Blogging this while everything is still fresh in my head and the areas around my eyes are still dark from smudged eyeliner LOL. (Seems like I’ll need quite a few days to get it off…) ME 2014 brings back memories of huangcheng days in JC, but the experience I got out of it was indeed different from what I had from huangcheng.
I remember how it all started – I had wanted very badly to be in the cast, but got rejected eventually. Thinking that I would join props eventually, I was indeed surprised when I received a text saying that I was in chorale. (like I seriously can sing meh?!) I remember sitting around awkwardly during our first meetup in EEE building. And then I remember having to make the ultimate choice, between ME and a really major choir concert in Winchester that commemorates the 100th anniversary of WWI. I absolutely got it when Chorale team admin told us how he shuddered to see the size of Chorale go down rapidly in the first few weeks of training; because I was one of the numerous who had wanted to leave at first.
Eventually, however, I decided to stay in ME, because I reasoned with myself that it’s the companionship and heart-warming sensation of having accomplished something with fellow Singaporeans that I desire more, rather than the thrill and honour of being in a national event. So that started the entire juggling process. I remember how my voice would be raspier on Fridays because of the 4-hour non-stop training sessions every Thursday. And nearing performance, we would always run off from choir prac halfway to join Chorale for voice warmups and rehearsals. It was indeed rather tiring (for my throat especially), but I love how we simply had fun in every single training session. Every time Bennett nags at us or starts ‘disciplining’ the troublemakers among us, every time we poke fun at our vocal coaches, every time I go siao with the other girls in Chorale, every time Jason demonstrates how to sing properly and then we reciprocate it with our terrible voice control (LOL), there is always something new to learn, something new worth remembering.
Then in January, I was asked to be a minion (our informal way of addressing calefare for regular gangsters in the two gangs). Back then my decision was very simple: if I am needed, why not? Acting is fun anyway 😀 The training, however, became way much more than that. Being a calefare means that I had the chance to be trained alongside the main cast, and I saw the dedication of the directors and cast to perfecting the performance. I got to know more people in ICSS as well, seniors and batchmates alike, some of whom had gone through numerous MEs before this. And seriously, how would I know I would be irreversibly minionized through the minions training? (especially when the actor for the gang boss of our gang had proven himself to be indeed a king of minions. And we even created our own minions greeting HAHA.) Of course, more roles in the drama means more training sessions, and more stay-in-school-until-11pm days. It was fun nonetheless, and I had enjoyed every minute of it.
The last 2 weeks leading up to the performance was indeed when I saw everything falling into place. All the teams coming together, fixing problems as they cropped up during full rehearsals, having to practice ‘hiao’ dance moves for our roles, repeating the same scenes over and over, practicing stage discipline, etc. This was when we started getting visibly shag. There were times when we would starting suaning, about the endless training and tiring schedules, about technical glitches, about lights and sounds (from external clubs) not doing their job properly. And when the news hit us that ticket sales were not going as well as we hoped for it to be… well, I could feel the atmosphere in chorale go a little sour after our team admin said that to us. Like huangcheng and any other drama production, this crucial period in the production timeline is bound to be the most tiring and most revealing of the individual’s negativity; but we learnt to deal with it and press on.
And finally, the actual thing, just some 8 hours ago. I don’t remember being particularly nervous or emotional during the final rehearsal. But when our director gathered all of us, got us to close our eyes and hold hands and recall the bittersweet memories of ME preparation, I could practically feel the emotions rushing through me. The very knowledge of the fact that everyone had worked long and hard for this day nearly moved me to tears. That was the very moment I knew I had made the right choice to choose ME – I saw the companionship and unity I experienced 3 years ago in huangcheng, the concept of legacy with our seniors guiding us through the tough times, and encouraging us to make ME better every year.
What I particularly like about being in Chorale is that you’re not just singing, you’re singing as a group. So other than reducing the pressure on you (since you have 3 or 4 other singers to cover you when you go out of tune LOL jk), you get to work on the harmony with your fellow singers as well. And that was what I saw right before our first song in the performance. The typically-confident ones among us started going through all the steps backstage, and panicking a little at the idea of singing in front of the mic. But then again, we were singing as a group, so why fear right? The moment came, and we did it – we sang our hearts out and did our dance steps with gusto, complementing our lead singers in a way that we could not find even in our full rehearsals.
4 months of hard work, 2 weeks of avoiding fried/heaty food, a week of staying in school till 10 or 11pm everyday – all distilled into 2 magical hours of awesome performance. When it was time for curtain call, I understood the feeling of 掌声响起来, one of the songs we sang in the performance. Standing there with your friends who had battled on alongside you all this time, receiving the applause from the audience – that feeling, is pure magic.
Now that ME is over, I am indeed in a sense of loss. What should I do to fill up those rehearsal days? I am not sure how I want to move on from here; I might want to join more clubs and societies, or try something adventurous (like gliding). But when time comes to start preparing for ME 2015, I may want to return to ICSS and contribute as a senior, depending on whether I’m needed. Not sure if I want to do that for real (Year 2 is seriously no joke), but it remains a huge possibility.
All in all, two words – thank you. Thank you ME 2014 for the amazing journey; for improving my vocal range and pitching, for letting me know friends whom I won’t let go easily from now on, for irreversibly minionizing me, for giving me the euphoria of accomplishment, for giving me a sense of home ❤
Thank you guys, for an amazing ME 2014. <33