Prep Orchestras tour to Singapore

24 January 2018

Prep Orchestras tour to Singapore

Edgecliff Prep Director of Music, Mrs Robin Carter, writes about the combined St Ives and Edgecliff Preparatory Schools Orchestra Tour to Singapore.

Singapore was the destination for the Combined Preparatory Schools Orchestra tour this year. A total of 75 boys and 14 staff left on Sunday, 1 October for a week-long adventure. Our previous overseas tours have historically taken us to New Zealand, so this was the first time beyond ‘The Ditch’ into the Asian continent for a Preparatory School tour, and what a great success it was!

The Tanglin Trust School, Stamford American International School, Anglo Chinese School and Dulwich College all hosted us for our music concerts and workshops. We were also special guests at the residence of Bruce Gosper, the Australian High Commissioner. He encouraged the boys to ask questions and spoiled us with copious amounts of hamburgers, pizza and orange juice. Throughout the trip, boys were also able to try different food from the Malay, Chinese, Tamil and Eurasian heritage of Singapore.

Boys also had an opportunity to visit the local sights, including the Merlion (the iconic fountain statue of the mythical symbol of Singapore), Jurong Bird Park, Universal Studios, the Night Zoo, Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay, and watched a rehearsal of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

An important part of our tour was the commemoration ceremony at Kranji War Memorial, the location of a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery where three Old Sydneians who died in Singapore during World War II are buried. Captain Alston Gregg (OS 1929), Second Lieutenant Gerald Hall Hilder (OS 1928) and Lieutenant Kenneth William Hutton (OS 1936) are also listed on the World War II Honour Board in Big School.

The boys sang Band of Brothers by composer and Music master Paul Jarman around Gerald Hall Hilder’s grave: Words from the first verse:

Side by side forever young
Row on row, our finest sons
Though you never came home
Your memory lives on.

We honoured these Old Sydneians and our two Headmasters, Mr McCloskey and Mr Stephens, lay a wreath in their memory. It was a very moving experience for all the boys, staff and the families who were in attendance. Our tour provided an opportunity to reflect on their sacrifice, as our Orchestra boys learnt resilience and practised independence on a trip of a lifetime.