Every two years, the East Drama and Music Departments join forces to create a grand collaborative arts production. For the 2018/2019 school year, it was AIDA.
AIDA was chosen because it teaches lessons of strength, cross-cultural alliances and friendship— values that UWCSEA nurtures and encourages in its student community.
While the Drama department was busy casting actors and designing sets, the Music department was conducting auditions for stage band musicians and starring vocalists. They were also faced with an interesting opportunity due to the department’s sound engineer being recalled for National Service deployment.
AIDA calls for a 13-piece band, which includes guitar, drums, keyboard, percussion and a string quartet and there was a great deal of sound design and engineering to be done to produce a high quality performance.
Using contributions made through the UWCSEA Fund, the Music Department was able to engage a sound engineer from LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore) to work as a teaching consultant with staff and students over a two-week period.
The engineer covered many topics with the group, including teaching students how to set up a pit band and how to adjust the tone of their instruments for a professional sound performance. Students observed how a professional sound engineer needs to work in collaboration with musicians to create the final performance, rather than as separate entities.
Staff learned how to tune the sound system in the auditorium and a great deal about
professional sound design techniques. Producing a show of such high quality really allowed East’s advanced instrumental and vocal musicians to shine. They were challenged to stretch themselves and their musicianship to another level, which has the potential to help them with their studies at higher levels and opened their eyes to career opportunities in musical theatre. Some of the students even used their musical performances in AIDA as part of their university applications.
It was really a fantastic learning experience for everyone. Students learned about the process that is required to create a high-level production and involving the Facilities staff was an enormous benefit, because the more people that can contribute to the production, the better.
Lee Tisdall-McPhee, Head of Music, East.
The learning students take away from it….stays with them for the rest of their lives.
Bronwyn Bye, Head of Drama