We’re celebrating Chinese New Year at Vinnie Classroom in a big way this year! Just visit us and see for yourself! Open the door and you’ll be greeted by auspicious red festive decorations hanging from our ceiling to walls, doors and even desk-tops too! Red is the good luck color, believed to symbolize good fortune and joy. So we want lots of that at Vinnie Classroom! There are also Chinese New Year goodies and mandarin oranges to tempt you! All we need now to complete the mood would be a lion-dance and fireworks!
Chinese New Year is the longest holiday
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is technically 15 days. But celebrations start on New Year’s Eve (making it 16 days). Did you know that it also causes the largest human migration in the world? Because everyone travels home for the New Year’s Eve reunion dinner which is the most important part of Chinese New Year!
Thankfully, most of us don’t have to travel far to get back home, since Singapore is so small. But we’ll be closing the school from 23rd to 29th January for teachers and students to enjoy the festivities!
Have fun everyone! And here’s wishing one and all – Happiness, Prosperity, Longevity in the Year of the Rat!
Never in history has Singapore seen snow. Everyone continues to shop in flip-flops, t-shirts and is usually a little sweaty. But Christmas is still one of the most joyous and celebrated festivals in Singapore. Folks at Vinnie Classroom adore Christmas and never have we failed to impress students who come for lessons with our decorative flair!
Christmas decorations, Singapore-style!
Musicians are often associated with being creative, so DIY decorations are a must at VC! After getting supplies from the usual shops around town, teachers at Vinnie Classroom often get creative with handicraft work! The fireplace is hand-crafted from a recycled wooden pallet, the fire is created with origami-style paper-folding and the glittery VC logo on the Christmas tree is painstakingly cut out of a piece of foam! Just VC’s way of rewarding visitors with our school’s uniqueness! Check out the photos!
Meanwhile, check out all the Christmas song covers by Vinnie Classroom if they are your jazz! For example, VC did a live Facebook streaming back in 2017 during Christmas : The VC XMAS LIVE 2017 ! In addition to every family’s preparations for their own celebration, students had to come back for extra rehearsals before hitting the live streaming studio! In the end, all the hard work was worthwhile judging from the smiles on the faces of those involved.
In the early 1990s, Clarke Quay shed its past as a shipping port and was redeveloped into a commercial and entertainment district. It was then, in 1994, that a bar called Crazy Elephant had its humble beginnings. It therefore quickly established itself as ‘the’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues live music venue as we know it today! Woohoo!
Fun Fact 1: Do you know Clark Quay used to be a family oriented entertainment ground? There was even an indoor water adverture ride “Pirates of the Carribean” that features the history of Singapore’s Maritime and Port. That was 1993 and before the new redevelopment plans to convert the identity of Clark Quay, allowing the very existence of Crazy Elephant.
Let’s hear it from the person who knows it best – Anita!
We are so honored to have been part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, but as ignorant juniors of the local music scene, we have some burning questions about Crazy Elephant! Who can be a better person to ask than Anita, who has had front row seats to the Big Bang at CE?! She has been the Business Development Manager for the last 20 years, she sure knows every little thing about this crazy party house!
When did you join Crazy Elephant? How was it like back then?
1999!!! It was crazy back then as well! The venue was much smaller but we still had many amazing musicians both local and from all over the world come through our doors. Back then and for many years after, there weren’t many places that had live music and doing what we did and continue to do quality Blues and Rock music. It was a full house every weekend and you could hardly move. It was a very different Clarke Quay back then.
When did the famous weekly Jam Session begin? How has it grown?
Since forever! It has definitely grown over the years, kudos to the support of the amazing musicians and music lovers who come through, helping us spread the word as well as our very own jam master Kelly Olafson who does an amazing job of running the jam every Sunday. This year saw the birth of Common Ground, an event that happens every third Sunday of the month that starts a couple of hours before our jam session. The idea behind it is to get musicians and music lovers converging together to swap, showcase music gear, share stories and meet like-minded people. The response has been good and most of the time they stay on to jam as well.
Have you witnessed any musicians taking on bigger stages after gaining experience from performing in Crazy Elephant?
