Writer: Jonathan Chan. Credit to Huang Rong for helping with Chinese
Photos: HanZhu, ShengJie
It was a night of music, fun and laughter as Xin Yao commenced on Thursday 11th March 2010 at the Munchie Monkey Cafe at YIH.
For residents who did not know (and the writer himself learnt this the day before going, never having attended one before), Xin Yao is one of the Cultural activities in KE Hall whereby music-loving residents write their own songs and perform them on the day of the concert – no mean feat considering the busy schedule of any average sleep-deprived and supper-hungry KEVIIan. This proud tradition began 22 years ago when like-minded culturally-inclined KEVIIans came together to form the small interest group which has now become an integral part of hall life.
It was a lively atmosphere that was in the air at Munchie Monkey. I was greeted at the door with a brochure and a standing banner, the former containing a short history of the group as well as a list of songs, the latter assuring me that I had arrived at the right place. The Xin Yao members hovered about wearing their black shirts with blue and white trim while the audience members slowly trickled in, some ordering dinner to go with the performance. Prof Ho, our Hall Master, and Dr Seow, F-block RF could be seen in the crowd, supporting the event. To support the musical nature of the performance, Mrs Seow could be seen in the distinctively pink XQRJ shirt too. Not that the crowd was limited to our own residents – at least one supporter in the orange IHG shirt of Sheares Hall was spotted.
Within 5 minutes of 7 pm, the clear voices of Cui Xiang and Hong Fei cut through the crowd as they kicked off the event with “Memory”, an introductory item. The hubbub of the crowd died down and people pushed away their plates of spaghetti and whatnot as their voices rose and fell beautifully, harmoniously, ending off to rousing applause as the pair wished the audience a pleasant and memorable night.
Up to the stage bounded Qing Tong and Zhi Zheng, the two MCs for the night. Greeting the audience, they reflected how much the different members had developed from being simply music-loving to now being able to compose and perform their own songs. They also explained the theme of the night, the Four Seasons, as the concert being an opportunity to showcase all types of music.
Without delay, the up stepped Guan Yu, (“He’s talented,” said Zhi Zheng. “Girls take note”) to perform the first song “游子吟”. Obviously a popular member, many supporters joined in with the chorus, and a friend rushed up with, of all things, a stuff-toy peeled banana for his efforts. Whether this was an allusion to anything remains up to the audience’s imagination. He was followed by Guang Zi, who performed the only English song for the night, “Broken”, a fast rock-style song which had the audience tapping their feet in time with the music. The Spring segment of the performance was then ably rounded off by Yi Ling, playing his own guitar, performing “随风”.
On to Summer we went. Wen Qi, decked in pink as if to reflect the season she represented, ascended the stage to the loudest cheers of the night to perform “放心”. Up rushed her friends to present her with flowers during the interlude midway through the song. Following this, a short lucky draw was then held, with 5 fortunate winners picked from the audience. They then had to tell everyone how they had come to know about the performance, reasons ranging from simply walking past, to being dragged along by friends. For being sporting, they were awarded CDs with the recordings of the past 3 years of Xin Yao’s songs. Zhang Pu then sang “爱到”, a touching song about the lasting quality of love. It was once again well received by the audience and she was given a stuffed toy. Nothing as spectacular as a huge peeled banana, but gratefully received nonetheless.
Following this came a segment of 3 songs all written by Yi Ting. “He’s a talent,” said Zhi Zheng. “Actually, so are all of us. Including me,” he added, unabashed, before he was cried down by the audience and Qing Tong. But while one song was already no mean feat, the enormity of having composed three songs was not lost on the audience who received Yi Ting and his fellow performers enthusiastically. First up was “寻”, another love song, followed by “写一首歌” and “可人儿”, a fast moving duet. Yi Ting’s skill in composing and singing could not be denied as he played his guitar confidently and sang with a steady voice as the lyrics rolled past.
Up stepped Sheng Jie to sing “替代” with Yi Ting. This time the song was of a slightly more serious tone (Said the incorrigible Zhi Zheng, “We’re hearing so many happy songs tonight. Let’s hear one about getting rejected”). This was followed by Qing Tong, who showed that she was there not just to be an MC, as she turned in a good performance with “醉玲珑”, even as her friends yelled “Qing Tong, we love you”, to which she replied “yes I know you all do” without batting an eyelid.
The night was drawing to a close as we proceeded into the Winter segment, with Xiang Yu performing “忘记悲伤” followed by a final song “影后” by Wen Qi and, once agan, Qing Tong, a moving song which had the audience swaying in their seats with the music. And as the last note died away, everyone clapped for cheered for the Xin Yao members who had put in so much hard work, even as some of the senior members to stepped up to talk about their experiences in Xin Yao, the work put in by the members, and encouraged the audience to buy their CD.
It was indeed a good performance put up by our Xin Yao members. It had quality, it had diversity and it definitely charmed all who were present in Munchy Monkey’s Cafe that night, including the staff members themselves who could be seen applauding when not preoccupied with the running of the Cafe. As I departed the location, backslaps and hugs were being exchanged, flowers were given and a small crowd was already building at the small stall set up outside the cafe to by the CDs, all just rewards for all the hard work put in. Congratulations to Xin Yao indeed!