5(+1) Reasons Why SYCES is My Home. Truly.

Time sure flies by in a blink of an eye: It has been 7 years since I first joined SYCES. Still remember very clearly my date of entry: April Fool’s Day, 2007. “What has kept me so long within the choir?” – A question very often asked by people close to me. Well, let me reiterate the reasons again, but with a slightly different twist. I dedicate this Buzzworthy-esque blogpost to my fellow SYCES friends and also to all those in the choral fraternity. I am sure at least 1 of them will resonate with you guys. (:

1. I get to SING lots of awesome songs.

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Fire songs? Count me in!

2. It brings me PLACES. Like, both locally and overseas.

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Solfege in Arezzo, Italy

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S Y C on the cobbled stone streets of Torino, Italy

3. I get to MEET and SING together with people from other countries.

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It’s a Gaia, ACS & SYCES parteh! *\o/*

4. We are serious about our FOOD. Like, seriously.

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Our usual after-concert pig-out at Lau Pa Sat. SATAY!! *drools*

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How about a change of environment at Glutton’s Bay? STILL GOOD!

5. We love our WE-FIES! (or at least there are people willing to humour me)

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Those were the days when selfie pods were unheard of, and actual selfies took a certain level of skill. xD

Bonus Point:

Did I mention that off-stage, we are just a crazy and fun-loving bunch of people at heart?

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– songern –

We are Singapore, We are Music Makers, We are Family.

            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.

Rehearsal

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!

Lumber Hwan

Intensify

Best

Green Team

           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-

Smile! You’re on candid camera.

Ever wonder who that lady photographer is on concert day?  Ever wonder who and what she photographs?  Ever wonder how we look in concert?

Here’s a sneak preview …

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And here’s the rest … 2013 SYCES Black & White album

Oh, and one more thing … at our next concert, say “hi” to Kian Yan.

Enjoy!

Black & White

Life on the brink. Death having a drink in la taberna. Black horses and a blood moon. Omens and messengers. Ephemeral angels and an immaculate heart. A Unicorn is Captured and the Lion is Triumphant. And so it goes: from words and symbols on a page, to sounds chasing sounds in the studio, in my head. To a parade of sights, real and imagined, behind my eyes.

A word and a song can become a strange and powerful thing in the face of Imagination. The following are but a poor representation of inner and outer worlds in which I roam in preparation for Black & White.

– Hillary

Imageand so he took his wings, and fled (from The Angel, William Blake)

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Three days long, the lion slept til the King awakened it with a roar. (from Engelberg Codex 314, Unicornis Captivatur)

Imagethe heart feels like an island in the infinite (from La Luna Asoma, Frederic Garcia Lorca)

Bored?

Then perhaps you haven’t tried this.

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1. Go to http://www.syc.org.sg.
2. Click on “make music!” at the bottom-right hand section of the page.
3. Follow the instructions. Watch. Listen. (Sing.) Create. (Laugh.) Be Inspired.

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Click on “View other tracks” at the bottom-right hand corner of the page for more (s)In(g)spiration!

And while you’re at it, check out new photos in our gallery, read about past and upcoming performances, and find out what new pieces of music we have premiered recently. Or simply move the cursor around our members to enjoy their many and varied facial expressions.

Come and play!

– Your SYCES web elves – 

Turin in Twelve

While struggling with a lukewarm chicken pesto pizza—not unlike Proust’s madeleine—during a mid-week office party, I was beset by a tide of remembrance of a more recent past, ruminating on images of carefree traipsing around small Torinese cobblestone lanes, magenta Europa Cantat songbook in one hand and a cup of crema di Grom in another. These were more genteel times, I thought nostalgically, setting out to type this post. (The real reason: was beset by gentle reminders/chiding to complete this blog entry!!)

As a sort of inferior nod to Eric Bank’s Twelve Flowers (a brilliant, demanding composition that we performed for the Due North concert in September) here are twelve dispatches from an unforgettable summer of song:

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Europa Cantat Torino – 28 July 2012

Hung from the ceilings of the arcades that lined the Piazza, the Europa Cantat Torino banners defined choral terms and displayed scores.

Like most choirs who love to sing, we couldn’t help but stop before every readable score to sing.

Within a 10-metre stretch, we must have sung at least 4 different scores – an English canon, an African spiritual, a Gregorian chant and even a Renaissance motet. It was like a singing galleria.

In no time, we had passers-by, shopkeepers tagging along our little parade, listening to the music.

SYC Ensemble Singers – we’re ready to sing anything, anywhere. (NO, this is not our new tagline, but it kinda sounds cool.)

– Debbie
28 July 2012.