I think it’s almost like a rite of passage to many, be it those who go on to pursue a professional career or those who have just picked up the guitar. The idea of sharing the love of Blues and Rock music, performing live, has always been part of CE culture. Our musicians are always very welcoming, encouraging and generous to share their experiences and give tips, be it which gear might be the best or how to overcome stage fright.
Can you list some countries of your patrons?
Australia. Belgium. Brazil. Cambodia. Canada. China. Cuba. Denmark. Egypt. Fiji. Finland. France. Germany. Greece. Honduras. Hungry. Iceland. India. Indonesia. Iran. Ireland. Italy. Japan. Lebanon. Malaysia. Mauritius. Mexico. Montenegro. Myanmar. Netherlands. Nepal. New Zealand. Norway. Pakistan. Peru. Philippines. Portugal. Russia. Spain. Singapore. Sweden. Suriname. Switzerland. Thailand. Turkey. Ukraine. UAE. USA. Vietnam. Zimbabwe…..just to name a few!!!!
What’s the best part of Crazy Elephant today?
We have and will continue to cultivate the music community and play a big part in the live music scene as one of the longest-running establishments here in Clarke Quay and in Singapore.
Heart and Soul of Blues Rock Singapore
In conclusion, Anita definitely made it clear that Crazy Elephant has been and will always a platform for creative interactions among musicians. The glowing legacy of Crazy Elephant is evident in the crowds it continues to draw relentlessly, night after night for a quarter of a century. Let us leave you with some photos our beloved Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues bar, past and present, from Facebook! See you at Crazy Elephant!
Fun Fact 2: Crazy Elephant is founded by Mr John Chee, Mr Samuel Seong Koon and Mr Keef Ong. Mr Chee used to play 5 days a week with the house band Blues Machine. These days, the house is taken over by Bob Sauler and The Blues Rock Renegades! Bob Sauler on Vocals and Guitar, David Ng on Bass, Tan Boon Gee on Drums and Alex Kalino Hooi on Guitar.
Kelly Olafson, the unsung hero of the Open Mic Jam!
Possibly the first Crazy Elephant Jam Session!
From the team at Crazy Elephant!
Some regular faces at Singapore's Longest Running Jam Session
The Compass Awards Presentation 2019 is widely known to musicians of Singapore! This is probably the most celebrated event in Singapore for musicians! Composers, lyricists and musicians gather at this highly anticipated event annually without fail. Catching up with old friends, meeting new people, opening up new opportunities, the night was nothing less than amazing!
The Cocktail Session with the right atmosphere
Cocktail Session before the dinner!
I’ve been to many cocktail sessions and they are mostly rather dull and boring. However, because musicians are primarily social animals, the amount of socializing here was off the roof! Evidently from the above photo, people were in the best spirits and are having the time of their life!
After registering ourselves for the dinner, Zee and I had our drinks and were ready to start chatting with people. It did not take long before Remy hit us up!
Ma chère Mademoiselle… the dinning room proudly presents your dinner…
The door opened on time and we were all greeted with a magnificent and grand setup! I have to say, after attending the Compass Awards Presentation for 10 years, they never stop trying to improve on their ballroom decorations!
We were also treated to a sumptuous 8-course meal! Food and service was definitely first class. But we were not there just for the food. It was the night for music, for celebrating and showcasing Singapore’s vibrant and successful music industry! I personally was excited to see what the Awards of the night were and who were the successful musicians receiving them! As a Singaporean, I am proud that we have such a well-established music industry even though the country has never emphasized music!
The Awards and their Recipients!
Below are the list of awards and their respective recipients! Congratulations to all who attained them! To those who didn’t, keep it going! In the words of Louis Soliano
There is always room for one more and that one more could be you
Wings Of Excellence Award – Lee Wei Song
Wings of Excellence Award – KahChun Wong
Top Local Songwriter Of The Year – JJ Lin
Top Local Artiste Of The Year – JJ Lin
Artistic Excellence Award – Ann Hussien
Artistic Excellence Award – Derrick Fitzgerald
Meritorious Award – Nona Asiah
Meritorious Award – Louis Soliano
English Pop Song – Lin Ying
Chinese Pop Song – JJ Lin
Soundtrack – Li Fei Hui
Li Fei Hui
Li Wei Song
Best Catching-Up Session!
