Vocal Asia Festival 2015: Day 2-3, VAF Concert (2/3)

Waking up at 7.30AM was difficult, partly because of the previous day’s excitement and the lack of sleep from the early flight.

In the picture with EXIT and us is Roushan, the new vocal bass of Urban Harmony who dropped by at the festival before going to Hong Kong for a concert gig!

If anyone wants to know, yes it is sheer bliss to be able to take a picture with EXIT, because they are simply awesome in their very own unique way that makes me feel inadequate, but well, that’s for another chapter.

So the next morning, after a quick breakfast Miyu and I took the train down to the Mass Arts Centre while NANU hopped on a bus towards soundcheck at another venue for a public performance. We rushed down because it was the A Cappella Summit and Forum, and I want to be there to support the event.

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Chairperson of Vocal Asia, Ms Clare Chen was Chairperson for the A Cappella Summit at VAF2015.

The Summit focused on creating links between regions this year, and in Ms Clare Chen’s opening address she introduced Mr Peter Lane. Mr Lane hailing from Walton Arts Centre in Fayetteville, Arkansas has collaborated with Vocal Asia through Clare to create VOICEJAM, the first East-West A Cappella festival.

Such successful collaborations should continue and spawn further collaborations between each “A Cappella State” (a term coined by myself) and that in turn will create opportunities for groups to develop their sound and define their milestones.

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Presenters at the A Cappella Summit includes (from left) Mr Sung Mo Han, Vocal Asia’a A Cappella Education Advisor; Mr Kim il Hea, Korean’s representative; Mr Ray Chu, artistic director of Taiwan Choral Music Centre; and Mr Chen Wuming, COO of Vocal Asia and also compere for the Summit.

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On the other side (from left), Ms Clare Chen; Mr Peter Lane; Deke Sharon; Ms Angelina Choo-Sassarak, Singapore’s representative; and Mr Fung Kwok Tung, Hong Kong’s representative.

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Each representative shared the initiatives they have embarked since the last Summit and it is encouraging that they all have great news to share, as well as new challenges faced which was open for discussion for each other to suggest solutions.

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Workshops after lunched touched on an analysis of the human voice with the Vocal Balance System (based in Taiwan), while Deke provided 10 steps to an A Cappella Arrangement and also an insight into the production of The Housejack’s latest album “Pollen”. Kwok Tung’s lesson on Traditional Chinese music was a take to expose participants to the unique sound in Asian music, which was one of the highlights of the workshops for cultural exposure.

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Meanwhile, Naturally 7 spoke about their unique sound and how they started into A Cappella, which was very insightful and continue the thread on cultural background. With each individual, you’re not just getting a voice – you’re getting a talent, a story, as well as a set of experiences that this person has to tap into the music.

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Also, Singapore’s NANU had a masterclass with Kaichiro Kitamura, Japan’s best jazz vocal percussionist before rushing off for the performance. Miyu and I had our first rehearsal with the Single Singers.

Started first at the 2012 London A Cappella Festival by Annemarie Homan and Emily May Hoen, the VAF edition started first in the 2013 VAF. The concept of singing together in a group set up if you’re coming to the festival by yourself (or without a full group), singers are assigned parts and prepare the songs prior to rehearsals at the festival. We are glad to be part of the second Asian Single Singers collective, and having the chance to meet with Deltacappella and Naturally 7, both groups having contributed songs to the repertoire this year.

Day Three was busy, because it is also the day slated for the VAF Concert, where all groups representing each country gets the chance to shine on stage without the competition tension.

So while we rushed through breakfast (again), we had transport to the arts centre in time for warm ups with Ray, followed by Naturally 7’s talk about their origins and their definitive singing roots.

The many highlights of the day included the Poetic A Cappella workshop with Christine Liu (Voco Novo) and Ray, followe dby the Single Singers’ rehearsal where we were visited by both Deltacappella and Naturally 7.

Deke shared on A Cappella in the media in a behind-the-scenes talk that covered how A Cappella has influenced media and is the occasional go to for a personable touch, in a different room Kaichiro was gving Jazz vocal percussion lessons while the Single Singers headed for soundcheck for the VAF Concert, something Miyu and I were looking forward to. We made sure we were dressed for the occasion.

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Single Singers at VAF2015 unite, with the ever-patient Christine (on my right) who guided everybody!

And after our soundcheck, we rushed back to Ray’s lesson on Groove before heading out for dinner – a simple affair and back for the concert…. Turns out that the Single Singers OPENS THE CONCERT!!!!!!

And of course, pre-show selfie with NANU!

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NANU rocking out to an upbeat arrangement of Chan Mali Chan and having fun with the audience at the VAF Concert! Damn proud of it when people come up to me and went, “Singapore – NANU, AWESOME!”

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VAF concert ended on a high, with many groups still running towards each other and taking pictures, while I took the chance and grab a shot with Christine and Clare with NANU and Miyu! After the picture, the duo whisked us to our bus immediately as it was also getting late!

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Gerald became the Flash to save some A Cappella damsel – I’m joking.

Oh! Post-performance selfie!

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We were so tired that we crashed once we reached the hotel, concluding Days 2 and 3 of Vocal Asia Festival 2015, as well as this post. Stay tune as my final part comes in soon!


Derrick Kam

Derrick KAM is the leader of Acappuccino, a pop-jazz team formed together with a group of friends. By day a Choir instructor and by night an avid A Cappella enthusiast, Derrick hopes to bring the spotlight into Singapore’s A Cappella community in whatever way possible to showcase the diversity and inspire a new generation of singers.

TVB encourages the contributions of ad hoc writers who objectively can present themselves with the goal of promoting the Singapore and/or international A Cappella community at large. Do contact us at voicebox.sg@gmail.com to let your voice be heard!

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