It is now 2.38 AM, 17 August 2013.
4.5 hours after the end of Convocation 2013 and the start of a brand new day. I wonder if it is the Panadol dosage I had given myself at the start of the day and the middle of day, 4 pills in all; 2000mg worth of paracetamol, or the residual high from performing at the Convocation, or the underlying headache I have experienced since the day before (which thanks to the pills, the pain is block momentarily), or Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night I heard while showering, or the combination of the above that I cannot sleep; that leads me to reflect on the performance the Choir had earlier on…
For Convocation, Jimmy specified us to perform Mapalian. A piece that I knew by heart ever since competing in Prague, Czech Republic; a piece that the most of the rest of the performing members of the Choir knew for Sopot Mundus Cantat Festival this year. I resented it. I resented it for its gamelan scale; I resented it for the numerous flats and sharps I made; I resented it for lasting for so long in the repertoire. However for the same reasons, I like it for how it shows the continuous growth of the choir. With each performance, the song had evolved along with the choir. Mistakes were identified and corrected, even at the last possible moment. From the stiff actions we had for the dance that Adil choreographed for us, to the fluid movements that we make now; from the initial fears of changing the blocking on stage and stumbling over the moves, to immediate adaptation of the choreography to suit the changes.
Despite much misgivings and apprehension, we managed to pull it off. Except for a few suspicious notes, everything went well. We gave our best, we delivered the song with our utmost sincerity. We were ecstatic at the end. Only the stage discipline that we all could muster kept us from cheering wildly over our success in the backstage. I didn’t show much expression, but inside me, I felt, “At last, it is a job well done!” Seating from the bandstand, Kenneth remarked that he could hear the gamelan scale, and it was refreshing to hear and see the choir performing such piece. It was a piece worthy of the success kid meme.
Performance after performance, it went well. We cheered for each other in our holding rooms. With each daring formation that SMU Flare displayed; with each move that Caderas Latinas and Indancity flaunted; with each note that SMU Voix belted out, we cheered and we clapped. When the groups returned from the stage, we congratulated them a job well done, shook heads and patted their backs. Such camaraderie lit up the entire cast and the crew. At the end of the final tweaks involving the guys from Go Fly Kite, Jimmy gave his final words on there may not be another opportunity for each of us to perform on such a stage with such great support, both technical and logistical support; there may not be another chance to perform with the same cast, or even the same members within the CCA; there may not be another opportunity to perform in front of a large audience turnout. Unless we decided to pursue a professional artistic path in the future.
His words struck me only now. After graduating, I may not continue to sing. I am already feeling the strain of working life with all the part time jobs I have now during summer, what’s more when I start work proper? And this performance may be the last grand performance I perform in before I graduate. The second and the last. The first was to sing in the IOC Opening Ceremony years back when Singapore hosted the IOC and gained the bid to host the inaugural YOG. Nonetheless, the exhilaration I felt at the end of the finale is a feeling that I will always treasure. I will miss the time, though short and intense, rehearsing and perfecting our acts and transitions. I will miss how everyone would stand up for each other when Jimmy made an example of some groups for not singing along in the finale act during a rehearsal by singing together when they were supposed to do it solo. I will miss the times when we making harmless fun at the same lines, same tunes again and again. I will miss the other performing groups, even though our interactions with each other was limited. My only regret is not knowing the other performing groups more.
I do hope that everyone in the audience enjoyed Convocation 2013, despite the corny lines and acting that were put into the show. It is the best Convocation so far. I hope that it is memorable for the freshmen and they remember the warm welcome we gave to them for years to come. I certainly can’t remember mine nor the two others that I had to sit through as a FTB facilitator.
As what Jeffrey conveyed to us through Jimmy in the afternoon, we certainly took everything to a new high.
Image taken from: Singapore Management University Facebook Page