Blossoming young musicians take the stage at Chingay Parade 2024

Published on 21 February 2024
By Team Catch
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A nervous air filled the studio as four musicians sat across from each other. Some of them had met before, but this was the first time Govin Tan, Sean Chen, Evan Joel De Silva, and Majesty Ferdinand Talines San Juan were gathered as a band to rehearse for one of Singapore’s biggest cultural highlights, the annual Chingay Parade.

Any initial awkwardness soon dissipated, however, when the music began. “When we started to jam, everything just flowed – we didn’t stop for 30 to 40 minutes,” said Tan, the band’s drummer and leader. 

Music is the language they all speak fluently, a talent that earned the four a call-up to form the Youth Core Band and perform at this year’s Chingay Parade, to be held on 23 and 24 February at the F1 Pit Building. 

Featuring flashy floats and dazzling dancers, the annual street parade is held during Chinese New Year to celebrate Singapore’s rich blend of ethnic cultures through vibrant performances. This year’s 52nd edition is themed “Blossom”, signifying the growth, transformation and flourishing of individuals and communities as they come together.

A blooming band

nie Goh, the assistant music producer for Chingay Parade 2024

Music composer and sound designer for visual media, Ernie Goh. Image credit: Lee Jia Wen 

Ernie Goh, the parade’s assistant music producer who brought the band together, said the theme was what prompted the quartet’s formation. 

“This year’s theme was a really good springboard for us to form the band. Blossoming is the coming of age of something, so this band of youths not really knowing each other but connecting to put on a show on such a big stage fit really nicely,” he explained. 

Chen, the band’s keyboardist, agrees. “We as musicians have come very far from our own different backgrounds, and performing on such a grand stage as Chingay is a milestone for us. We are blossoming and growing,” the 25-year-old said.

 

The Youth Core Band will perform four songs in three different acts, including pop artist Miley Cyrus’ top hit Flowers and Edith Piaf’s classic La Vie en Rose in keeping with this year’s theme, all atop a stage surrounded by parade-goers.

 

Govin Tan, Evan Joel De Silva, Majesty Ferdinand Talines San Juan and Sean Chen, Youth Core Band (from left to right) Image credit: @govintan_hashbrownmaster and @evanjdesilva on instagram, Chingay 

To 16-year-old San Juan, the band’s youngest member, the experience has been eye-opening. “I had no idea what Chingay was this time last year, but now I have been enlightened and inspired seeing the Singaporean identity and culture,” the band’s bassist said.

He is currently studying in the School of the Arts together with bandmate Evan, who is 18 this year.

De Silva, who first performed in last year’s Chingay Parade, says the vibrant parade never fails to amaze him. “I am always wowed by the diversity of the performers. Every rehearsal, I look down at the racetrack below and see so many dancers in lots of bright colours, and it reminds me of Singapore’s diversity.”

As the day of the parade approaches, Tan, the band’s most experienced musician who also performed in last year’s edition, feels his excitement ramping up. 

Comparing Chingay to one of the world’s biggest festival celebrations, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil, the 31-year-old says: “Chingay feels like Rio, but Singapore style. To have a party of such scale and majesty in Singapore is really quite special.” 

Catch the Youth Core Band at this year’s Chingay Parade from 23 to 24 February 2024 at the F1 Pit Building. 

Top image credit: Singapore Tourism Board


 

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