Music for the Community, an outreach initiative organized by Sembawang Wind Orchestra (SWO), saw the bands of Yio Chu Kang Secondary School and Chong Boon Secondary School come together to perform at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on the afternoon of 25 November.
Despite the inclement weather, the crowd of families and friends braved through an hour of program to catch the bands perform James Curnow’s ‘Down Under’, Luc Gistel’s ‘A Music Park’ and the all-time evergreen favourite ‘Abba Gold’.
“The idea for a joint performance came about as there are many Yio Chu Kang Symphonic Band (YCKSB) alumni playing in SWO. Also, it was an opportunity for the members of Chong Boon Concert Band to perform with YCKSB before the two schools merge next year,” expressed SWO’s conductor Joshua Kong, who is also an alumni of YCKSB.
The outdoor performance marked the end of a two-weekend exchange between SWO and the school bands, which exposed the younger students to an environment where they learned from the mentorship of SWO players.
“Apart from geographical reasons, there are strong links between YCKSB and SWO. SWO’s previous music director, Mr Desmond Ng, had conducted both bands, while I used to play in SWO. It was a natural fit for us to collaborate with SWO in this program, and an inspiring experience for my students to participate in the combined band,” said Tan Yao Cong, conductor of YCKSB.
“Getting schools involved in our program allows their students to learn from the more experienced players and make new friends. As for our own players, it is a channel for them to pass down their music knowledge to the younger generation, and also inspire them to continue to play music even after their school years,” Joshua said.
Having worked with schools such as Dunman High School, National Junior College, Presbyterian High School, Republic Polytechnic and Woodlands Ring Secondary School in the past, such community projects are no stranger to SWO.
“As SWO seeks to deepen its engagement with the community, we are always looking to reach out to school bands and young musicians who have a keen interest in music-making to join us in music exchanges, masterclass sessions and casual arts presentations outside of their normal curriculum. We hope that through this partnership; SWO will help instil a diversity of musical creativity, whilst improving on their musicianship as players,” said Yeo Cheng Fu, SWO’s orchestra manager.
“After all, it is SWO’s continued mission is to be a centre for musical activities and musical aspirations to all walks of life. It also aims to become a semi-professional ensemble and musical ambassadors of the Sembawang Community Club,” he continued.