pair to sign up for Zenith in the first place. Xin Bei, who aspires to be a singer, wanted to join Zenith as a platform for gaining experience. After all, a future star would have to start somewhere, so what better way to do that than to showcase her incredible talent to hundreds of her peers? On the other hand, going by the words of international popstar Ed Sheeran before every concert: “…my job for the next 2 hours is to entertain you, your job is to be entertained”. Xiao Zhi’s main goal is to put up a good performance and give the crowd a good time, most likely by blowing them away with his slick guitar skills- honed within a mere two years. Of course their performance couldn’t have been an impromptu one, especially since it was a duet, where coordination and harmony is key. When they are not having a joint practice session, Xin Bei and Xiao Zhi individually carve time out from their studies to build up on their skills. Both find time for practice on a daily basis, with Xiao Zhi gliding his fingers effortlessly across chords and practicing complex fingering patterns up to roughly an hour a day, at the same time working on his harmonizing, which was previously deemed by judges to be ‘too thin’. The comment initially caused him to be insecure about his singing, and constantly worry about dragging Xin Bei down with him, which could have cost them their spot in the finals. This exlains his persistence in setting his vocals straight. His partner similarly improves on her singing with every chance she gets, particularly in the shower where she is relaxed and in her own world. Being an avid toilet-singer myself, I must agree with her, that there is no place better to hone your vocal skills than the toilet.
When competing against intense rivals, most performers are bound to have cold feet, especially when they are about to go on stage. I however, was most impressed to see that Xin Bei and Xiao Zhi were as cool as a cucumber- almost like they were in any another practice session. When I went on to ask them to share their secret on getting rid of stage jitters, they shocked me by revealing that they were actually freaking out on the inside and were not even close to being cool! Their hands were cold and shaking, and their minds were preoccupied with the fear of running off timing. Nevertheless, they tucked their fears away, put on a brave, collected front and did what they did best. Despite the downside of behaving like two cats on hot bricks before every performance, performing does bring along its own long set of perks as well. For Xin Bei and Xiao Zhi, they get a kick from knowing that the audience are appreciating their all-out effort and talent. Knowing the crowd is having a good time also puts them at ease and spurs them on, as their sole purpose has been fulfilled.
Well, there you go folks, all you need to know about Deux before they take the stage next Thursday! Fair warning though, be prepared to be dazed and get your pants charmed off. You are in for night of raw talent and a whole lot of love…
Megan Chor, 16S31