By Jacq Hanna, Orchestra Conductor and Middle School Music teacher, Dover Campus
The circuit breaker measures, introduced by the Singapore Government during the Covid-19 crisis, was no barrier to our students coming together in virtual performance, while remaining safely socially distanced. Our musicians wanted to share their love of music and bring joy to many people during this most difficult time. The students surpassed the boundaries and isolation of the lockdown period by creating video recordings of their individual orchestral part, which were then compiled and shared within our community, family and friends, bringing delight to numerous people.
The following four of our string orchestras participated in and shared their virtual performances:
The Chamber Players
1) Libertango by Astor Piazzolla, arr by James Kazik
For Astor Piazzolla, tango and life were inextricably linked. Libertango represents joy and hope as he had recently left the heavy handed, ruling regime of Argentina and started a new life in Italy.
2) Introduction and Fandango by Luigi Boccherinni, arr by Stephen Chin
The opening is an introduction to the crowning Fandango, a high-spirited Spanish dance for two people.
1) Concerto in G by Antonio Vivaldi, arr by Stephen Chin
Vivaldi worked at a school for orphaned girls. His music is full of joy and hope providing a stark contrast to the everyday life of the students.
1) Dance of the Tumblers by Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov, arr Sandra Dackow
From the SnowMaiden opera, this piece creates a light and uplifting mood as it is the accompaniment for the clowns and acrobats in the story line.
2) Flight of the Furies by August Nolck, arr by Stephen Chin
This lively, exhilarating piece represents the Furies (female deities) from Greek mythology.
1) Click Go The Shears, arr by Stephen Chin
A traditional bush ballad detailing a day’s work for a sheep shearer, sung with great enthusiasm while socially gathering.
Read below for what students and parents had to say about the experience of performing virtually.
"Music is an integral part of my lifestyle and I am very grateful to be able to continue sharing my joy and passion for music. In times like this where people are isolated and easily demotivated, I think that it's crucial that we explore new ways to come together and by carrying out these virtual ensembles, it has enabled us to create and share such spectacular music. Over the course of these months, I have come to realize the true power of music as a source of a deeper connection whereby allowing one another to truly connect." – Eugene 10 TiP
“Even though we couldn't physically meet for rehearsals, I was glad that we could still connect by creating and sharing music from our own homes through virtual performances. Seeing different parts slowly come together as a whole led me once again to appreciate our teamwork and passion behind making music”. – Grace 11 JAH
"The virtual orchestra experience was extremely fun – interesting, but fun nevertheless. I enjoyed being part of this new method of playing instruments without any physical presence. This will be an experience that I will never forget." – Soomin 8FRC
"This experience was really one of a kind and I really enjoyed it." – Gwyneth 8MTR
"Music provides great company and comfort to my son during the lockdown period. The virtual orchestra helps my son to connect to the orchestra members and the outside world out of isolation. The preparation brings continuity and order to his life as he would usually practice with his orchestra every week. The music-making experience and the recordings will become priceless memories for my son to cherish. He hasn't missed the annual performance. Instead, he's got an extra one that is more special. If COVID-19 has told us that life is a box of chocolates, the virtual orchestra has helped my son to stay positive and make the best out of life. Que Sera Sera. We have enjoyed it, anyways.” – Diana, mother of Ari 7NBL
“Music making has been one of the activities that has given us much enjoyment and the children a sense of purpose over the last few months.” – Dipanwita, mother of Ranvir 6JOM
“The virtual orchestra is very enlightening and recreating the 'community' in the new way. We are very happy to listen to the virtual orchestra and see familiar faces especially practicing violin is the sole activity for Kota during SB period..... Thank you!" – Taki, mother of Kota 7JDO