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23rd August 2018

Symphonic Band Immersion Programme to Kuala Lumpur 2018

 A group of 44 students from Dunman High School Symphonic Band (DHSSB) together with 5 teachers embarked on an immersion programme to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 1  to 5 August 2018. This overseas learning journey provided the opportunity for DHSSB members to understand and appreciate local culture in Malaysia and to have a meaningful interaction with youths in the visiting country to promote international friendship and understanding.

We were honoured to be invited as the guest performer at the closing ceremony for the Malaysia Fully Residential Schools International Wind Orchestra Festival 2018. Alicia The from 18Y5C21 had this to say about the experience:

“When we performed our saxophone solo piece, the audience had started applauding enthusiastically when our soloist, Goh Zhi Xuan, started playing. I was pleasantly surprised, as I had not seen this happen with a Singaporean audience. I was amazed at how appreciative the Malaysian audience was, and how supportive and encouraging they were.”

Ng Li An Jace from 15YC42 also shared:

“Attending the music festival was nothing short of a jaw-dropping experience. Not only did all the bands play exceptionally well, it was the student conductors that led the band during their performances. Their level of competency in conducting is almost comparable to a professional despite their young age. It really struck me about the extent they were willing to go to nurture young talents and hone their musical expertise at such a young age by mandating the rule that a student conductor has to be the one conducting the band in the music festival.”

DHSSB also had the opportunity to have an exchange with students from Sekolah Seri Puteri (SSP) wind band. The exchange was a meaningful one especially for Tye Voon Ying from 18Y5C46:

“I spent my primary and secondary school years in SAP schools so I have never had much experience with people from other races. As such, I was worried that I would not be able to communicate well with the students from SSP. Thankfully, my worries were dispelled as the girls in the school were hospitable towards us. They were enthusiastic about meeting us and talked to us about their lives in band and their boarding school. By the end of the session, I felt heartened seeing that not only my section, but also everybody else, was able to enjoy and have a meaningful time with students from SSP. We do not usually get to interact with people from other races but this experience helped us open our hearts and minds more. It made me more interested to know about the other races in Singapore so that I could learn more about their culture and way of life.”

Ea Hao Wei from 18Y5C32 mentioned that the cultural part of the trip was a newfound experience for him:

“I found the visits to the Istana Budaya and the Masjid Negara to be enlightening due to the exposure to a culture which I was rather ignorant of. While we were in the mosque, a tour guide in the mosque started explaining to us the meaning and origin of the Islamic religion. He provided a refreshing and meaningful view on Islam and he brought out the beauty behind the religion. I realized that we should not form judgements or listen to stereotypes about a religion or race.”

Lastly, 15YC42 Chua Ya Xuan talked about the whole experience of the trip:

“The toughest part of this trip would be the time constraints that we faced as we prepared for this trip, having to juggle between academics and numerous practice sessions a week in a short span of time. Nevertheless, I felt that it was worth the effort when I knew that we represented Singapore at the music festival. In short, this trip is definitely one that I will miss and I really hope that we will get more chances in the future to travel abroad so as to gain more exposure and to grow as a musician! Through this trip, my band experience is truly complete.”

It was heartening to see the students have learnt many things from this trip. It was indeed an enriching experience as learning outside the band room truly allowed the students to broaden their horizons and to see things from different perspectives. We hope that the fond memories and things learnt from this short trip will always remain with the DHSSB members even after they graduate!

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