Thursday, July 31, 2014

Russian Extravaganza

Last night I performed for SNYO's concert, Russian Extravaganza!!! Well, it was only for the Shostakovich piece but still it was really exciting for me because it was my first time performing at the Esplanade!

I've always wanted to perform at the Esplanade since I was a Secondary 1 band girl, attending my seniors' Limelight concert. Unfortunately, I never got the chance till, until Dr (Leonard) Tan asked if I would like to fill in for the contrabassoon part in the Shostakovich for this concert! :-) So many thanks to him for giving me this opportunity hehe.

***slight digression here***

I just wanted to add this bit because I think it is worth mentioning!

So as I said earlier, I really really wanted to play at the Esplanade since forever, and even took part in MTDC so that I could perform at the Esplanade for the graduating concert like the batch before me. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, we didn't manage to book the Esplanade concert hall for the MTDC graduation concert a.k.a. unfulfilled Esplanade dreams. Throughout my four years in St. Marg's, we performed at Singapore Conference Hall, ACS, Kallang Theatre and all sorts of places, but not Esplanade so I was kind of disappointed.

I sort of resigned myself to being an Esplanade-virgin for ever, until my tutor (Mr Awyong) texted me, asking if I wanted to play 3rd bassoon for a concert with the Orchestra of Music Makers (OMM)!!! I was really excited about it, but didn't reply immediately because I wanted to see if my schedule would allow me to participate in it.

Then, the most amazing thing happened. About twenty minutes later, I received an e-mail from Dr Tan asking if I "was up to the challenge" to play the contrabassoon part for this concert with the SNYO! The rest is history :-)

I guess my point here is that after five years of (uh) patiently waiting, I got not one, but two chances to get what I had wanted for so long (rather crude way of putting it, but I'm not very good with words). It may seem like a coincidence and "no biggie" but I am truly convinced that it is God answering my prayers and opening these doors for me. God does hear our pleas and we just have to wait for Him to unveil His plans for us!

Yup, this was just something I thought was nice to share :-)

***end of digression***

Concert prep

SO, as I was saying, I was only playing one piece for the entire concert, and the shortest piece at that. It did seem a bit like an inefficient use of time but I have no regrets whatsoever. The experience of learning and performing on a new instrument in a few weeks was thrilling, to say the least. I've never even seen a contrabassoon in my entire life and then with only an hours' lesson, I'm left on my own to figure it out! It was really fun and I did enjoy playing contrabassoon because the sound is so so low and beautiful hehe. Qing Kai once told me I sounded like a bass trombone! It even has valves to empty saliva from, and the best part is there is no corked joints to twist and turn and maul!!! Hahahaha :-)

It was quite stressful at first. I remember the first-ever SNYO sectionals session I attended, I forgot the fingerings for most of the notes, and could hardly play a thing! I was so embarrassed when the conductor leading sectionals singled me out (though he had good intentions I'm sure) and I kept apologising for being a burden but I think that was articulated very well because according to Qing Kai, I sounded like a mega weirdo :(

Things got better after that initial terrifying experience, and I started to get the hang of the instrument! :-) Though I still fumble a bit now, it's much much better than my first and second attempts, phew!

Concert day

I skipped assembly with the other SNYO players in Raffles and left school after lunch! I didn't know there were that many Raffles kids in SNYO haha. Apparently they also got SNYO legitimised as an official CCA, and even got the Team Raffles polo T-shirt printed for SNYO!!! I really want one as well hahaha but I don't think they ordered enough because I just joined recently. :( They are really friendly people and it was quite easy to talk to them! Except, well, I kept having this sense of *~*~*~*~* and gah okay I shan't elaborate about that it's kind of a mood-damper.

We reached the Esplanade just a bit before reporting time and lepak-ed in the dressing rooms for a bit, getting changed and warming up (not me lol my instrument was backstage!) The clarinets-bassoon room was locked so we crashed the flutes-piccolo-oboes room, and I got to meet some of the SNYO woodwind players. They are quite a bit older than myself (20s?) so I felt a bit awkward as I'm not very good at ~socialising~ with adults. Small talk I can do, but to really make friends with them, it's a bit of a challenge for me.

After the run-through of Shostakovich was over, I went back to the dressing room and found Ashley there! I knew him through YS rehearsals and we are friends (I hope) so I hung around with him and his friend Benny while waiting for dinner! Benny was one of the three soloists that night so we got to crash the soloists' room! It isn't very much bigger but it has lounging chairs and huge mirrors all around! It isn't every day you get to go to the soloists' room, so of course we had to document it, haha!

We played Mini Mix on Ashley's iPad for a while then just lepak-ed around the room, being obnoxious and annoying while Benny practiced! It was really fun and I'm quite glad I got the chance to talk to these super ~zai~ musicians if not I would always have the impression that they are cold and unfriendly HAHA!

Look at them diva mirror lights!!! Okay, the normal-people dressing rooms do have these bling-bling lights as well, but still...

(It's quite annoying how many of my guy friends are prettier than me lol)

After what seemed like forever, the concert repertoire was all run-through and ready for performance! So after dinner, the woodwinds (I think) went for an ice-cream run at Marina Square! They all seem mature and old at first but once you get to talk to them, they are actually all such jokers and really really twisted too haha! I bet Qing Kai I could fit the entire vanilla ice-cream swirl into my mouth at a go (I couldn't) and it sparked off a really warped conversation about all sorts of strange things hahaha. All in good fun!

Selfie in the dressing room during the Mendelssohn piece! It was a really lonely half an hour :( At least I got some bio done, haha!

After the intermission, my parents and Jamie told me there were a few empty seats near them, so Ashley and I wanted to see if we could get into the concert hall and watch the Tchaikovsky suite live. Turns out we couldn't because we didn't have a ticket/a proper exit/time to make a proper exit. So we settled for being backstage audience! I pulled a chair in front of the television that televised the performance with Julia and a few of the SNYO teachers-in-charge (/???)

Julia was my senior in St. Marg's, and it was a real surprise meeting her again in SNYO! We weren't particularly close in secondary school, but it's still great to see familiar faces and also catch up on what's going on in her life! I think she's the only one pursuing music from her batch, though! :(/:)?!

It was a really long performance, and the audience kept clapping in-between movements! I guess we should cut them some slack, since most of them are school kids/not ~music~ people and wouldn't really know any better as they may have assumed the piece was over. The worst, though, was a smatter of applause after a long holding note, even though the chord progression was very obviously still unresolved!!! That was...hahahaha oh wellZ

Anyway, after the concert, we took section photos/dressing room photos and then ran out to meet family and friends!!! (I saw Wei Ze and Xiao Feng enter the hall late because of their matchy-matchy bald heads and white uniform hahahahaha!) It's really nice of Wei Ze, Xiao Feng and Jamie to rush to the Esplanade after band to support us, despite Xiao Feng's burden ankle haha (he sprained it that morning). :'-)))))))))))))))))))))

bassoons and clarinets!

I didn't ask any of my other friends to come though, since I was only playing for a grand total of 7 minutes haha. There'll be loads of other opportunities!!! :-)

(never trust guys to take a photo haha)


My pretty braid for the concert!!! Many thanks to Audrey who helped me braid it even though she was half-asleep hahaha :-)))

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