The dinner may have brought joy to those Award Recipients but we all know that true joy is when musicians gets to meet and chat! The photobooth was constantly filled with laughter and table shots with friends taking place every minute of the night!
Jimmy of Jimmusic with his wife Carol. Jimmy does all sorts of production work! Hit him up!
Find out more about Jimmusic if you need a production team for your music career!
Kelvin sends his boys to Vinnie Classroom for drum lessons! He is a Chinese Rock music composer!
Send your kids to Vinnie Classroom too! We currently offer a *Free Trial Lesson!
Hong Jun Yang! Best known for his participation in Project Superstar 2005! He now tours with JJ Lin as one of the vocalists!
Photobooth filled with aspiring and well known musicians!
The night was also filled with superstars everywhere! Can you identify those I captured from tables far away?
Watch the video if you are not satisfied!
If, after reading this entire article, you still wish to learn more about the night, I’ve pieced up video highlights for you!
Like I said, despite attending 10 years of Compass Awards Presentation dinners, there was never a dull moment. I learned new things, got to know new friends, met up with those old friends and got seriously motivated to push harder again! Every year’s dinner reminds me that I am indeed in very good hands for hustling on my music career. All I need to do is to keep trying! Maybe someday, someone out there will be writing an article about me instead. Well, I’ll keep that in my bucketlist and crash for now! Thank you Compass Singapore for hosting this annual event! It was an honour to be an attendee all these years!
Star Wars fans out there will need no reminder that May 4th is Star Wars Day!
Remember too, Yoda’s famous quote:
Do. Or do not. There is no Try (From The Empire Strikes Back).
Commit yourself to something completely, win or lose.
May the Force be with You!
Vinnie’s guitar heroes at the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation Guitar Ensemble.
When Practice makes almost Perfect
A big pat on the back for our student,
Nigel Oh who was awarded a distinction
for his Grade 1 Acoustic Guitar exam,conducted by the London College of Music.
Nigel started learning the instrument a
little more than a year ago. Nigel’s teacher
Mr Tan Swee Siang said, “It’s a
pleasure to teach Nigel. He’s a keen learner and
interested. I’m seeing talent in him
and I’m proud of his achievement!”
Nigel said, “I feel this sense of accomplishment
and satisfaction for my first exam! I am
determined and looking forward to
master more from my mentor!”
Well done, Nigel!
The fact that Avengers: Endgame was 3 hours long and no one so much as complained says something about this epic superhero movie. We pay tribute to the Avengers theme song which carries so much power and heart. Vinnie Classroom salutes this iconic finale with an acoustic fingerstyle arrangement, so enjoy!
YouTube Drumming Sensation in Singapore German drummer Anika Nilles built up a name for herself with 17 million views of her videos. Anika’s playing style is distinguished by her strong groove, her finesse in technique, and her unique sound! Born into a family of drummers, she started drumming herself at age six. Anika is conducting a Masterclass on 18 May at 6.30pm, B1 Star Plaza at the Star Vista. The event is open to the public. We will be there to watch this drum maestro live in action, so join us if you can!
14 -16 May Vinnie School Holidays
15 May – 12 June Registration open for ANZCA Exams Series 2
(Speak with your piano teacher if you think you’re ready)
1 May – 25 Sept Registration open for Rockschool Exams Tour C.
(If you want to register let your guitar/drums teacher know)
29 June VCR 4 (watch this space for more details)
10 – 12 June Rockschool Tour B Exams
16 – 18 June Asian Supreme Drum Competition Qualifying Round
Music Facts You Didn’t Know Listening to music while working out can improve performance. It’s true! Music provides an ideal accompaniment when you exercise. Not only does music divert the mind from sensations of fatigue, loud, upbeat music can also
“psych you up”. Musical tempo helps synchronize movements which leads you to perform more efficiently and trains endurance! So next time you work out, choose a
playlist that will make you feel good. And also lets you burn more calories at the same time!