Pássiönato!: Choir and Chamber Music Orchestra 2020

After a yearlong of waiting and anticipation, the Music Society (MUSSOC) finally dropped a come-back with their greatest annual event, Choir & Chamber Music Orchestra (CCMO), on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2020, and this time with a blazing, fervent theme – Pássiönato! The team has been pouring their hard work since last summer and the outcome did not just pay off, drastic improvements were also observed, and the performance quality had been amusing throughout the night. While producing music pieces based on a specific theme might be challenging and difficult, the performers did not fail to present a rather well-rounded variety of songs/musical selections, which has, in turn, brought much enjoyment to the crowd. Good moments often do not last long but allow us to bring you back to that magical night! 

Good times, High Spirits, and A Passion for Music 

The evening was brought alive by one of Disney’s most celebrated song Be Our Guest, performed by both the choir and the orchestra with a special guest, Danish (drummer). With the soloist, Yong’s deep resonant vocals and the red roses that he gave to some lucky audience members, MUSSOC has successfully created an atmosphere that made us felt welcomed, like an honoured guest about to embark on a magical, and melodious, journey for the night ahead. Swiftly stirred into the mood of serenity, the orchestra brought us the theme song of the Japanese anime Senko no Night Raid 1931Mirai E… (To the Future…). The choir then carried on with Oceans (Where Feet May Fail). Ranked as the number one Christian song of the decade, the team attempted a beautiful rendition to the song with just a piano and a four-part harmony. The performance was remarkable, especially through its lyrical content and the song ended with some ad-libs by the female soloist, Hazel Priscilla Thompson, which added another sense of passion to the song.  

Orchestra performing Mirai E… (To the Future…)
The choir singing Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

Moving on, the following two songs have also further established an atmosphere that immensely motivates the spirit of endurance and persistence. Scenes from the tragic romantic film, Five Feet Apart came rushing in. That was how good the orchestra had presented the theme song Don’t Give Up on Me. As an additional effect, the soft-coloured lightings provided a tip of enhancement to the spatial distribution of the performance.  

Orchestra performing Don’t Give Up on Me

While melancholiac sentiments remained, the ensemble has fluidly brought a light-hearted mood into place by performing a song by the well-favoured girl group Twice, Heartshaker. The K-Drama lovers were even hyped up when the choir took up the challenge of singing and rapping for the soundtracks of the television series Goblin. They did a commending job in a mash-up of the two songs Beautiful and Stay with Me, as reflected in the audiences’ warm reaction. The event had quickly completed its first half by presenting the British rock band, Queen’s successful synth-pop single Radio Gaga. Invited as a guest performer, the electric guitarist Tristan should also be marked as the highlight with his masterly-played solo part. 

The choir and orchestra performing Radio Gaga

A Mayhem of Medleys

After a 15 minutes intermission, the event continued. It started with another piece from the crowd’s all-time favourite film, Spirited Away – Itsumo Nando Demo (Always with Me). The resonance of the bowed string instruments never failed to evoke our childhood memories.  

Whether or not it was in conjunction with the live-action remake screening this year, a Mulan Medley was performed by the choir, and it surely was well-received by the audience. The medley started off with the iconic song Reflection, with Jasmine Sia giving the audiences an emotional and beautiful solo. The choir’s harmonization was subtle and just enough to lull us gently into the familiar scenes in Mulan. The medley started to pick up as they sang Honour To Us All which they blended and transitioned to the zealous rendition of I’ll Make A Man Out of You. The choir did a fantastic job conjuring not only the famous montage of Mulan and the other warriors learning how to fight and ‘be a man’ with just their vocals, but also evoking the visceral spirit of warriors in the audiences.  

The audiences were still indulging in high fighting spirit when the choir threw us into the hungry waves of a dangerous sea with an acapella to some of the notable theme songs from Pirates of the Caribbean. The choir were all dressed in red, white, and black; the boys even had red headbands that resembles Jack Sparrow’s. Much of their time and thought must have been invested on this piece as the vocals were intricately layered, almost mimicking an instrumented ensemble.

Following the two medleys, was yet another medley. But this time, with an unexpected twist— a Meme Medley. The evening had taken a humorous turn, with a short skit to segue-way into the whimsical performance of viral “meme songs”, such as Baby SharkVanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles, and YMCA. The audiences were amused, and laughter filled the hall that night. The audiences were urged by the emcees to sing and move along as well, and they did! Especially when YMCA peaked at its chorus, some people on stage pulled out cardboard letters as the hall started chanting “Y. M. C. A”. The cardboard letters were even arranged out of order, presumably on purpose, to create a “meme factor”.  

