Thoughts and photos from the Songcraft mini-concert, 15 Dec 2007

Photos from the Songcraft mini-concert held last night.


For a show put up by a group of amateur musicians, it was pretty well managed. The performers stuck to their alloted time. Technical hiccups (always bound to have something go awry) were negligible.

I’m not just being polite, nor because I’m part of the group. I’ve seen quite a few performances over the last 10 years in the course of my work. Last night’s show was well managed for a group of hobbyists.

Room looked empty but this was before the audience arrived.

Kah Loong at the piano. He sat down. Started playing a few notes. The audience was really quiet. Then he blurted, “Sorry, I forgot my notes!” and that made everyone crack up. It was a welcome, if unplanned, relief ‘cos I thought it cut the tension that had somehow built up.

Don’t think anyone can complain about the turnout… between 40 to 50 by my estimate.

I consider these two songcrafters, Betty and Jeremy, the stars of last night’s show. Betty sang really well, and Jeremy was “mr cool” at the piano… maybe a little “too cool”, lol.

The audience happily chatting away with performers and friends during the intermission.


A bouquet for Betty!


Upon hindsight, two three things could be have been done differently:

(1) Have someone warm up the audience before the show. Just my gut feel. They were made up of distinct groups — friends of the individual performers. I think they weren’t quite sure what to expect from the show. The show sort of “just started”. Maybe a bit of laughter from them, or some questions thrown at the audience — it’ll help the audience ease into the show.

(2) Do sound-checks! At break-time, I was told that my backing guitar sounded a little off-tune (as the show went on, the air-con might have affected the guitar string tension).

(3) Even if it’s a “amateur performance”, it’s only fair to the audience to REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE. Maybe this one is more for me. As I mentioned, I offered to be the backing guitar for Firdaus and Chris at the last minute. And they agreed. Pretty brave of those two guys to accept my offer, considering we haven’t practiced together. They certainly practiced, and my practice was jamming to their songs during previous songcraft sessions. Glad to say I didn’t screw up their songs (at least I think I didn’t) but my solos could be better in order to do justice to their songs.

Richard, whom I met for the first time, as I missed the last songcraft meetup, performed like a pro. His music reminded me of Five For Fighting (a friend said, Coldplay, which was also pretty close).

Hui Ling at the piano, with two of her friends singing her song (man, my friends won’t even listen to my songs let alone sing them!)

Marcel performed two of his songs. At the end of the show, I shook his hands. He said, “We did it”. Yeah man!

I don’t know how the audience felt (they’re the ultimate judge of the concert) but I’d say to the songcrafters who performed that night (my guitar accompaniment didn’t count) that they put up a jolly good show!

Jeremy and Kah Loong worked particularly hard to get the concert off the ground, with Betty helping as well. I don’t know how much money Jeremy and Kah Loong forked out. They were really serious about putting up a good show. Hat tip to them!

The venue was perfect; posters (from Firdaus) and concert booklets printed by Jeremy (we’re talking about a commercial printing job!); Kah Loong hired a sound-guy and arranged for a projector for the videos… I was joking to the other songcrafters that if Jeremy and Kah Loong’s notion of “mini” was a concert of that scale, then I don’t know what their version of a “regular” concert would be, LOL.

Firdaus was the last scheduled performer. He had the toughest job being the first (which he pulled off wonderfully, even throwing in an impromptu cover to warm up the crowd). Before he did his last song, he said, “I’m sorry to end the show with an Emo song” and that got a few laughs.


I mentioned that Firdaus was the last scheduled performer. It was Betty and Jeremy who were the final performers, after someone asked them to do an encore.

Will there be another songcraft concert? I don’t know. Maybe.

The concert was a good idea, I must say.

Kind of like an informal “graduation ceremony” for the songcrafters.

It’s an opportunity some of the songwriters to go to the next level — from a songwriter, to getting your song performed (even if it means being the performer).

Which made me realise that Songcraft was not only a support group, but also a platform for performers to build confidence. It was “safer” to perform in front of a small group before venturing to a larger scale show.

I doubt Jeremy had that in mind when he started Songcraft.

Which proves that sometimes you just have to put your idea into action.

And the results may surprise you.

In a pleasant way.

~ Ivan
Ivan Chew - Profile

[UPDATE: Betty’s thoughts on the concert]


~ by Ivan Chew on December 16, 2007.

6 Responses to “Thoughts and photos from the Songcraft mini-concert, 15 Dec 2007”

  1. Thanks for the great write-up Ivan. It was great reading your in-depth & balanced thoughts on the entire mini-concert, as well as seeing all the wonderful pics you took. Totally agree with the line you wrote: “sometimes you just have to put your idea into action.”

    Thanks for your support of the Songcraft group all this while! Much appreciated.

  2. hey man, thanks for contributing the solos for my songs. they greatly enhanced the songs. =)

  3. Hey I thought your improvisation(s) were good ya know. I was nodding happily to it. And there was a part when you came to a climax and Chris came back in to sing and I was like, WOW! (cos I knew it was a last-min thingy – you playing with him for concert). So kudos for that!

    Nah, I think EVERY performer was the Star for the night ;D

  4. Thanks folks! So I didn’t screw up after all. Heh.

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