Monday, October 22, 2012

My Expressions (Part 3)

"When marimba starts to play
Dance with me, make me sway
I can hear the sounds of violins
Long before it begins..."

Originally composed by Pablo Beltran Ruiz, Michael Buble's version is my favourite which is why I've included it into the concert repertoire.
It's exactly 1 month after the concert but the songs are still lingering on my mind.
The idea of holding an orchestra or symphonic band concert was once crossed my mind during my high school time when I was leading the Music & Choir Club but it was mere thinking since there were no music instruments and other resources.
I've never dreamt of I'll be organising one during my university life.
Indeed, it was the 3rd event that I've been chairing in my lifetime.

Nevertheless, this time was kind of different that I was not only working at the backstage but performing on the stage too (which was way busier compared to the previous events in which I only need to coordinate everything behind the stage).
In other words, there were enormous tasks to do and time spent on organising, practising and associating with guest players.
It was another level of time, stress, human resource and crisis management I would say.
I'm glad that organising this concert has provided me another platform to expose with all kind of challenges and deal with people (not only among members, crew and even external parties) from all walks of life.

The theme of this 3rd TUSO concert was dance, which was initiated in my mind and proposed in last year.
Current generation are of anime & video game addicts and hence, it's inevitable that there are suggestions of anime & video games theme, not to mention Disney and movie theme.
Considering that it seems like a norm that most of the orchestra & symphonic band play those aforementioned themes, and perhaps, the audience might be kind of getting bored with it, I've decided to go on with my idea.
Yeah, whenever people heard of 'orchestra concert', classical music with hypnotic magic tend to spring up in most of their mind.
In order to captivate the audience throughout the show and for players' pleasure, I've came out with a selection of famous dance repertoire ranging from classical to pop songs, adding with some spice - featuring dancers on the floor when the music plays.

Selections from the Nucracker Suite by Tchaikovsky
Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson
Csardas by Vittorio Monti
Anitras Dance by Edvard Grieg
Waltz No. 2 by Shostakovich
Por Una Cabeza
Sway by Pablo Beltran Ruiz
Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms
Carmen Fantasy by Pablo Sarasate
Chicago from Chicago Movie

Receiving compliments regarding the repertoire selection especially when it was the main attraction for them coming to watch the concert was such a great pleasure.
It was not an easy task as there are few factors that need to be take into consideration: difficulty level, availability of scores, popularity, availability of instruments/ players, duration, genre and price.
Though the proposed repertoire was initiated since last year, the finalised repertoire was only out few weeks before the concert.
In order to reduce the cost, I've searched all over the Internet for free scores.
Well, in fact, not all the songs are readily available for orchestra and certain instruments.
Thus, I've transcribed & arranged some parts for string and some other parts, note by note.
Thanks to the advent of technology, music notation software has enabled me to get the scores organised and present in a more professional way.
Thinking back, it was really time consuming.
Wonder why was I so determined and consistent in doing these. lol

with Ms Faith and the committee

Actually, I'm very thankful that the years of my experience holding posts during my high school life and community band that have equipped me with some basic knowledge on getting things done.
One thing that I've realised quite similar with my high school: MBSSKL & Taylor's is that... there are a lot of standard of operating procedures!
Basically there was no position in the executive committee list that I have not been assigned to.
Yes, including minor posts such as assistant secretary, assistant treasurer (though I really dislike dealing with money-related chores), music librarian, conductor (nah, not for orchestra & symphonic band) and as normal as an ordinary committee member aka AJK.
Of course, being an idle member wouldn't benefit in any way.
Uh oh, I was sort of active in extra-curricular activities those days (yeah I know it's hard to believe when I am not that kind of out-going person and don't speak much) with crossed posts in a few organisations and societies which made these possible.
In addition, working in some event companies has given me some rough picture in dealing with external parties e.g. suppliers & prospective sponsors and the flow of the event.
Besides, I was very lucky to have club advisors: Ms Faith from Student Development Hub, Ms Suja and even seniors + founders: Sunny Chew, Daphne Kua & Siosen to guide us throughout the period.

 with Sunny
(spot the photo bombs!)

In fact, Sunny purposely applied work leave and returned to Malaysia from Macau just to lead and conduct the orchestra with his mentor while Daphne came back to Malaysia deliberately from Aussie to support TUSO.
Undeniably, there were times where I was so stressed out that I nearly collapse, both physically and mentally.
Glad that they noticed about it and gave me strength at the nick of time.
Apart from that, I was very fortunate to have a bunch of musician friends whom I've personally invited to enhance TUSO.
And yeah, most of them are music teachers and even lecturer!
I feel touched upon knowing some of them applied for work leaves just to come for the rehearsal.
A few of them shared their experiences with me and pointed out some problems that they have observed so that I was able to rectify it.
Moreover, I would like to thank my friend, Woon Leong, the conductor and band director from SKY Band who lent us the crash cymbals and bells at the eleventh hour since the instrument that we have on hand was found kind of defective.

 with the guest players...

