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  • Writer's pictureRiver Valley Student Editorial Club

Fervour – RVians and the Arts

By Zhang Huixin (23J17)


Fervour, an intense and passionate feeling, also the theme of ReVel Fest 2023. As put forth by the ReVel Fest 2023 committee, they wish to emphasise courage, perseverance and the fighting spirit, inspiring RVians to not give up on their dreams and passions.


Indeed, as I sat in the dimmed auditorium for the finals of ReVel Fest this year, I could feel the fervour of passion from the contestants who poured their hearts and souls into their performances.


In case you missed it, ReVel Fest is a long-running, annual talent show organised by RVians, for RVians, aimed at recognising and showcasing the different musical talents of our very own RVians. Unfortunately, it had to convert to an online format for the past 3 years due to the pandemic.This year’s Revelfest marks its return to the live stage.


Auditions were held in July, where contestants submitted videos of their singing to the organising committee, under the categories of either Solo or Group performance. This year, there were 9 finalists – 6 solo performers and 3 group performers. The finals took place on 24 August, from 4.30pm to 6pm, at the auditorium. The performances were dynamic and diverse, from English to Chinese songs, ballads to rap, soloists to a full band.


Not only that but the audience was also treated to 2 exclusive performances — a duet by past winners of ReVel Fest 2022 and 2017, as well as a band composed of our favourite teachers!


Performance by Our Alumni


Our alumni, Liu Yifei (winner of the solo category in 2017) and Tan Changyu (winner of the solo category in 2022) brought to us a heartfelt rendition of 修炼爱情 by JJ Lin. It was certainly a treat to witness the live performance of my seniors!

Liu Yifei (Left) and Tan Changyu (Right) perform their duet rendition of 修炼爱情 by JJ Lin (Photo credits: Aesthetics Committee)



Performance by our Judges


They were followed by the performance of the band of teachers, many of whom also served as the judges for the competition! With Ms Pearl Lam and Mr George Lim as vocalists, Mr Lim on the acoustic guitar, Mr Leonard Siar on drums and Mr Ernest Chia on the bass guitar! Their energetic performance of the Chinese song 我不需要每一个人都爱我 by 831 was clearly well received by the audience, many of whom were shouting their support for their favourite teachers.


I was particularly impressed by Ms Lam’s strong vocals and Mr Siar’s skilled drumming. I had never expected that we would have so many musically talented teachers, and I really look forward to whenever this band reunites again! Here’s to hoping they’ll be performing as a band for the next school concert next year 😆!

From left to right: Mr Ernest (bass), Mr Leonard Siar (drums), Ms Pearl Lam (main vocalist), Mr George Lim (Acoustic guitar and vocalist), performing 我不需要每一个人都爱我 A Rock can be a Star by 831



Solo Category


Guo Jingyou (23J05)

Of course, we will have to cover the main stars of the afternoon, the finalists! Kicking off the vocal performances, we had Guo Jingyou (23J05), who helped organise the event and is well-known around the school for her many performances on stage, including the National Day concert not long before this.


She chose the Chinese song 如果有来生 by Tan Weiwei, describing it as a beautiful paradise away from the real world. What a starter! She gave a strong performance, accurately hitting all the high notes in this difficult song, and once again proved her vocal talents.

Guo Jingyou (23J05), performing 如果有来生 by Tan Weiwei


Zhang Zheng Xuan (3I)

Following her was Zhang Zheng Xuan (3I), who performed the English reggae song “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. I was really impressed by how he hit every note of this relatively high-pitched song, following the quick tempo of this song! He brought to the audience a splendid rendition of this really fun and chill love song.


I know I certainly have a new favourite song now, and now hopefully so does the whole school after seeing the recorded performance during the Teachers’ Day concert! I look forward to seeing more of his performances in the future during school concerts! 😄

Zhang Zhen Xuan (3I), performing “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz (Image credits: Aesthetics Comm)


Zeng Haoquan (23J16)

Next was Zeng Haoquan (23J16), who delivered a superb performance of the Chinese ballad 心如刀割 by Jacky Cheung. His unique rendition of this Chinese classic was heartfelt, and his voice really brought out the desperate emotion in the song.


I was lucky enough to interview him before the finals, where he revealed that he is self-taught when it comes to singing, with his only musical background being that he was in concert band in primary and secondary school. He had been into singing since young, with one of his biggest inspirations being Joker Xue (薛之谦).


“I have a whole bucket list of things I want to do before A levels…taking part in ReVel Fest is part of it.” was his reply when I asked him why he wanted to take part in it this year. Before the competition, he expressed his nervousness, but after watching his performance, I have to say that he had nothing to worry about and that he was very much successful!

Zeng Haoquan (23J16), delivering his heart-wrenching rendition of the Chinese song 心如刀割 by Jacky Cheung


Naychi Linlet (3B)

Following up Haoquan’s performance was Naychi Linlet (3B). A self-taught singer, she reminisced to me how she had always enjoyed singing ever since young, despite being an athlete who always stuck with sports CCAs from primary to secondary school. This was not her first rodeo either, having joined singing competitions when she was younger in primary school.


I asked her what motivated her to join ReVel Fest this year, and she shared, “I was actually debating whether I should join or not, but my friends encouraged me to do it and in the end, I did! I hope to challenge myself through Revelfest!” She gave a truly enjoyable performance of “When I Was Your Man”, a song from her favourite artist Bruno Mars, and I was enthralled by every minute of it!

