Monday, September 06, 2010

Exposition - 5th Sept 2010

Xpose had its first 'major' performance yesterday evening. I qualify my use of the word 'major' - as Xpose had previously performed on numerous occasions, be it within campus, and outside of it ( we'd even performed in the Esplanade Concert hall ) - because it is the the first ticketed concert staged by this NUS alumni guitar group.

Just like Guitaresque did some years ago, when I first decided to take the group a small step further, by attempting a ticketed concert, Xpose finally made the leap. Of course, the risks associated with this performance was greater, as Liang Shan (as the founder, conductor, music director, coordinator..cum everything else) had to dig into his own pocket to pay for the rental of the Esplanade Recital Studio, where we staged our concert.
A good thing that the ticket sales went pretty well, considering we did not employ Sistic or any other ticketing agencies for marketing and sales. It was purely through our members own efforts and word-of-mouth.
In a way, I'd have expected us to fill a 200+ seater hall, given that Xpose had about 20 or so performing members. If only each member managed to sell 5-10 tickets, we would have already filled more than half the seats. Still, many of us were relieved to see a good turnout last night - which meant that LS should be able to cover his expenses. It would have been wrong to expect him to pay for the cost of putting up which turned out to be a pretty good performance by any guitar group in this country (or dare I say - region).

Of course there were the usual blips and mistakes peppered through out 80 min (or so) gig, but after years of performing and participating as an audience to such performances, I have learned that the players themselves are often the greatest critics of their own performances. I overheard one members uttering the word "disastrous" under his breath when we'd finished the concert and stepped back stage into the dressing room. And suddenly, everyone was talking about how bad we did; how terrible this-song, that-song was; how the Basses went "M-I-A" at some point; how the Primes went berserk and spunned horrible out of control when strumming; how the Percussion instruments and Altos went out-of-sync; etc. etc. (not to mention - how the MC pronounced Balraj's name as "Bal-J"! )

I guess it is usual for us to feel that we could've done a better job - which is a good thing, since that provides the extra push factor and motivation for us to improve - but based on some of the feedback I've received so far, we did well and definitely derserve a pat on the back for our efforts.

EP commented that her fav song had been Tedesco's Concerto - oh, she said she was "mesmerized" by the handsome Raj, all dressed by for this one! - as it felt like everyone was truly committed and enjoying the piece. Receiving the thumbs-up also, was Capriccio Espagnol - not so much for our technical display (which I have to say, was a little off-the-mark, to be honest!) but for its sheer excitement and energy, which made it a great choice as an opening piece.
The Mission also received decent marks, especially for our singing bit, which I guess gave most in the audience a pleasant surprise, given that most guitarists prefer to use their hands to do the talking, rather than their mouths.

Finally, I'd also noticed quite a few familiar faces amongst the audience last night. Many a Genus alumini turned up in support of Xpose's concert, which was really wonderful to see. I can't help but wonder if we'd managed to somehow inspire some of these ex-Genus players to dust-off the accumulated layer dirt/dust on their guitar cases, and pick up that instrument which accompanied them through their years in varsity... I certainly hope so, though I suspect some of these players still hold on to the belief that the Genus concert(s) back in their years were as good, if not better. Hardly surprising, since people tend to remember things relative to their own experiences at that moment in time. For instance, when I was a first year in Genus, I vividly recall how amazed I was to listen to GL play the Concerto in E Major (J.S. Bach) solo part. It was supremely difficult (to me back then) and I was simply in awe of some of the seniors' technical skills. Back then, the duet of Dominic and Clarence was also highly regarded as they dished out the Double violin Concerto in Dm (Bach) which was deemed as technically very challenging then. Today, when I listen to ZQ and D play the solo, the feeling is altogether different. No disrepect to either player (they're good players, no doubt), but it takes much more to fill me with the same kind of awe and respect for a guitarist then before. Case-in-point: As impressive and excellent as Raj is, as a solo guitarist, when he pulled off Tesdesco's Concerto last night, it did not "Wow" me as much as some of the seniors had in my initial years in Genus. But the truth is - many of us (Raj included, of course! ) are much better guitarists than we were back then...

Like I said, it's really a matter of relative perception. When you stand atop a small hill, the tall mountain suddenly seem not as high anymore... =)


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