Tag Archive: Choir


Convo 2010 !!

Was totally involved in the UKM’s 38th Convocation ceremony in DECTAR last July.

It was so crazy busy and this time as the Vice President of Artisukma Choir.

It was stressful to say the least.

But it was a lot of hard work preparing for it. The practices, the training, the problems with Pusat Kebudayaan, handling the committee, the new members, conducting auditions.

I was so glad when it was over !

But it was a rather emotional time for all of us, because there were many seniors who were graduating this semester. Seniors whom we were close to, who were really good friends. Sadddddd 😦

Enough of me talking, I hope to let the pictures do it ! 😀

 

Music, Speak To Me Now

Eugene conducting during Choir Concert 2010 !

After months of planning, meetings every 2 weeks…we successfully had our:

ARTISUKMA CHOIR CONCERT 2010: Music, Speak To Me Now

I was the Head of Programme for the Artisukma Choir Concert 2010 held on the 3rd of March 2010, Wednesday, Panggung Seni, DECTAR at 8.30pm.

At first, the responsibility of Head of Programme seemed pretty intimidating. But thankfully, I had the rest of the committee to help me out. We had meetings quite often to check on each other’s progress and updates.

Since last semester we have been planning, anxious and excited because, truth be told, this is our FIRST time conducting a concert !

Surprising, isn’t it?

So, why did we suddenly decide to have a Choir Concert?

We realized that although we were the university’s official choir group, no one outside of Convocation had ever heard us sing ! >.<

Every year, the university employs us to sing during the Convocation of the UKM graduates (and we actually get paid for it !)

But outside of Convocation, we do not really perform in public. Hence, the only people who see and listen to us sing are the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellors, all the deans of faculties, lecturers, parents and the convocating seniors !

High-angle view

We wanted to introduce choir music to the rest of warga UKM and hopefully instill a love for music and the Choir. In addition, we hope to stimulate the interest of several people to join the Choir as well 😛

As a committee member, I sincerely found it such a good learning experience to be part of the committee. There were many things that I did not know. Thank God for our President and Vice President, as well as the rest of the seniors who offered us guidance and support. 🙂

As Head of Programme, I was in charge of deciding the programme for that night. So, I liaised with Eugene, our Choirmaster on the choice of songs. We also decided to maybe include a few special items in the programme by inviting the Modern Music Club to perform with one of our choir members singing solo, the Chinese Traditional Orchestra to play a few pieces, and have another of our members do a piano recital 😛

After several meetings with the committee and after having confirmed with Eugene, this was the programme we came up with:

PROGRAMME FOR ARTISUKMA CHOIR CONCERT 2010

Folk Songs:

1. Arirang (Korean folk song)

2. Pokare Kare Ana (Mauri, New Zealand)

3. Rasa Sayang

Other Performances:

4. Piano Recital (by Leong Kim Ling, Ooi Siew Win and Lai Wen Teng as background singers)

5. Chinese Traditional Orchestra

6. Solo performance (Tie Ling Mei) with Modern Music band

Miscellaneous:

7. Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart classical piece sung in Latin)

8. Close To You (by the Carpenters)

9. Aku Bukan Untukmu (Rossa version)

10. Varsiti Kita (university song)

11. Music, Speak To Me Now (finale: theme song)

Presenting Artisukma Choir Club ! (Can you see me? *front row second from left*)

I found the planning part a bit stressful, but an enriching experience ! We discussed and had our ideas challenged and thought through. I felt this sense of belonging and working together towards a goal that was very motivating 🙂

Conducting the practice sessions were also rather stressful. Every week, the Choir met twice, once on Sunday and another day during the weekdays. There was only me and Shu Jun, the two pianists, to conduct the practices when Eugene was not around. Which was every weekday practice. I would be in charge of the warm-up, and then proceed to revise and refresh previous songs that we have learnt, and work on them until they were almost perfect. It was a tiring task for certain. But thankfully, there was Shu Jun to help 🙂

The rehearsals rehearsal (singular) was frightening, because we only managed to go once through the entire programme before it was Show Time >.<

So during the event itself, I was nervous and afraid. Will everything go smoothly? Will there be technical difficulties? Will we make mistakes? Will we sing well? Will I play the piano well?

