Singapore Youth Festival: Celebrating 50 years

Baked and bonded as part of the band

West Spring Display Band from West Spring Secondary School performing on Saturday in Parade of Bands in Orchard Road. Their route stretched from Ion Orchard to Paragon.
West Spring Display Band from West Spring Secondary School performing on Saturday in Parade of Bands in Orchard Road. Their route stretched from Ion Orchard to Paragon.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

It may be tough work being in a display band and practising for the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) under the hot sun, but for the members, it is simply part of the job.

"Being in a display band and part of SYF is something that not everyone gets to experience. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I would never give up," said 16-year-old Lau Jia Ye.

The Secondary 4 student is among the 95 members in West Spring's Display Band.

In the SYF Arts Presentation earlier this year, the band attained the Certificate of Distinction.

It was also chosen to be part of last Saturday's Parade of Bands, with the route stretching from Ion Orchard to Paragon.

They performed their march piece - The Avenger - and a short segment from their SYF presentation.

The display band spent a year planning and almost another year - from June last year to April this year - rehearsing for the SYF.

"None of the kids have prior experience in a band, but they never gave up. For SYF, they would practise at least four times a week," said Ms Annie Lee, teacher-in-charge of the display band.

During rehearsals, the band would march up and down the field at fast tempo for at least 10 minutes a time, coordinating their music-playing with their footwork.

Amirah Nur Diyanah, 15, the current band major, said: "Display band combines traits from sports and uniform groups from our marching and discipline. We're basically the sports-of-the-arts."

When asked about the hard work she and her teammates put in, she said: "Rehearsals were extremely tiring, plus we got baked by the sun, but what made them worthwhile was the camaraderie we shared doing them together."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2016, with the headline 'Baked and bonded as part of the band'. Print Edition | Subscribe