String Ensemble, Scotland
The 10 day String Ensemble Scotland Experience trip took off on the 8th of June. With the aim of enhancing members’ musicality and cultural knowledge about the United Kingdom, the itinerary included an exchange programme, three concert performances in unique venues, and the opportunity to watch a classical concert and a musical.
During the trip, the students experienced diverse English and Scottish culture, and immersed themselves in the historical city of London, Stratford and Edinburgh. The students took a panoramic tour of the cosmopolitan city London, and they watched the universally acclaimed musical, The Blood Brothers. An exchange with the Guild Hall School of Music gave the students a fresh outlook on ensemble sessions. They were inspired by the local students’ level of concentration and love for music during the rehearsal for the piece Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber.
In the next four days, the ensemble traveled up north to Stratford-upon-Avon and the Lake District. The ensemble performed at the Stratford Civic Town Hall and had the chance to play at a unique venue – the Warwick Castle’s grand main hall. The four hour mountain hike in the scenic Lake District countryside was evidently the highlight of this trip. This is the place where many poets and painters once lived. Not only did they enjoy nature’s beauty, they also had the opportunity to get to know one another better when they motivated each other to complete the trail.
The last stop was in the city of Edinburgh. The in-depth tour of the city and Scottish culture gave the students insight to Scotland’s medieval history and Shakespeare’s birthplace. Many were also excited to see the café that J.K Rowling was at when she wrote the famous Harry Potter books. Despite the harsh British weather, the students explored the Edinburgh Castle and they were elated to walk along the ever popular Royal Mile and Princes Street. To end off on a high note, the ensemble presented a concert at the prominent Grayfriars Church, signifying the last night of their musical journey.
During every long coach ride, the students presented short reflections in their own groups to share with the ensemble their learning points from the exchange and musical, and also how they could better improve their concert performances.
This enjoyable and unforgettable experience is evident in their reflections as below…
“After this trip to the UK, I feel that I have definitely learned new things both musically and culturally. This trip has been a very memorable one for me, not only because it was my first trip overseas with a school, but also because I got to experience many new things and learn more about music and culture, and I also got to communicate with people of different cultures… ”
12Y3J Leanne Chew Kim Li
“The concert at Wigmore Hall was interesting as I have never watched a piano trio before. The trio was skilled players as all their notes, even chords, were in time and they had great confidence when playing…”
12Y1E Ian Goh Yiheng
“To be honest, the hike was actually putting my physical ability to the test and I found it quite tiring at first. However, my friends started cracking jokes and we began singing and having fun as we were hiking and all the tiredness was actually forgotten, and I believe if I am able to apply that on my daily school life, to not moan and complain how tiring doing work is but actually enjoying it, I might be a happier person altogether. ”
12Y4! Regine Lim
“At the end of the musical, we realized that the whole musical was run by a life orchestra! We realised that what we assumed to be a recorded soundtrack was actually a life performance. They were perfect and it showed the amount of time they practiced and the amount of effort they put in. I learnt that practice makes perfect and we all have the potential to allow our music produced be so perfect that our audience will think they are listening to recorded music.”
12Y2I Ng Ze Wei