Oh, yes. Did I mention that I was supposed to play the piano for the first part of the programme (folk songs)? >.<

We were all nervous standing behind the curtain in the dark. Everyone was huddled around, fidgety and anxious for the show to get started. We could hear the audience out there in the hall, chattering in anticipation.

Me? I could hardly breathe. I was going up first, as pianist. I was worried that I would make a mistake and spoil everyone’s hard work. I was worried I would make a mistake and ruin our first impression as Artisukma Choir Club ! That is a lot of pressure, to say the least. =.=

I wanted so badly to do great, and not let everyone down.

I had to literally tell myself to breathe, take deep, deep breaths. Tell myself,

“It’s okay, this is nothing, no big deal, I’ve practiced tons of times, this is a piece of cake….”

1-2-3-1-2-3 SINGGGGGG 😛

Finally, the show was starting. I walked out into the spotlight, followed by Eugene. We both took our bows before I took my seat at the piano stool. I cracked my knuckles and placed my fingers lightly on the keyboard, poised in position for the first chord of Arirang. I sneaked a look at Eugene, who gave me a silent nod and his hands and baton went down on the first beat of the song. I started playing.

Although I was extremely nervous and was terrified of allowing my nerves to get the better of me, I allowed the music to take hold of me, to relax and enjoy what I was playing.

I seriously thank God. Because I did not make any jarring mistakes and the first part of the concert went well ! 🙂

The Choir sang the best they could and we did the best that we could.

At the Miscellaneous section, it was finally my turn to sing. The second pianist took over from me, just as nervous as I was. I gave her a hug and told her to break a leg. She smiled nervously. But I knew she would be fine 🙂

Up on the stage, with the spotlights shining in our eyes, I could barely see the audience. In retrospect, I suppose it was a good thing. I focused all my attention on Eugene and his baton as he conducted us. I sang my heart out, watching for dynamics of soft and loud, and tried my best to smile despite how hard my legs were shaking from nervousness.

When it came to the finale, our Alumni seniors were asked to come up on stage with us to sing the last two songs: Varsiti Kita and Music, Speak To Me Now. Unlike many other warga UKM, I actually LOVE the university song. I find it one of the most beautiful school songs I have ever come across. The melody is soothing and sweet, and brings a feeling of nostalgic memory when you sing it, don’t you think so? 🙂

VARSITI KITA

Lihat kampusku yang tenang

Damainya alam ciptaan Tuhan

Paduan ilmu dan keimanan

Amal dan teori digabungkan

Lautan ilmu kita harungkan

Sumber ilmuan berkembangan

Inilah varsiti kita

Ditengahkan hasrat rakyat kita

Dari mula untuk semua

Bagai tanda perjuangan kita

Bangun berbakti membina

Memupuk insan jiwa bertakwa

Memimpin manusia semua

Kenal akan adat unggulnya

Membina negara sentiasa

Maju berilmu dan bahagia

Acting a lil' crazyyyy after the show XD

I also LOVE Music, Speak To Me Now. It is the theme song for our Concert, and coincidentally is the theme song for our Artisukma Choir Club as well. I feel that it embodies the love for music that we all share in the Choir Club. Music is in every part of our lives, music looks beyond all size and colour, and is certainly the magic that makes life worth living.

MUSIC, SPEAK TO ME NOW

Music is language we all understand

Music has wings it can soar

Music is strength and a gentle hand

All of these things and more

Music, speak to me now

I don’t want your magic to end

And music, speak to me now

Think of me as your friend

Music is magic, a flame burning bright

Music can open the door

Music is singing a voice in the night

All of these things and more

Music is a part of all of our lives

It makes our dreams come true

Music, speak to me now

I don’t want your magic to end

And music, speak to me now

Think of me as your friend

Music, you’re my friend

When we sang those two songs, together with the Alumni who added to our vocal power, I felt this strange sensation. I do not know how to describe it. But my heart felt full and happy, and I sang my heart out during the last two songs. It felt….different somehow, to the other 49574357934 times I have sung before. I felt a part of something great, I cannot explain it.

It truly was the climax of the night.

To hear the applause of the crowd and to know deep in my heart that we have done the best that we can, I could not help but look around the hall and feel immensely proud of everything we have accomplished.

