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.
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 🙂
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. 🙂