15 July 2006

CHMA 2006

I went back to Catholic High last night for the annual Catholic High Music Awards (CHMA). This event, a highly polished talentime competition, was organised by the iMedia Club, of which I was a part of its predecessor, the AVA Club.

Started in 2003, CHMA is wholly organised by the iMedia Club. They did everything, including the talent search, stage backdrop and behind-the-scenes preparations. Of course in its inaugural year, it was a little more than an assembly-styled, typical talentime competition. But with the enigmatic Wang Jiunn helming his capable iMedia crew, they rode on the awesome success of the first CHMA and led the valiant charge that propelled the event into a magnificant glory of the school.

Since CHMA 2004, the competition has turned into much like a concert... somewhat like a Singapore Idol or Campus Superstar, except that, very fortunately, the judges still hold the power to decide the winner. This implies, of course, that the competition picks a talent and not an idol, which stays true to its name of "Music Awards".

Unfortunately, for some of you readers out there expecting photos of the event, I'm sorry to say that you have to satisfy yourself with the above picture, because that is probably the best I've taken. One reason for that is because I took a seat at the far corner at the back of the hall, which naturally means I do not have a supreme view of the stage. A second reason is that I've realised my camera is not really suited to taking pictures in dark surroundings (and the hall was really dark), thanks to the lack of complete manual focus and poor image stabilisation (as well as, for this event, the high zoom I have to use).

The competition in terms of the support elements faired pretty fine except for some minor hiccups. The behind-the-scenes video screened in the competition was amazingly well done. If I were to nitpick, I'd say that the bluescreen effect employed could've been better dealt with... it looks a bit unnatural and the edges of the host clash nastily with the background (an imperfection in lighting, I guess).

The sound system had a few glitches, but otherwise smooth. There were instances of audio feedback in several occasions, but they were quickly snuffed out before it could develop into a banshee's wail. There was also an unidentifiable blob in the sound system when one guest performer was transiting from one song to another, but that was not disruptive in any case.

The lighting was quite flashy and apt for the event. Of course, if they had more funds, they could've brought in First World lighting, but for what they had, it was rather decent. Moreover, the stage backdrop logo (the photo above) was made of diffuse reflective material, so it gleamed of different hues as the light varies. This complemented well with, if not synergised, the overall visual feel.

The emcee has changed. Mark Tan, the talented emcee who hosted CHMA 2004 and 2005, was enslaved had National Service duties, so there were two new hosts this year. While they did not fall prey to onstage diseases such as stammering or forgetting lines (which is a good achievement by the way), they could've done better in terms of the speed and clarity in their delivery. Their lines were also tad artificial and disconnected from the general mood of the audience, but at least they have fulfilled the primary objectives of hosting the event.

Most disappointing of all, at least in my opinion, was the talent, or lack thereof. Nearly half of the performances were instrumental, and the vocal half weren't too impressive either. To give them credit, a few of them were of quality, and it was obvious that they put it tons of effort into this event. Many of them evidently have passion in music.

However, in comparison with CHMA 2004 (of which I have the DVD), the quality of the singing has dropped. This was understandable, because there isn't a large pool of students to source the talents from, and, over the years, the real talents have been diluted by previous CHMA. And with only hundreds of students flowing in every year, it will be an illusion to expect the quality of singing to equilibrate at the level of past CHMA.

It was almost ten years since I entered Catholic High, and now seeing how far it has gone, the milestones it has achieved after my graduation... it kinda makes me feel like a forgotten relic, a part of an ancient past, a distant speck in the annals of the school...

Nonetheless, returning to such a grand event, I can't shake away the unspoken pride that kindled inside me. Pride, not of myself or my work, but of what former teachers have achieved, of what a club that I once was a distant part of, can do.

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