WE DID IT !!! whooohooo~ 😛

This was our first Artisukma Choir Concert, and it was a SUCCESS ! 😛

Making Music

Singing is something that I have always done. Be it when I am about to sleep, while listening to songs on the radio, while I am driving alone, or in the shower 🙂

I do not know when my love for singing actually began. Maybe because I grew up a Christian, singing praise and worship songs during church service every Sunday, singing became a part of my life, a part of who I am.

In school, I was always involved in choir. First during my primary education, and then secondary education. Possibly because of my music background (I studied piano up till Grade 8 – the highest level before a Diploma), I was never merely a member of choir. I was also the pianist, the keyboardist, the arranger, the conductor.

Being a shy person, the one and only time I ever sang as a solo in public was when I wracked up all the courage I had to join the first ever “Mewah Idol” competition (which was a solo singing competition in my secondary school) in 2005. It was nerve-wrecking singing as a solo, although exhilarating to hear the cheers of the crowd and feel the adrenaline pounding in your ears.

I do not know how, but I won the title of “Mewah Idol”. 🙂

I was extremely proud of myself. So many times during the course of the competition I felt like quitting, like giving up. I kept hounding myself for having signed up in the first place. What on earth was I thinking? How am I supposed to sing in front of hundreds of students? My voice is nothing special at all !

But I managed to stick it through to the end, thanks to support from family and friends. 🙂

I seriously doubt I could ever do that again. At least I can say that I did, once. 😛
In the end, I was drawn back to Choir.

My most active years in choir were when I was in Form Two to Form Five. I participated in school level, district and state level competitions. We did not always win first prize (although we have managed to bag third place in the state level Music Festival) but as far as I remember, it was never what I chased after.

Yes, of course it would be great to win first and be revered by all the neighbouring schools within the district or state as a force to be reckoned with when it came to vocals. Yes, I would be extremely proud to hold that trophy or certificate high that says “Champion for the Choir category: National level”.

But what always drew me to choir was the fact that we make beautiful music together. In its separated four vocal parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass), the choir would sound boring, disconnected, or does not make sense. Many a time, listening to the Alto parts, or the Tenors practising on their own, I would frown. Why does it sound so weird? I used to think.

But combined, we sound heavenly. 🙂

Okay, not exactly heavenly. We were never that good. Otherwise we would have made it to the national finals every year like SMK Puteri, Seremban always did. Oh, how we envied them ! >.<

Ahem. Anyway, back to the point I was trying to make.

When all the four vocal parts combined, we finally made sense. And I would go, Oh, so that’s how it’s supposed to sound like !
The harmonies we made together sounded beautiful and, well, heavenly to a certain extent.

Me and my beloved Choir family 🙂

Through that, I guess I learned that choir, just like life, is not about the individual alone, but about working together with others. On your own, you may not amount to much, but together we can make beautiful music 🙂

Which is probably why, when I entered UKM, the first thing I thought of (after Minggu Mesra Pelajar and all those wajib events) was Does UKM have a choir? I was extremely excited to join, to be a part of the choir again, to feel that togetherness and sense of belonging I always felt singing with the choir.

Now, I am proud to say that I am a part of the Artisukma Choir of UKM. 🙂

Not just ‘a part of’ actually. I am also one of two Assistant Choir Masters, assisting the Choir Master (Mr. Eugene Ng Keck Chee) in whatever matters he needs assistance in.

Which basically means I am also the pianist for the Artisukma Choir. 😛

I auditioned in my first year, and got through without a fuss. Again, my music background placed me in an important spot – as future pianist and Music Director for the Choir. And that is where I am now.

Starting off as a first year, I was told I would be “groomed to be a pianist” for the Choir. I was going to be trained to take on the role of pianist and take over from the seniors. I had no idea how to start, never had any experience like this before.

But now, as a second year, I conduct weekday practices every week (when Eugene is not around) and lead the warm-up exercises every Sunday. I am a part of the Committee and help run the Choir. I played the piano for the Convocation Ceremony in front of the Chancellor of UKM in DECTAR for the first time last year (which was a terrifying experience >.<).

Despite the heavy responsibilities and pressure in Choir, nothing feels better than singing with many other voices beside you in creating music 🙂

Being a lil' crazeeee 😛

Choir, no, singing, is my life. It is something I love to do, and I hope I shall continue doing no matter what I do in the future. That my passion for singing will not fade and die away in the midst of busy schedules, appointments and other “more important things”.

Music and singing make life that much more colourful, beautiful and meaningful to me. 🙂