I remember scrolling through the list of CCAs in SP when I was in Secondary 4, and I stumbled upon the SP Vocal Talents (VT) CCA blog. All of my classmates then knew I enjoyed singing, and since I had already made up my mind to join SP, they encouraged me to join VT too. And so I did.
I remember being terrified at auditions. Everyone else around me was 10 times more talented and the seniors had ridiculously amazing voices. Somehow by the grace of God, I got into the club with a Jessie J and The Sam Willows song. I turned up for my first session not expecting much, but of course being the clueless little deer I am, I realised the club was an A Cappella CCA, something I hadn’t known before. To be frank, I have still have no idea how I made it through 2 rounds of auditions not knowing what exactly the CCA was.
With more hesitance than ever, I ventured into the club and the “treacherous” waters it beheld. I remember being placed into a random group with other newbies and somehow or other, we decided to name ourselves X, after the number of members we had in our group. The first major performance we had was an alumni dinner for SP, and we spent almost everyday during our holidays together. What drew the group together soon tore us apart, and by the time concert rolled round, I was breaking down every session. I swore to myself that I would leave after concert because the stress was simply too much to deal with if I wanted to maintain my GPA.
As it always is, all the hard work paid off onstage (I’ll admit we could’ve been better but oh well). Of course my nerves got the better of me, since it was my first time singing in front of such a big group of people. There’s this rush you get from performing on stage, and I found myself falling in love with it. Yet, I told myself that night that this was the end. The friends, the experience and the knowledge gained was enough for me.
3 weeks after the concert, I found myself signing up to be part of the committee. I told myself that if I didn’t get into the committee, I would really leave the club then. With all the luck in the world, I wound up being the Creative & Events Head for the club. It seemed like God really wanted me in the club for some strange reason.
My third performance with the club was for SP’s Open House, and it was with my then group First Avenue. We were only together for a couple of months before we were regrouped, but working them was something I’ve never regretted. They were some of the most dedicated and talented people I had met within the club, and I was always amazed by their commitment.
Come April this year, I found myself in Escape Reality, my third group in VT. They made practices a blast, even though the stress from being in the committee was piling up. We were always up for a challenge, and I’m really glad everyone stayed committed to putting up a fantastic performance for this year’s concert. Having experienced the stress from last year’s concert, I’d like to say I was more well equipped to deal with the stress of the performance.
But being the Creative Head of the club, the task of planning this year’s concert was placed nicely in my arms. I found myself scrambling to get the script together, coming up with a guideline for costumes, arranging the order of songs etc. I spent my 6 week holiday worrying over the production, and would often stay up till 3/4 in the morning to work on the script. Sure, it would look great on my resume, but the stress was really getting to me. My eye bags were terrible, I was breaking down almost everyday and I didn’t know how to let anyone in to help me because I was too busy being a perfectionist and micromanaging.
A new semester had started before I knew it, leaving me with 3 weeks before concert. I didn’t get the rest I needed during the holidays and that carried over well into my school life. 2 weeks into school and I found myself breaking down or having panic attacks in the middle of class because I had overlooked a tiny detail with regards to the show. The final straw came 6 days before concert, when I simply couldn’t take it anymore. We were scheduled for a full-dress rehearsal that day, and by 3, I found myself sitting outside of class crying on the phone. I refused to turn up for rehearsal, and kept asking for someone to replace me.
Of course no such thing happened, and I turned up at rehearsals after much begging and persuading. Of course the rush of being onstage made me temporarily happy, but by Thursday (2 days before the concert), I was exhausted again. I couldn’t wait for the concert to be over so that I would finally get a much needed break.
Come show day, I found myself a nervous wreck. I wasn’t excited to perform. I was terrified I had overlooked some tiny detail during the planning process and spent the whole day worrying. 6 hours before the show, something dawned on me. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I wanted to go home and crawl into bed without having to worry about performing. I wanted to leave.
But of course I couldn’t leave right then. So I did what I usually did when the stress got to me. I locked myself in the toilet and cried the stress away. I honestly didn’t feel much better (even though crying usually helps me), and that was when I realised that I truly did want to leave. Not because I was physically tired but rather, because I had given this CCA my everything and received virtually nothing in return.
Over the past 2 years, I somehow found myself right smack in the middle of all the drama and conflict. Every single time. Be it a month before concert, during the audition period, while planning for camp or 3 days before concert, conflict somehow always came looking for me. For 2 years I tried to ignore the emotional stress and pain the club was bringing me. After 2 years, I find myself wanting to throw the towel in.
I’ll definitely miss the friends I’ve made. To be completely honest, 90% of the good friends I have in SP are from VT. But VT is also responsible for 90% of my breakdowns and I’m walking away because it isn’t healthy for me to stay on. Maybe I’ll lose some of these friends because I’m leaving, but those who matter to me will stay with me, I know it.
Being the emotional wreck I am, I refuse to say out loud that I am leaving (hence this extremely long post). But since I’m writing this, I’d like to thank those who touched my time in VT.
First off, Escape Reality:
You guys made training so fun and worth it, even on the days I’d disappear halfway through practice because I would be somewhere crying. Performing with you guys really was an honour. Ben, you are one of the most talented arrangers I have met and Dzul, your constant nagging really brought us to where we are today. Chi Yin, you are one of the nicest and most dedicated people I have met ever, and I’m really glad I got the chance to work with you as a group as well as an actor. I finally got the chance to work with you this year Zach, and you never fail to disappoint. Working with you was a really amazing experience and I can’t even begin to describe it to those who haven’t worked with you.
To the Excos:
I’m very honoured to have been given the chance to work with y’all while planning concert and camps etc. I’m v grateful for the chance to work with you QR & Estee, because y’all have taught me countless things about working together as a team efficiently. Zen, even though half the time I tend to forget you’re part of the exco, I’m really grateful for all the times you’ve listened to me rant and cry. Tiara, working side by side with you has really been a fun experience. Thanks for always offering to help me because you know I’m too afraid to ask. To Travers & Wayne, ya’ll have really been my pillar of strength this past year and I honestly have no idea how I would’ve made it out alive without you guys. I’m really sad you had to leave Mathilda because you’ve made my life theses past 2 years a whole lot more bearable.
To the Circle Line friends:
I’m going to miss going home with you guys so so much. Raimi, Mervin & Yee Kien, thanks for always listening to me when I needed someone and for not judging and giving me some really great pieces of advice. To the rest of y’all, you have no idea how many times you guys have made a terrible day a good one just by going home with me. Even though you guys laugh and sing too loudly, I’m really glad we got those 40-ish or so minutes on the train together.
I’ve already told you everything in person (and cried while doing so) but once again, I’m really glad we met and became friends. You and I were the only X girls left this concert and I’m really glad we got to do another concert together. We really have to keep in touch okay? Thanks for always listening to me rant and I love you
To everyone else I’ve worked with in VT (especially Ning):
Thanks for being patient with me while I tried to figure things out. It was really an honour to be able to work with you guys. Thanks for dealing with my crazy mood swings and random breakdowns. VT really is a big part of my life and I’m very glad I had the chance to work with all of y’all.
If you seriously made it to the end of this post (it’s 1 700+ words omg), I definitely owe you a cookie because it’s just the emotional ramblings of an 18 year old (come look for me and you get a hug and a Subway cookie ok). But in all honesty, I’ll miss you VT 🙂
P.S: My photos are all over the place like my emotions so please ignore the mess