Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Genus - Expose ~ A beautiful Sunday!

It was quite simply, a wonderful performance.

The Beautiful Sunday concert, held at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 13th Jan 2008, marks the first time the NUS Guitar Ensemble (Expose) has ventured onto this world-class performance stage. And it certainly turned out to be quite an experience for the 20-odd members who had the opportunity to showcase their music and guitar talents.

Speaking from a performer's point of view, it has to be said that the usual mis-cues and wrong notes/timings were abundant. Afterall, none of us were full-time (ie. professional) musicians. In fact, the bulk of players were working adults holding full-time jobs in their respective fields. The rest were undergraduates from NUS, playing guitar as a hobby. The one thing which connected us was - we are all members of GENUS, past and present.
Yet, despite all the individual errors and hiccups, the music that was presented to the 1000+ audience who turned up (just my estimation, since the full capacity of the Concert Hall is 1600+) flowed along with a kind of confidence and fluency, which I have not experienced since the "original" Expose performed at the then newly launched National Library forum some 2 years ago.

I will always remember that brief performance we had at the library, which was part of the Guitarist Network event organised by the Toa Payoh Guitar Club and its associates. Not only was it a good outing in terms of the experience and strength of the players who played in that "A-Team" then, but also the camaraderie between the players was strong - the spirit was one of mutual respect and belief. Simply put, you have the utmost confidence that the fellow beside you knows his stuff well, and that each one of you is a good player in his/her own right. I truly enjoyed playing in such a group of equals.

Back to the present....

The current cohort of players in Expose arent too bad either. Owls has managed to recruit a bunch of up-and-coming younger players who have proven that they too are able to rise to the occasion when it is required of them to do so. To be absolutely honest, I had at one point decided to stay as an on-looker, rather than to play in a ensemble where I had to constantly worry about the music breaking down, and wondering if the fella sitting beside me knows what he is doing. That has not happened during the practices and rehearsal we've had prior to this performance (although there were times where I got a bit bek-chek at certain players who constantly make the same mistakes week-after-week. But even those were occasional and infrequent). Certainly, credit has to be given to the conductor, Owls for being extra patient and making the extra effort to work out the notes & rhythms with the weaker players outside of the group's rehearsal times. It has paid off handsomely!

The 1 hour long concert was significant to many players in the group, also because not many of them had have the experience of playing -continuously- (ie. in every piece) for a performance. Besides players from my group (Guitaresque) and several other more 老鸟 players there, many had only previously played in Genus concerts where they were playing 3-4 songs at a go, at best. There were always breaks in-between, due to small groups performances and such.
But this time round, it was 1 solid hour of non-stop playing. So in that sense, it was also a "breakthrough" of sorts. (though I suspect many of us felt that even 1 hour was a little too short! haha)

Watching the concert on video again last night (yes, the DVD is out, guys! ), it is easy to fall into a little sense of self-admiration and arrogance - thinking that we are perhaps the best Niibori-styled guitar ensemble in Singapore (dare we say "in the region"? ). Certainly, no junior colleges or tertiary (or for that matter, public) groups can perform at the level which we did. Still, that should have no bearing on what we are currently embarking on, and that is - to continue playing together and enjoying not just the process of making good music, but also (and to me - equally if not more importantly) the bonds of friendship and camaraderie as fellow guitarists/musicians in a closely-knit group. That said, it would be great if the group is able to achieve some kind of formal recognition, be it in a regional guitar ensemble festival/competition, or in a high profile music event. That would be my dream...

Till then, I will definitely look forward to more fun-filled sessions with Expose in the coming weeks.
Using the motto of my alma mater - Auspicium Melioris Aevi (trans: The hope of a better age )

p.s. Next up: Final Fantasy VII medley!! Woo-hoo!


Blogger Yen said...

DVD is ready? I want one!

12:22 PM  
Blogger Wai said...

Oi. Upload leh!

9:17 AM  
Anonymous melly said...

I also want!

8:12 PM  
Blogger sinarita said...

I am from Taiping, recently My guitar's song book has been published " popular chinese guitar hit volume one " Want to share?

8:30 PM  

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