Wednesday, February 27, 2008

GENUS 2008

To be honest, I cant say that this has been one of the more enjoyable concerts that I have been involved in over the years.

Yes, it is the first time I have attempted to transcibe a major classical work for the guitar orchestra ( featuring 4 soloists no less ). It is also the first time I attempted to play a concerto soloist part (somehow it has eluded me all these while). It has also been a while since I'm attended a GENUS concert where I am -not- part of the audience watching the presentation and being a self-appointed critique.

Yet, despite my involvements in the concert, there has been this sense of "disconnection" to the going-ons in the ensemble. It is as if I am merely a spectator rather than a participant. An 'outsider' rather than a 'stake holder'. Somehow, I keep thinking of myself as a guest player, invited to perform in a concert which I have little regard for.

I wonder if it is a sign that I have over-stayed in GENUS? How, in the first place, did I manage to stay on for the past 14 years since I've first joined as a blurry-eyed junior?

After the initial excitement of playing guitar in a ensemble, it became clear to me that it wasn't just staying for the sake of the music. After all, I hardly think we've made that much progress as a performing group during the 90s era. It was always a case of good players graduating and leaving the group, followed by incoming freshmen, and our performing standards would vary according our "luck of the draw" that year (ie. whether we would get some really solid junior players joining, or simply a bunch of beginners). But I stayed on after graduating, very much because I have formed a strong bond with some of the people whom I've come to know well over the years of playing guitar together.

Becoming a regular alumni mentor led to my initial appointment (by CFA) as a part-time tutor for the group. I remembered Nancy - AD and group liason officer at that time, inviting me to her office to offer me the position. I quickly roped in Kar Mun to serve as another tutor. I think he lasted 2 years(or was it 3?) before deciding that his "social life" would suffer because of his involvement with GENUS. His departure led to Raj being appointed as the follow-on tutor to guide the group. And so it has been for the last 7-8 years...

Come to think of it, my reasons for staying on for the last few years has been also partly due to the formation of the now-defunct MASAK, and subsequently the excitement of playing in an "all-star" Alumni ensemble - EXPOSE! Even as Guitaresque provided most of the impetus for me to continue playing the classical guitar in an ensemble environment, EXPOSE! has opened the doors to new challenges in terms of Niibori guitar orchestration and performance. Something which GENUS has not been able to provide for the last decade, since the players are always changing and the performing standards fluctuating as a result.

While EXPOSE! has lived up to its earlier promise of playing some good music and boasting stronger players in its ranks, I cant help but think that one day it may also suffer the same fate as GENUS - ie. losing more and more of its initial batch of good players, to be replaced with "new blood" who need years to reach the same level of technical competence as their predecessors.... I definitely hope that it doesnt happen that way, and that the "founding" members continue to stay on, thereby maintain and improving the group's music progress.

Back to GENUS...

I guess part of the reason for my recent lost of interest would be due to the one major change in my life recently. Becoming a father has definitely turned my (and ping's as well) life upside down. =P Priorities are totally changed now, and we have to give up much of the lifestyle we used to enjoy.

It remains to be seen whether I can still remain fully engaged with GENUS's activities in the coming year, working towards GENUS 2009 concert. But faced with my involvements with Guitaresque, EXPOSE!, Guitarissimo as well as learning the cello, I suspect something would have to give...

Only time will tell.


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