Naychi (3B), performing “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars


Alicia Kok Yun Ting (1E)

Next, Alicia Kok Yun Ting (1E), gave what was perhaps one of the best performances of the afternoon – she performed 城里的月光 by Mavis Hee, and her voice truly captured the song in all its glory. She also had an unbeatable stage presence, walking around the stage and commanding everyone’s attention. Despite just being a secondary one student, she truly gave a remarkable performance and her singing talent really shone through.


While I had the fortune to have listened to her audition performance of 嘉宾 by 张远, I was still very awestruck by her performance, especially that it came from just a first year! It was no surprise that she won first place in the solo category, and I hope to see more of her singing next year during school functions!

Alicia (1E), performing 城里的月光 by Mavis Hee (Photo credits: Aesthetic Committee)



Alicia receiving her first-place trophy from principal Mdm Choy (Photo credits: Aesthetic Committee)


Ong Rui Hong (22J17)

On the other end of the age spectrum, we have JC2 student Ong Rui Hong (22J17) who brought us his rendition of 以后别做朋友 by Eric Chou. Having experience with public performances, such as his and Jingyou’s duet for the school National Day Concert, he gave a captivating performance and his strong voice conveyed the sadness of the song very well. With it being his last year and possibly last performance in RV, I think he really gave a great one and should be proud of himself!

Rui Hong (22J17), performing 以后别做朋友 by Eric Chou (Photo credits: Aesthetic Committee)



Group Category


Derlicias

Moving on, the solo category ended and the group category began with Derlicias (Derrick Loh Zi Xun (23J01), Alicia Lim Kye Le (23J14)) performing a duet with the song 漂向北方 by Namewee and Wang Leehom. They brought so much energy to the stage and really livened up the atmosphere! Derrick performed the vocals portion of the song and Alicia took the stage for the rap portion, livening up the audience and wowing everyone with her rapping skills! I really had fun watching their duet!

Derlicias (Derrick Loh Zi Xun (23J01) & Alicia Lim Kye Le (23J14)) performing 漂向北方 by Namewee & Wang Leehom


Let Me Cook

Next, with undoubtedly the best name, Let Me Cook (Zeng Haoquan (23J16), James Lau (23J12)) took the stage with a live guitar and vocal performance of the folk classic Let Her Go by Passenger. What was really interesting about the performance was that while both James and Haoquan sang, James also performed and created the guitar backing track on the spot by using a loop station.


It certainly made for a riskier and more interesting performance, listening to the background track slowly forming on the spot. Unfortunately, it also meant that any mistake made would be amplified. However, I would be the first to say that they had indeed cooked, and ate, with more-than-stellar vocal performances, especially with James hitting the higher notes of the song!

Zeng Haoquan (23J16) and James Lau (23J12) performing Let Her Go by Passenger (Photo credits: Aesthetic Committee)


Patooties

The final performance of the show was Patooties, consisting of Gu Jiale (3G), Emily Soin Ting Xuan (3H), Heng Yu Ting (3H), Choo Zhe Xian (3H), and Saw Thoe Ywa Hay (3H). They performed 可惜没如果 by JJ Lin! With a full band performance, from keyboardist to drummer, the Patooties certainly snatched the limelight and dazzled the audience with their high-energy performance of the song. The drummer, especially, brought so much energy to the song and the vocalist delivered on the vocals! Of course, the guitarists and the keyboardists also gave amazing performances.


As they say, the strength of the team is that each and every member gave it their all, resulting in them taking home first place in the group category! Given that they are secondary 3 students, I hope to see more musical performances from Patooties in the school!

From left to right: Gu Jiale (3G), Choo Zhe Xian (3H), Emily Soin Ting Xuan (3H), Heng Yu Ting (3H), Saw Thoe Ywa Hay (3H) (Photo credits: Aesthetic Committee)



The Patooties (From left to right: Choo Zhe Xian (3H), Saw Thoe Ywa Hay (3H), Emily Soin Ting Xuan (3H), Gu Jiale (3G), Heng Yu Ting (3H)) with their first-place trophy from Mdm Choy (Photo credits: Aesthetic Committee)


Impact


Despite ReVel Fest ‘23 being held close to the exam period and it being after school, there was still a considerable turnout for the finals. It was heartening to see so many RVians gathered to cheer on their friends, or even just simply admire the talent of their fellow schoolmates.


In Singapore, achievement in the arts often seems secondary in importance, placed behind achievement in academics. It is then heartening to be able to see arts events like ReVel Fest and ArtFest, where artistically inclined students are given the opportunity to showcase their talent, even more so in a competitive nature such as in ReVel Fest. These events also have allowed the general student body to better appreciate the arts.


ReVel Fest contestant Haoquan applauded the Aesthetics Committee for reviving ReVel Fest in the live show format, saying that he believed that “making it live and official…made ReVel Fest more popular and got more to appreciate the arts.” The musical atmosphere at the finals even infected the audience, with us (especially me) enthusiastically belting to Taylor Swift classics during intermission!


Challenges


It was surprising to find out then from the chair for ReVel Fest ‘23 that it was a struggle to get the school to approve the plan of hosting ReVel Fest live! Concerns were raised regarding students’ workload and clashing with exams. He admitted that “we initially planned for live auditions so students could come cheer on their friends”, and even more categories such as dance and song-writing. However, they were only limited to solo and group singing categories.


He also stated the Aesthetics Council hopes to showcase the vibrant art spirit of RV and hope that the concept would be allowed to be continued and expanded for the following years.


Let’s hope that there will once again be a ReVel Fest next year and in the years to come!

Mdm Choy with all the contestants (Photo credits: Aesthetic Committee)



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