Sunday, September 04, 2005

3 Sep 05: Botanic Gardens Concert

Yesterday, the orchestra performed at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

It was raining yesterday in the early afternoon. I was keeping my fingers crossed that the rain would stop. Thank goodness, I think it must have been the blessings of the readers here and the kind favour that weather had given us, the rain stopped in time. As such, we were able to rehearse and perform yesterday without the rain as our company.

The stage has a roof over it, but I would not have want a rain when we are performing in an outdoor concert.

I took a MRT to Newton MRT station, then I took a taxi to the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Visitor Centre. I was not keen to walk to the symphony stage from the main entrance in a very humid weather. When I reached there, I saw MC on the stage. Thanks MC for seeing to the logistics.

Yesterday was my very first time performing on the new Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage. I had performed on the previous stage, and it was a nice experience playing on the new. The offical opening for this new stage was on 1 May 2005. I had wrritten a post about my attendance of the official opening, so click on the link to read. While it may take a while to nurture greater level of art appreciation among locals, I think we should be comforted that organisations like Shaw Foundation are contributing their part to promote the appreciation of arts and culture in Singapore.

This is the view from the stage. This was taken before the rehearsal. After the rehearsal, the skies became a more azure hue. Imagine playing one's instrument on the stage and when one looks out of the stage to nature, one sees a beautiful scene from nature. I bear witness that this very view looked so much more beautiful during rehearsals and during the performance, as the dull gloomy skies went away. And please also visualise the golden rays from the sun falling on the green open spaces and the leaves of the trees.

I tuned my instrument. Afterwhich, since I was early, I went around (though not too far) to admire the sceneries near the stage area.

Above photo: The Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage.


Above photo: Banner for the event.



A tall mighty tree. See how small an adult looks in comparison to the tree.


Explored backstage. The new backstage is much better than the previous one. The new backstage is equipped with lockers, and has a VIP room that has carpeted floor and a sofa. I suppose we must consider ourselves lucky to be invited to play at the new Botanic Gardens' Symphony Stage.

Rehearsal started. The wind kept blowing, and if not for the clips and pegs(which we brought), we would have seen scores flying about and pages turning when they aren't supposed to be. It did bother me a bit, because it was tricky to turn page and at the same time to ensure that the pages are well-secured with pegs so that the pages won't turn unintendedly. This seems to be one of the challenges of playing outdoor, we are subjected to the mercy of the forces of nature.

Next challenge was how to find a good sound balance since we would have to use the microphones to pick up the sounds from the instruments yesterday. I felt the sound technician was challenged to find a perfect sound balance, and I know this isn't easy. I was also not quite used to not having a grand piano around. The grand piano part in Butterfly Lovers Concerto had to be played using an electronic keyboard due to logistic constraints. It probably would not have been effective to bring a grand piano all the way from the west of Singapore to the Botanic Gardens just to play less than a hundred bars. However, I could not get used to the way the electronic keyboard sound. Somehow, its sound did not complement the violin soloist's playing at all.


After rehearsal we had dinner. I was at backstage. We were informed that due to time constraints, we would not be playing Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave. A pity, since I have practised quite a lot for it. Nevertheless, I guess it was a good idea to end on time because the Botanic Gardens can turn really dark after 7 p.m., which was the time that the concert should end by.

Performance started at 6 p.m. We have quite a relatively good crowd of audience. Compared to the day of the official opening of the Symphony Stage, there were comparatively much less number of audience. Maybe having shuttle buses to ferry the audience from more accessible places (like a MRT station) to the Botanic Gardens would help improve the number of audience attending the event? I remember that there were such shuttle bus services on the day of the official opening of the Symphony Stage.

Anyway, the audience yesterday as relatively responsive. It might have been a blessing that there was not as large a crowd yesterday as compared to 1 May 2005. The size of the audience yesterday was a comfortable one such that members of the audience could find enough space to listen and enjoy the music.

I cannot quite figure out how we sound to the audience from where the audience were sitting. But if you were one of the members of the audience, you are invited to share your comments.

My favourite is still the Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony.

By 7 p.m. the concert ended. I supposed it was well-received?

After packing, and loading the double basses up the lorry, I headed to the Visitor Centre to take a seat on the hired bus. The hired bus would head for the university. I think it was a great idea to hire a bus for the performers. The Botanic Gardens indeed turned very dark after 7.30 p.m. and I won't want to walk all the way from the Symphony Stage to the main entrance of the Botanic Gardens in the dark.

I was hungry, and with a number of other orchestra members, we alighted at Holland Village for dinner. I understand the rest would be sharing their photos taken at Aberdeen with one another after the dinner. But I was rather tired to stay, so I left for home.

1 comment:

mistipurple said...

the botanic gardens brought back pleasant memories. i last remembered feeding the swans there!