With no exaggeration, I would be willing to say that this was the best APAC experience I’ve ever had. Referring to the fact that it was the first time we had such a large travelling group, the APAC festival was beyond what anyone could’ve expected.
Being surrounded by high school students who had the same interests and was serious when approaching music, being taught by school teachers who have expertise for specific instruments, and being conducted by an amazing conductor, it provided everyone an unforgettable experience.
Playing songs from either a Japanese composer or from a Japanese theme allowed me to sink into the Japanese culture. However, also, playing a variation of a Korean folk song was very meaningful as it was a variation from my own nation.
On the first day, everyone started introducing themselves to their stand peers by what their names were and how many years they have played their instrument for. The special thing about this APAC event was that everyone was friendly and talented. By lunch, everyone had become friends and knew what they were doing. It felt amazing to be around high school musicians, who came from different parts of the world, who would come together and play the same song we all had practiced in our individual schools. At the end of the day, everyone was exhausted from all the playing, that once we got to our homestays, we directly fell asleep.
On the second day, everyone started to have sore and fatigued lips and was physically tired. To this, the conductor was very considerate and allowed us to take longer and more frequent breaks. Those breaks were meaningfully spent with some people having the chance to rest their mouths from all the playing, whilst some people used the time to either practice challenging parts in their music or match up their duet. After the practice, we had a group trip to Dotonbori. Through a 1 hour bus trip, all the APAC students were given the opportunity to walk around and enjoy themselves for 2 hours. During this time, everyone took numerous photos with the “Running man”, ate a lot of Japanese street food, and had a chance to shop. Everyone were carrying large bags filled with presents for their friends and family along with foods to enjoy once they went back to their home countries.
No one couldn’t believe that it was already the third day and our very final day of APAC Band. Our day was filled with practices making last minute changes to our playing till perfection.
Then, finally, the time for our final performance came.
The lights went on, there was a large audience, and everyone was sitting in their seats with their instruments wearing each of their unique school concert dresses. All the hard work paid off during our last performance. Challenging parts of the piece were played with perfection, and everyone was able to just enjoy the time playing together as one.
Once the concert was over, no one wanted to leave the auditorium. It was filled with hugs, people taking pictures, and especially students exchanging social media accounts! Everyone was talking about how they wanted the APAC Band event to be extended just a few more weeks and expressed how they wanted to stay longer. It was fascinating on how a single event could make strong bonds between people. It was amazing how music allowed me to become friends with people I’ve never met, or become closer friends with people I’ve met in past APAC Band experiences or other events.
Through this experience, I was able to realize how meaningful these experiences can be. Individually, I feel like this opportunity was more special as I was given the opportunity to play the solo for “Loch Lomond”. Playing as a solo within a large group was frightening but the sense of achievement that came afterwards was immense. The APAC event not only taught me how to play music with numerous people as one whole large group, but more importantly, it allowed me to realize how music could act as a bridge in creating strong bonds with people you have never met before.
“APAC band this year was a fantastic experience. We all had so much fun meeting new people and learning valuable skills on our instruments. I feel that I have improved immensely!” Hana Fuji Bennet, Grade 12
I am really looking forward for APAC Band next year, as much as it will be a “Super APAC” where all 12 schools will be attending. I can’t imagine the sound that will be created with all those musicians around me playing one song together as one.
I want to give a special thank you to Mr. DallaGrana for giving his time and effort in guiding us towards the APAC event. I also congratulate my fellow peers, especially if this is your first APAC, but mostly to the seniors! I will miss you all very much and I’m not sure if we’ll be able to fill in your shoes.
Thank you all for making this such an unforgettable experience.
Jinny SHIN, Grade 11