Thursday, June 11, 2009

SMK St Joseph school band revisited

Perhaps not a lot of people know this, but I was once a member of the prestigious SMK St Joseph School Band in Kuching from 1998-2003.

Similar to most ex-band members, we leave the band behind with wonderful memories of our secondary school lives. Yes no doubt, the school band was the envy of the other students, because we get to don fancy uniforms, get loaned musical instruments worth thousands of dollars, meet cute chicks from other school bands, and travel all around the world (although at that time, it was only Kuala Lumpur for my batch).

Here we are at the futsal field behind the Josephian Block which is the default practicing ground for the school band on Saturday mornings (and any other times which demand it).

Not seen here is my uncle; Benedict Lo, the current formation master who's busily hurling commands from the Josephian Block balcony and ever "black-mailing" band members to quit if they do not conform to his instructions. Its strange how old tactics die hard even after all these years :S

(ps: Mr. Lo never admits that he's our uncle even though two of my brothers who were in the band were under him. We're probably just not his favourite nephews, sadly..)

Oh, how I still remember those times when we'd all get sunburnt and sweaty in the scorching midday sun, trying to balance our music and choreography at the same time. Yes, it does look good from above, but down below, its tough work, and I know full well how it feels like!

Most band members are dedicated to the tasks at hand...

.... while some others... could do a much better job.

After being with the school band for so long (4.5 years) , I do admit that it has its advantages, teaching its members core values such as being a team player, dedication and hard work, but after all this while, I do question sometimes whether it has really made a difference in my current life.

And whatever reasons I give to dispute myself that perhaps Not joining band will be a better choice, I always feel a sense of pride, and that irreplaceable feel-good-feeling that I was once a member of the SMK St. Joseph school band.

Ever-vigilant and strict, Pn. June keeps a hawk's eye watch on the school band at all times. I think there has been no other teacher that has been as dedicated as her towards the growth of the school band,whilst still maintaining her full time responsibility as a form 6 chemistry teacher. And for that, I salute her efforts.

Since school band competitions in Malaysia (for both state and national levels) are all riddled with ridiculous conspiracies, back-stabbing comments, slanders and lies, once should think what was the point of these competitions in the first place? Even certain band members are so stuck up that they wouldn't even talk to members from other schools!

It is my hope that one day, school band activities will be regarded as an enjoyable and rewarding experience, while at the same time maintain a positive competitive spirit that will propel all school bands towards greater heights.

But we all know too well the answer to that question, isn't it? We're just human (AND typically Malaysian).

Till then, Ora et Labora!


Anonymous said...

I was one of the pioneer members of the school band together with Benedict Lo. Our advisor was Mr. Nicholas Jee. I played the side drum and later became Assist. Drum Major. Back then, there was no band competition in the state. Our invitations to perform were all in Kuching such as the TYT birthday, Merdeka Day, Kuching Parade, etc.

Blair said...

This is great! I admire all Malaysian students and teachers who work hard in brass band.


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