Antonia Vivaldi, Alexander Borodin, Benjamin Britten.
One’s an Italian, another a Russian and the last an Englishman. They spoke different languages, lived in different centuries and have never met each other. (probably)
Yet what do these three have in common?
A burning passion for music. Well… apart from their strange surnames of course.
Trust me, I’m no violin virtuoso. I can’t play my viola half as good as my concert master plays his violin, I don’t execute beautiful solos <insert viola joke> and to be completely honest, I barely pass my practical exams.
But what I do have is a passion for music.
And that’s exactly what the philharmonic orchestra is: a place where I can meet other people who play music with as much passion. It’s something that you don’t often see in student orchestras nowadays, it’s something that I take pride in being part of. And if you haven’t experienced playing or listening to a passionate orchestra, let me tell you there’s not many things that bring greater joy and satisfaction.
But orchestra, to me, is also much more than that.
It’s where I grew as musician, from being that violist in the last stand who kept making stupid mistakes to the violist in the first stand making slightly less stupid mistakes. And yet, whenever I do make those mistakes, I was never faulted for them, and always guided by friendly seniors, teachers and conductors to learn from them and improve.
It’s where I made really good friends, those that I can trust, and talk to about classical music and not get judged. It’s difficult to imagine how you’d even communicate with each other when you’re playing your instrument, but you’ll realise soon enough that music connects people in ways words cannot. We also do exchanges with other school orchestras where you can meet other musicians and learn from each other.
It’s also where I made great memories. The committee plans great activities every year, such as our annual orchestra camp and even informal outings. I mean, I didn’t ever think joining orchestra would mean I get to go ice skating and bowling with my cohort mates, or run around Sentosa finding clues for an amazing race, or even play touch rugby after rehearsals!
But most importantly, orchestra is also family to me. I still talk to seniors for help on IAs, EE and assignments and we even have alumni who come back and help coach us or even compose pieces which we play. I know that even after I graduate, I will be welcomed warmly whenever I stop by to visit.
So, you could be a grade 3 cellist, an accomplished violinist, or a lousy violist like me. You could be Chinese, half-Indonesian or even Korean. But what we have in common is that we’re part of an orchestra with a burning passion for music.
Written by Jang Jun Woo