There’s a certain magic in the air, a unmistakeable flow of energy that flows through everyone in the room, all in sync and harmony. Lai Seng shares one of his favourite experiences with his fellow members from the SMU Chamber Choir.

As the president of the club and one of the SMU Excellence in Student Life Gold Award winners at the University Student Life Awards 2016, Lai Seng enjoys leading and being a part of the choir — a team of friends who share the love for music, challenge and perhaps, some magic as well.

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Our Chamber Choir in action! (Photo courtesy of SMU Chamber Choir)

In choir, there’s this thing we call “weng weng”. It’s the magic you sense in the air when the chords we sing harmonise perfectly. It’s like what you hear in the movie Pitch Perfect. It’s not just the singing on its own. It’s that we’re doing it together as one choir, all in tune and in sync with one another. Every time I sense “weng weng”, it reminds me why I sing in a choir in the first place.

It’s the people that makes this harmony possible. We all like to perform together. In the choir, the limelight isn’t on individuals, but on everyone as a whole. We’re part of something bigger and greater than our individual selves. We’re committed and responsible for the music we produce, and we take great pride in that. This is a quote that I’ll always remember. Jen (Jennifer Tham) our dearest conductor, shared this with us during our choir trip in July 2015 to Austria and Bratislava.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

(Editor’s Note: This was the same quote that Adeline shared in her story!)

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As club president, what’s most significant for me wasn’t so much our achievements, but seeing us grow together, as individuals and as a choir. When I started my stint, my goal was to bring our choir to greater heights. I believe we did that, through our awards and by performing on many new platforms. Looking back though, what means the most to me is seeing the choir grow. We’ve grown closer and shared many experiences together that we’ll keep with us for a long time to come.

I’m honoured and happy to have such a strong, committed executive committee with me. At last year’s annual performance in May, the choir didn’t do so well and naturally, we were disappointed in ourselves. The exco members picked themselves up, rallied their various sections, and sparked the motivation and passion to do well for the overseas competition in July. We were there, singing our hearts out, for the growth of the choir as a whole; we didn’t feel nervous at all. 

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(Photo courtesy of SMU Chamber Choir)

“Find what you love, and let it (or them) kill you.” —Charles Bukowski

The fact is that each of us only have so much time and energy to go around. As SMU students, we want to juggle so many things— from school, our careers to our passions. What’s the most important is for us to not spread our time and energy too thinly over many objectives. I love this quote by Charles Bukowski. Instead, find your passions and do your very best, in reckless abandon (wisely, of course) if need be.

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Our SMU Excellence in Student Life Gold Award winners, Lai Seng, Terena and Mervin.

I realise we often overlook our personal thoughts. I spend a lot of my time reflecting and reading when travelling on the way to school. Right now, I’m reading Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We often fail to think about what we think about. These internal thoughts, challenges and battles are critical to becoming the person you want to be. We should be present in every moment, and aware of our thoughts, positive or negative. This is the best way for us to reflect and improve on our inner and outer selves, bit by bit, day by day.

In the future, I want to be someone who has compassion and love for people, with the right wisdom and mental tenacity to create change in the world. We’re all part of society and have a responsibility to give back to those around us. I know it sounds a bit abstract, fluffy and unreachable right now. But I know that I have to start building somewhere. It’s up to each and every one of us to find out how we want to improve. For me, it’s right here with my thoughts and actions, right now.

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SMU Chamber Choir is an award-winning CCA led by conductor and choir director Jennifer Tham. Since its commencement, the choir has grown in strength and is one of the most prestigious arts clubs in SMU under the SMU Arts Excellence Programme. Check out One Choir, Many Adventures for more personal stories from choir members and get in touch with SMU Chamber Choir on Facebook as well!

© 2018 Snapshots by SMU