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Gamelan Ensemble

Evergreen Secondary School introduced Gamelan Ensemble in 2004. It is called Evergreen Secondary School Sri Cemara Gamelan Ensemble.
[‘ Sri Cemara’ pronounced as ‘ sri chem - moro’]

Gamelan Ensemble in the latest SYF (Arts Presentation) 2015

Last year, Gamelan Ensemble had the privilege of taking part in the Bi-Annual Singapore Youth Festival (Arts Presentation). From the extra hours spent preparing the pieces to the unveiling of the new costumes and the final release of results (a certificate of Distinction), it was a very enriching experience for students and teachers alike.

This time, we chose to do a re-imagining of the famous Japanese tradition piece Sakura. As it utilizes a pentatonic scale very similar to the Javanese Gamelan one, we thought we’d give it a try. And it was marvellous. The Ethereal sound qualities of the gamelan with the haunting tempo and melody of the Sakura piece culminated into something truly extraordinary.

The students themselves were full of anticipation. While some of the students were slightly jittery, like Mardhiah from 4CHR who mentioned to the teachers minutes before the actual performance that she was slightly scared, they performed their elaborate pieces with finesse. Camaraderie was also at an all-time high, with the students polishing and cleaning up the instruments together, practicing the posture and stage movements required for the actual day.

All in all it was a wonderful experience for all involved! 

Our Family

Teachers In Charge:                      
Ms. Sherlyn Ng
Mr Samuel Soong
Mdm Shajutha
Mdm Nurulazmi

Our Achievements

  • SYF 2015 - Distinction
  • SYF 2013 - Distinction
  • SYF 2011 - Silver
  • SYF 2009 - Silver
  • SYF 2007 – Gold

2015 SYF Pictures



What is Gamelan?
Brief definition: Gamelan is derived from the word ‘Gamel’ which means to hit/ strike. Thus Gamelan music is about percussion music; most instruments are played with the use of the mallets which looks like wooden hammers.
Unlike many musical traditions, Gamelan strictly focuses on group music; you will never find a solo performance or part in any gamelan composition! This is because Gamelan Music is both simultaneous and polyphonic in nature. Simply put, it builds its music in layers. Every musician needs to depend on one another in order to have a successful performance, hence teamwork is greatly emphasized. OUR Gamelan Ensemble prides themselves on an almost telepathic relationship between their members!

How is it related to National Education?

Students will get to learn how to be a part of the community; how one needs to be a team-player and to maintain a humble disposition, thus, fitting to our emphasis on NE.
Besides expanding their aural skills, improvisation and creativity are another two important skills, students learn while performing gamelan; as it demands the students to build intricate patterns in melody and rhythm within the various instruments in the Gamelan. In our fast-paced and ever changing society, it is no longer enough to be educated. To keep Singapore competitive, we need to be creative in order to stand out from the crowd. Gamelan improvisation/creativity imbues in every student a creative streak!
Gamelan, in general, builds its music around the lives of people. It is a way of life for people in Indonesia, liken to that of electric guitar and drums in the urban context. There are pieces that welcome people, pieces that portray tension, pieces that are meant for intermission- one could even go so far as to say there are pieces for almost every situation! This reminds students of the many colours of life. While some may be dull, others are as bright as they can be. We must embrace life as true Singaporeans: to know that behind every dull colour lays the hope of bright colours!
In learning to perform gamelan, our students are exposed to our trading partners—Indonesia, as well as their cultures, which are quite similar to Singapore.
Due to Indonesia’s rich history and culture, Gamelan embraces the influences from Indonesian culture, Malay and Indian (hindu) influences, thus students are exposed to a greater understanding of the Asian regions and our own identity as Singaporeans.
Other skills that are taught sub-consciously are the building of self-esteem, confidences as an individual and as a fellow performer cum musician, management of time for rehearsals, preparation prior to performances etc…
Our Evergreen students are clad in red and white costumes to pledge our alliance to our nation, as it bears the colours of our national flag.
It also serves as a reminder of all of our humble beginnings, our brotherhood, the love and quest for peace, equality and justice.

“Gamelan isn’t an ensemble, it’s a movement”

Students from NCC helping out.
Teamwork at its finest.

Khairul and his usual smirk,
Didi photobombing.
Having fun and loving what they do.

Mr Amran.
Teacher, Mentor, Friend.