By Kelly Liew, Year 1, Advanced Diploma in Nursing (Midwifery)
When I was in secondary school, I was part of the Tanjong Katong School band. We were fairly well-known among secondary band members as we have won awards during the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF), such as the Best Display Band for 2012.
Although I cheer for the band during the SYF competitions every year, I am now quite distant from the band scene (my secondary school days were long ago). This week, however, I was given the privilege to relieve my band memories when I met up with the two presidents of Voltz, a band with a difference. The 2 young musicians, Kok Chuan and Wei Vern, chatted happily about their love of the Chinese orchestral instruments and reminded me of my passion for music making.
For those who don’t know, Voltz is made up of 17 talented members who were specially selected from the Nanyang Polytechnic Chinese Orchestra (NYPCO) to represent each instrument at its best. The idea came from NYPCO’s conductor, Mr Mike Chiang. After careful selection of its members, Voltz started out in Nov 2011 with a pioneer group of 12 members. They staged their debut performance during NYPCO’s K-Attack Concert at the Esplanade in the same month. After that successful debut, Voltz was invited to Mediacorp to perform an original interpretation of OKTO channel’s theme song.
In 2012, the band expanded by adding 5 new members to incorporate new instruments. At present, Voltz has 9 NYPCO members and 8 alumni, with Ms Jing Ning, an alumnus as their band leader. The band is motivated to produce good creative music. They make use of the keyboard, E-bass and drum sets in their performance, which are not instruments commonly used in a Chinese Orchestra. They also focus mainly on pop music and find pleasure in playing such pieces.
“In fact, we play pop music and we feel that we belong to a pop band,” quips Kok Chuan.
As both Kok Chuan and Wei Vern also play for the Chinese Orchestra, being in Voltz at the same time requires more of their time and dedication. However, they do not seem to mind the extra commitment.
“We find ourselves busier because of the separate rehearsal timings for both Chinese Orchestra and Voltz, but we enjoy that. It is our passion,” said Wei Vern.
I was sincerely touched by their positive visions for the band. I think these visions enable them to produce the innovative pieces that they play.
The band will perform on the 23rd of June at the YFest at Esplanade, which is held in celebration of the Esplanade’s 10th anniversary. It will be a three-day showcase of popular youth culture where the young and young at-heart will gather and get a chance to bond through shared experiences through music, dance and art.
I asked Kok Chuan and Wei Vern to let me have a sneak preview of their performance but they told me they want to keep that as a surprise. So, I guess I have to go down to the outdoor theater at Esplanade on the 23rd to see them for myself. Come join me! I am sure Voltz (with its fun filled repertoire and hip music) will be a hit at the event.
Kelly is pursuing an Advanced Diploma in Nursing (Midwifery). She loves reading and cooking. She also likes to spend time with her friends, engaging in relaxing activities. Her friends describe her as unpredictable, spontaneous and inquisitive.