In the deepest depths of the school, in a small storage room squeezed between the strings room and the auditorium, lies the jam room. The music and occasional screaming that emerge from this room are created by none other than IPAU students who are either practicing for their next gig or having fun and goofing off.
The International Performing Arts Union (IPAU) is an after-school club at SAS. They meet every Tuesday during first break, but some students go to the jam room after school two to three times a week to just hang out and play music.
“The original part of IPAU was anything: poetry, dance, art, visual arts, anything. Whatever students wanted to pursue, they could pursue. Art club and dance club and all those clubs gave outlets to the dance and visual arts and things like that, the only thing left for IPAU was the musicians,” said Paul Koebnick, one of the original founders of IPAU.
Koebnick emphasised that everyone can be involved – even solo acts. Participants don’t even have to know how to sing or play an instrument. Songwriters are also welcome. “The spirit of the club is that it’s a social club where people want to get together and make music.”
Once a month, IPAU puts on a break gig. This means that performers from all different genres of music show off their talents in front of the high school. It provides entertainment during the short 20 minute first break. During these times, students can hear the music all the way from the front of the high school steps. The groups of students singing along or subtly foot tapping throughout the performance shows that the music really lightens the mood of the school.
Bass guitarist for IPAU Isaac Ooi said, “It’s so entertaining, no other school does this and it’s really fun to watch.”
Once a year IPAU has an event titled “PAUFEST” in which musicians from both the middle and high school can perform in the Drama Theatre. Bands sign up beforehand and perform the songs they have been working on for both fellow IPAU members and other students. It’s a great environment for bands to feel good about their music, even if they are not the most professional of performers.
Singer and ukulele player Lizzy Farrell said, “It’s very intimidating at first. I didn’t perform during the first semester, but at the very end of the year I got the courage to do PAUFEST, and then I did the last break gig. And after that, I had made more friends in IPAU and then I was able to feel more confident saying things like, ‘hey would you like to do this song with me?’”
IPAU has performed not only at the school, but occasionally around Singapore. Last year they performed at the Hard Rock Cafe for a family night.
Guitarist James Weidner said, “IPAU does tons of different types of music, so it’s not boring.”
Although IPAU is made up of different bands and performers who all practice at different times and tend to have different styles of music, each student does their best to help each other out.
“There’s different combinations, even if you’re in one band, you may help out another, like bass players, you’ll see them jump across lots of different bands. Drummers are also shared between groups,” said Koebnick.
Female vocalist and songwriter for IPAU Lexi Swift said, “It’s fun to play music with your friends, and when you’re playing with your friends, it’s much more enjoyable than by yourself. Also, if we need help, we are comfortable asking other members as well as Mr. K.”
IPAU has been around for 12 years, and it will continue to survive and thrive for years to come. Students who wish to become involved can find them on Tuesdays during first break in Mr. Craig’s room – H329. No matter what genre of music, or musical talent, everyone’s welcome.