It has been many years since SYCES has had an overseas camp and this was our first. During the previous two years when we were in the choir, the camps were held locally and over a day. Moreover, this camp was going to be held over four days! Not knowing what to expect, we headed through the causeway with excited and slightly apprehensive hearts.
Pulai Springs Resort, here we come!
When we arrived at the resort, it felt pretty welcoming. After a pleasant lunch which relieved us of our hunger pangs, we headed to our practice room for ice-breakers.
The grand-looking practice room where we spent most of our time over the next four days.
First, we drew lots which had been printed with animal names and we had to look for our fellow group members, whilst being blindfolded, by calling out the sounds of that animal. It was fun yet slightly challenging because it was difficult to identify our fellow group members from the cacophony. Following that, we played more games where we learnt about the acceptance of failure, leading and following. Personally, as followers, we also learnt that if we have an opinion, it would not hurt to voice it out; we just have to be tactful while issuing them. As recipients of feedback, we have to be receptive and be conscious of our body language otherwise it may prevent others from being more forthcoming with their opinions. If the opinion is wrong or does not work, we should take initiative to seek for others’ advice and look for a solution that works for us.
We were redivided into groups and it was then announced that we had to perform a skit in our respective groups with the theme, “We Are Singapore”. After dinner, we went back to the practice room where Jen and Woon recounted the history of the choral scene in Singapore, as well as that of the SYC Ensemble Singers. We learnt that former conductors of the choir included Benjamin Khoo, who was also the founding figure. Also, we were in awe when we heard the varied repertoire that the choir had sung over the years. More importantly, we could tell how committed the members were, simply from the voice recordings. These recordings spurred us to be more responsible singers and to have greater ownership of the music.
The highlight of the night was when we were taught The Singapore Medley, which the choir, then known as the Singapore Youth Choir, performed more than a decade ago. It was amazing that several members who were already in the choir back then still remembered the dance moves to the songs and taught them to us. We had a quick song-and-dance tutorial, with the women using the scarves while dancing. Learning the song was a meaningful experience because we as current members were able to experience the history of the choir, and hence in a way become a part of that history. Later on, the senior members of the choir were presented tokens of appreciation for their contribution and dedication to the choir. It was a heartwarming moment. :’)
Learning the choreography of the The Singapore Medley.
Day two arrived quickly. We had a good morning work-out at the poolside, getting ready for our first rehearsal there. After breakfast, we headed for rehearsal for our coming concert (Have you bought your tickets?! :p). In the afternoon, we had several games where we discovered people who stepped up to lead, and also strengthened us as a team. It was evident that we left no man behind and worked together as one. Though not everyone was a natural leader, a follower was equally treasured. It was also heartening to realise that despite constantly being regrouped for the different games, no conflict arose and everyone worked harmoniously. Nonetheless, there were things to improve on, such as listening to instructions and executing them properly, and to be more caring towards one another. Soon, evening came and we continued with rehearsal, attempting to apply what we had learnt from our games to our role as choristers. We also played some games that helped us understand ourselves better with regards to our ability to focus and our spatial awareness as part of our warm ups.
Carefully carrying the tin and balloons to the pail so that they would not drop.
Playing Human Foosball!
The next morning, we repeated the cycle of activities from the previous day. By the morning rehearsal, it was evident that we had learnt to be more active members of the choir, be it in terms of helping to listen out for others or improving on our own voices. In the afternoon we had more team building games, where we built up our communication skills and trust. We also learnt not to repeat mistakes. With that, we ended our three-day team building sessions and continued with practice at night. By the end of rehearsal, though there was (and is) still room for improvement on following and executing instructions, we did progress as a group.
On the last day of the camp, it was time to showcase the hard work everyone had put in for our skits. Over the past four days, our respective groups had cracked our brains as we met up during allocated time slots as well as before and after rehearsals. Now, we were going to perform for everyone. The hour we spent was crazily entertaining; each group was simply witty, making use of the items that we had brought that reminded us of Singapore and inserting National Day songs wherever appropriate into the skit. Pictures speak more than a thousand words, so here are some that we have collated!
Soon, it was time to leave. Though it was a short four days, the camp was an enriching one and we are really grateful for the experience. The absence of distraction during this period of time was truly a blessing. May we continue to apply what we have learnt from the camp in future practices and also in our personal lives!
Our hearty meal before heading back for Singapore.
Pulai Springs Resort, we will always remember you! ❤
-Charlene and Siew Lin-