There was an utmost crucial issue that I realise in the organising team: it's vital to get the right person to do the right task.
This concert may appear to be successful in the eyes of the public but tell you what, most of the teams in the organising committee were way behind schedule regardless of whether the assigned person is an exco of the club or normal member.
This was still happening no matter they were given deadlines and being explained clearly of their job scopes few months prior.
As a consequence, we were rushing like never before with tremendous pressure at the last few weeks before the concert.
Brainstorm is a sure thing.
The concert was nearly unable to run as scheduled.
Human factor.
The aftermath of not being able to meet the deadline in this situation even though there was only 1 team can be fatal, to be frank.
True enough, Chris, the co-organiser was once said that it was our fault of getting the wrong person to uphold the task.
It was real saddening when one breached your trust on them.
Also, there were some internal issues arouse among the committee members that were kind of heart-breaking which caused some barriers in carrying out the tasks.
Anyhow, glad that it was covered up without affecting the performance quality during the concert and settled after that.
I bet most of the members did not aware of that until now.

Another significant key is communication.
Good communication is essential in not only conveying message but promotes bonding among people.
It is of importance to have a strong committee to run an orchestra concert or a big-scale event successfully.
It was never a one-man show.
Ms Faith is right, the situation was very real that it was very similar to what we will be facing at the workplace.
Nonetheless, I noticed some potential members in both administration & performance aspects upon delegating responsibilities to them which is good for the club in a long run.
They really did a great job.
Also, I'm very grateful to have a team of people collaborating and helping out in making this concert a success (yes, including the 2 dance clubs!).
I truly appreciate some members and crew who contributed for the club though they were not able to make it for the concert.
For instance, Kit Shen, the official photographer of the club who purposely came back to uni just to help and take portrait photo of every single performer even that was just a few days he left in Malaysia before studying abroad at UK.
it was really hard to take photo with him as he was always be the one capturing the unforgettable moment behind the lens

Della Kueh, the creative designer who was supposed to play with us in the concert too but have to forgo the chance upon being swamped by assignments and clashing of class with the concert hour.
Yeah, she was the person behind the awesome designs of the concert from crew tag to poster!
Also, there is one more person who should not be forgotten: Teng Hooi who helped to transcribe the parts for orchestra, note by note using software from a condensed score with tiny printing on it.
In case you don't know, he is now studying at US since last year yet still aiding TUSO in whichever way he could.
TUSO is still able to play the piece at some other time though it was not being able played in the concert, and perhaps when he's back to Malaysia for break?

taken during the 2nd concert: Russian Roulette '11

Of numerous sponsors that I've contacted, I'm very grateful to have few sponsors replied my request (it's very normal that these days, many people are complaining the slow economy and so on).
Guess what, 2 of them even became the main sponsors of the concert!
What a big relief for me and for the orchestra!

thanks for coming!
opps, there are some others that I can't get to take photo with...

Of course, not to forget my family and friends who came all the way far to come and support the show!
Especially my parents who care about me.
There were times where I must have chinese herbal every night and high dose of vitamin C to ward off sickness (no, I can't afford to fall sick at the critical period), leaving campus at 10pm+ and don't even have time to take a proper meal thoughout the day (which caused my gastric to riot), not to mention sleepless nights.
It was my parents who have back up plan for me though I don't really get to see them.
Ah ha, must not be forgetting my coursemates especially See En who helped me a lot in my academics!
Without their help and consideration, I doubt if I was still able to proceed with my studies that smoothly.
And, a big thank you to my double bass teacher, Mr Chan who sacrificed his dinner time in order to slot me in to his hectic teaching schedule.
Otherwise, I wouldn't be to play the double bass on the stage.

with Mr Chan

As a matter of fact, it was a tough time for me of going through all these.
I apologise for any action or word that may offended some of you.
I hardly put a smile on my face usually, not to mention when I was in a stressful period.
However, I'm very thankful to have all of you who have been being with me in pulling through all these and contributed towards the success of this concert.
And yeah, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger!
It was truly a fruitful experience though sacrificing month of my semester break and even applied leaves from work.

Anyhow, the end of the Expressions concert signifies the end of my 7th year being the president/ organising chairperson.
It's time to let go and focus on what I really want and of course improve myself besides catching up on what I've left behind.
Likewise, restore my health.
Well, it's a misconception that most of the people thought that I'm a full-time music student when Taylor's don't even have a music faculty at the moment.

May TUSO prosper and soaring high!

meanwhile, watch the sneak peek of our video captured during the rehearsal (yeshh.. the music was played by us!)

With ♥,
Kit Yee
Organising Chairperson
Vice-President TUSO 2011/2012


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