Sunday, March 05, 2006

Of Genus, mitosis, and Japan (Part 1)

What has Genus got to do with mitosis and Japan?
Well, apparently, quite a fair bit. Especially given the recent run of events.

First, life in Genus has been 'interesting' recently, to say the least. With the concert up in a weeks' time, with stress levels of some individuals going up a notch due to the heightened sense of urgency and anticipation, you'd expect fireworks and gunpowder to feature in rehearsal sessions. Events of last Saturday was a classic example of such a scenario.

However, it is clear to me that many senior players were already unhappy with the way things were, way before the concert deadline drew closer. In fact, things were not sitting too well ever since... yep.. the changing over of conductor for the ensemble. Mr Alex A may be getting on in terms of years, and he may never again have that kind of energy and spirit to leap and jump on stage (as he did when i was still in my early years in Genus ) , BUT to many of us, he is still a figure we respect and loved, as a kind mentor, a patient teacher and most importantly, a friend.

The new conductor - Dom, certainly fitted the bill in terms of his qualifications. Afterall, how many persons in S'pore can you find, with such impressive credentials as :
1) Degree in Music (Guitar)
2) Winner (1st) of guitar competition
3) Have experience as a conductor of an ensemble in CFA (albeit a not-so-good one lah..)

To me, last year (2004-2005) was not a good gauge of things, as Dom came in almost half-way thru', and Raj and I had already fixed certain repertoire for the year. So, all he had to do was to take over the pieces and bring them up to performing standards. Not that it was tough, given that he was dealing with the Performing Orchestra back then. But even then, after a time, word got around... irritating style of conducting ensemble, doesn't do his 'homework', hence changing his mind every other practice, shouting at people during rehearsals, etc..etc..
Result? Some seniors decided - it was enough. They left.

Those who remained probably felt like me, give it one more year. Maybe all he need is time.. things may get better.

Looking at this year's concert repertoire and the general feel amongst many of these players, i would have to say, it might have gotten even worse. 2005-2006 was always going to be tough for Genus, made more so because of the extra concert that we had to prepare. Although.. it has to be said, that HAD Dom listened to feedback, he would have sent teams of competent small groups to play for the FR concert, and focused on the Arts Fest (R&R) instead. But no, we had to prepare 2 separate repertoire for 2 concerts, spaced 2 months apart. Well done...

Add to that his decision to almost 'scrap' sectionals completely in the initial period, saying that sectionals were a waste of time, and all that was needed was for SLs to work out fingerings and somehow pass them on to members. And viola! Everyone should be able to play together during ensemble! The result? We lost truckloads of the better 1st years, as there werent enough sectional sessions to gel them, and to make them feel a part of a team.

The formation of the small-ensemble was a form of a 'relief', away from the dry repertoire, away from the cramped style of conducting, basically away from Dom.. I believe it all started from the performance at the Guitarist Network last year. I think everyone who played felt pleasantly surprised that actually playing together with like-minded peers of more equal abilities could be much more rewarding. Certainly i felt good playing interesting pieces, and feeling that the 2 hours spent each week was worth the time. It was efficient, it was rewarding, and most importantly, it was fun!

That was when it struck some of us.

Mitosis - the process by which a cell separates its duplicated genome into two identical halves

What if... we could form a alternate and separate entity, under the flag of CFA (bo-bian, since we need the Niibori guitars), and play and perform in our own concerts???

We could play our own choice of pieces, our own arrangements, we could accept only players who have attained a certain level of technical ability, and who shares the same kind of passion for guitar ensemble playing as us. And all these, without the interference of a conductor whom we cannot work with.

To be continued....


Blogger snowparang said...

Well mitosis may not be entirely accurate. It is not the reproduction of a similiar cell...rather mutation, or even 'retrograde' of the current cell into 'stem cells' i.e. back to the roots of Genus.

And yes, the 'senior alumnis' is the nuclues and carries this DNA.

The thing is, will the old cell die, since the nucleus and DNA are gone? Or rather do we care? hehe...

btw, only those with bloger account can wanna set it for others to comment as well?

10:30 PM  
Blogger Hiong Gai Gai said...

yah, its not strictly mitosis per se. haha. the two resulting cells are certainly not very similar, in our case.

But i dun think the old cell will die out, given its ability to adapt. In fact, it will probably just go back to its original roots, which is before the "mutation" started :P

* have changed settings so all can comment. Thanks for the tip! *

9:20 AM  
Blogger Wai said...

Sigh. Let's not forget his brilliant choice of 1 piece for the first 3 months. I think that had a lot to do with the juniors quitting too.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

best regards, nice info »

7:12 PM  

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