Orchestra performing YMCA

The orchestra then performed Believer by Imagine Dragons. As it was purely instrumental, especially due to inclusion of violin, cello and harmonica, playing the melody had added a dramatic flair to the song.  Midway through, the pianist was allotted the bridge to showcase her awe-inspiring talent. The audiences were so thoroughly impressed they hooted and clapped. As a closing act, the orchestra was joined with the choir to perform One Republic’s Love Runs Out. Upbeat and youthful, the song made all of us move along in our seats, ending the night with a bang. 

The night finally marked its end after encountering a rollercoaster ride of passionately emotional performances. The selected theme was well-preserved with a collection of various aspects of passion such as love, family, relationships, religion, and country as well as self-goals. Also, not to mention the incredible consideration for detail, ranging from the lighting and decorations to fun little gestures like giving out flowers and encouraging audience interactions. All this had amped up the audience’s experience. Although the repertoire this year heavily focused on songs that are well-known and could be categorized under pop songs, that did not cease us from enjoying the performance less. In fact, the rounds of applause had proven that the audiences were indeed touched by their passionate performance. 

Organising Committee: 

  • Chairperson: Alvin Gan Kai Wen 
  • Marketing Director: Lee E She 
  • Creative Officer: Celine Chin Si Ling 
  • Head of Event Coordinator: Tan Ying Syuen 
  • Treasurer: Mah Shuo Ze 
  • Event Team: Jeremy Chua Wei Xiong, Tan Shu Hwey, Shirley Kwan, Fatima Luqman, Yeo Shu Wei, Saw Xue Min, Esther Cheong Ni Xin, Jeannie Beh Jia Rui, Wong Su Ann, Ng Xiang Ting, Sim Shean Yin, Jimmy Chang Yi Xiang, Lim Zi Yu 

Music Arrangers: Austin, Shawn, Tze Wei, Calvin, Josephine, Athira, Nicholas, Lewis 

Conductors: Austin, Shawn, Yan Yie 

Guest Performers: Tristan (electric guitar), Yen Yi (bass guitar), Danish Raja Reza (drummer), Ryan Tan Chek Sheng (drummer) 

Head of Orchestra: Austin 

Assistant Head of Orchestra: Shawn 

Soloists: 

  • Be Our Guest: Woo Yong Liang (Cello), Gerryn Jo-Vee Goh (Violin) 
  • Always with Me: Lee Wei Wern (Cello), Wong Pei Ee (Cello) 
  • Believer: Yeo Wei Le Austin (Pianist) 

Head of Soprano: Josephine

Head of Alto: Athira

Head of Tenor: Lewis

Head of Bass: Tze Wei 

Head of Choir: Yan Yie 

Assistant Head of Choir: Athira, Tze Wei 

Soloists: 

  • Be Our Guest: Tze Wei 
  • Oceans: Hazel 
  • Goblin Mashup: Yumi and Ying Kai 
  • Mulan Medley: Jasmine 

Song List: 

  1. Be Our Guest 
  2. Mirai E 
  3. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) 
  4. You Raise Me Up 
  5. Don’t Give Up on Me 
  6. Heartshaker 
  7. Goblin Mashup 
  8. Phantom Medley (The Phantom of The Opera, All I Ask of You, The Music of The Night) 
  9. Radio Gaga 
  10. Itsumo Nando Demo 
  11. Seal Lullaby 
  12. Those Bygone Years 
  13. Take on Me 
  14. Mulan Medley (Reflection, Honor to Us All, I’ll Make A Man Out of You) 
  15. Pirate of the Caribbean Medley (Hoist the Colors, One Day, Up Is Down, Drink Up Me Hearties) 
  16. Meme Medley (All Stars, A Thousand Miles, Never Gonna Give You Up, YMCA) 
  17. Believer 
  18. Love Runs Out 

Types of Instruments Used: Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone, Harmonica, Trombone, Piano, Classical Guitar, Melodica, Glockenspiel, Electric Guitar, Bass, Drum 

Written by Vicki Lai Yee Tong and Wong Jing-Ee 

Photos by Ler Jie Yin

Maybe a little too obsessed with bands...

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