It isn’t common to find a group of young adults being really passionate about string ensemble and making a living out of it. Not for the these four. DeL’Amour consisting of Chong Kok Soon and Tham Yip Cheng aged 24 and 21 respectively plays the violin. Followed by Wong Hui Min, 20 years old plays the viola and lastly Foo Hui Zhi aged 20 plays the cello. Their interest, love and passion for strings are amazing beyond words. The best part, they all live in Malaysia! Yet travel down time to time for events to and fro between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore . I intensely applaud their determination.
DeL’Amour does performances for events such as weddings, dinners, live music etc. If you’d like to engage them, proceed to their facebook page and directly contact them through their leader, Kok Soon.
How did DeL’amour started?
Joining the same CCA, we met each other in Chong Hwa High School String Ensemble. We got invited by newlyweds to perform for their weddings. From there, we realized that it could be a new platform for us to showcase our passion.
We understand that you guys stay in Malaysia. How do you work things out to perform and study/work at the same time on top of all the travelling?
Always be prepared! We do rehearse intensively during the holidays thereby whenever a gig is coming up, we are ready to perform! It also minimizes the time to meet up beforehand. On top of that, we usually only accept weekend gigs. At the same time, our hometown, Kluang, is located in the center between KL and Singapore. This creates a huge advantage and convenience to travel between the 2 cities.
Why did you guys decide to pursue this?
Passion is how we started but it’s the bonding among ourselves through music that fuels the fire and keeps us going. None of us can stand alone for long while we can find the textural enrichment from playing in a string quartet. The high register from the first violin supported by the firmness of cello while the viola and the second violin filling in between become the meat of the piece. That is why we love playing with such a structure and it itself presents to the audience a balanced, colourful and sensational form of chamber ensemble.
Tell us an interesting fact about this group.
We don’t have just one interesting fact! So, we’ll just mention three.
1. Before graduating from high school, we were considered “illegal” and often got into trouble with the school’s disciplinary department as it is against the rules to perform and earn a living in public as a student.
2. We always joke about replacing our second violin player because he’s overconfident about himself and we have gotten annoyed by it.
3. The 4 of us are big eaters.We can finish up tons of food after every performance. Performing really exhausts us.
What is the most memorable moment for you guys in a De L’Amour?
The HTHT session when we are travelling for a gig, before we formed this group, we practised and rehearsed together in a forest! We met a retired SSO violinist who gave us valuable lessons (for free) and treated us to dinner. Lastly, we missed the time when we travel to SG and everyone squeezed in my (Kok Soon’s) hostel room.
What is your vision for De L’Amour?
“On a Sunday afternoon, friends and families gather in a living room, awaiting our performance. With the four of us being a bunch of vibrant and passionate youngsters, playing classical music while the audience sip on their lemon sodas. Upon hearing our symphony, a tingling sense of happiness is brought about through the transition from the minor key to the major key from our pieces. Darkness resolves to light. Hoping our music move their souls with eyes welled up with tears leaving smiles on their faces. Its a common misconception that people do not realize how music has intertwined with their everyday lives.” That’s our vision. We started from a small town where people don’t appreciate classical music that much. Through performing in weddings and many events, we hope to increase public exposure to instrumental music. We do not intend to be famous however by having a determined mindset as mentioned by Doctor Dweck, we hope that De L’Amour can become the channel that spreads hope and ends the classical-music desert.
Who do you look up to?
We look up to people having no natural talent yet succeed in their professions. Many people believe that art is like playing a sport which requires inborn talent in order to succeed. Look at Michael Jordon, he got rejected by his coach to play for North Carolina State yet he did not give up pursuing his dream and he made it to the top as the MJ we know today. In our group, none of us is gifted with musical talents. Instead, it takes hardwork and patience. However, we took on the challenges and constantly improved ourselves by accepting criticisms and feedbacks! We believe success is not validated by becoming somebody, but becoming better than yesterday!
If given a chance to perform with anyone, who would you like to perform with?
Sodagreen, a Taiwanese band. We love the soothing voice of the main singer Tsing Fong and we believe that his voice harmonise well with string instruments.
If given a chance to perform for anyone, who would you perform for?
We would like to perform for people who appreciate our direction of music.We hope that our music can touch the audience and develop resonance.
Any final words for your audience out there?
Performance without audiences is like parcels without receivers! We would like to thank them for their support throughout the years and making De L’Amour possible!