|“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.” — Antonio Porchia
Sometimes, it can be painful to reminisce about what is left only in memories, especially when we are reminded of how things may never be the same anymore. However, NTU CAC Harmonix showed us with their second annual concert, Remembrance, that sometimes, nothing is more beautiful than keeping fond memories alive by holding them close to your heart.
Held on 20th July 2019 at the KC Arts Centre, Harmonix brought an assortment of songs alive. With a total of sixteen items ranging from classic pop songs, Disney favourites to original mashups, there was something for everyone that night. Presented by different combinations of vocalists –all of whom had intriguing and adorable team names– we were brought on a journey to explore the relationships around the narrative’s characters.
With limited knowledge of a cappella, it is hard for me to critique the quality of vocals that night. What I do remember, however, is the variety of performances we were presented with. Starting the show with a bang, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, presented by the entire ensemble, was dark, compelling and memorable. Keeping to the show’s introduction to ‘look out for what’s around you’, the members were not just on stage, but surrounded the audience during this performance, adding to the enigmatic aura of the original.
An interesting mashup of The Sound of Music soundtrack and one of the latest releases from pop sensation Ariana Grande then followed (presented by Shirley Tempo). The creative arrangement was fitting, given that “7 Rings” samples heavily from “My Favourite Things”, but what was unexpected was seeing how the two songs, which are similar in melody, could be so different in style and presentation. While the country style of “My Favourite Things” was retained, the transition into “7 Rings” was seamless, making the second half of the performance feel like a chic and modern rendition of the same song.
Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the night was ”Spooky Scary Selections”, a piece presented by the vocal percussionists. It was fascinating to hear the plethora of sounds (which, as the name of the performers suggested, resembled the sounds of percussion instruments such as the bass, snares and hi-hats) that can be made just from the one’s mouth, lips, tongue and voice. While not the most melodious, this item truly showcased what sets Harmonix apart from other choral performances.
If the first half of the concert successfully hinted at the bittersweet sides of relationships, the performances after the intermission were great at revealing the ugliness that could ensue from a broken relationship. In a set of consecutive performances — “Tiptoe through the Tulips” (by Voices), “Heartless Medley” (by granola) and “Turning Tables” (by Shirley Tempo), a similar set was used, but depicted a linear flow of time. Detailing the two characters as they aged, fought, broke up and ultimately broke free from each other, it was certainly thought-provoking to see such a realistic situation unfold on stage.
As we approached the finale of the concert, we were once again reminded of the theme, Remembrance. As the name suggests, the night was one meant to commemorate and relive precious memories, especially the time spent with our loved ones. For the finale, ensemble returned to deliver a stirring tribute to a friend, rounding the night on a poignant but touching note.
Watching them immortalise the show and their feelings of the night, with the final piece and the curtain call reminded me once again how compelling the stage can be, for both the people on and in front of it. For a second time, Harmonix has staged a concert which was certainly entertainly, impressive and touching all at once. May Harmonix continue to serenade and bring its audience the same warmth and satisfaction with future concerts!