Music is My DNA by Claudia Chandra

I joined Ichthus from Primary 1 and after 12 years, graduated High School in Grade 12. Who would expect time ro fly by that fast. Starting from entering the classroom, not knowing anyone, I was totally clueless, since primary school was different than kindergarten. My parents’ decision to choose Ichthus as the school for me was such a great decision.

Ichthus helped me find what and who I want to be. I was in the school’s choir up from Grade 1 until 10th grade. I almost quit choir due to the long and tiring practices, but if I did quit back then, I won’t be who I am today, I won’t make the decisions I have made today. Ichthus gave me the chance to shine with other different students. By joining choir competitions, travelling to far flung places like Ambon and Pontianak to attend choir competitions created memories with my friends, which I’ll never forever cherish. I particularly enjoy the year end Christmas performances, I started from performing on stage and progressed to be part of the production team.

Back then I tend to hesitate a lot when asked to do things, "Will people like me if I do this?", "Will people like what I do?" In 2nd grade our school held a singing competition called ‘Ichthus Idol’ where we have to sing and perform like the singing competitions in TV. I didn’t want to join but my mom encouraged me to give it a go and I ended up winning 2nd place, although I felt there were better singers. I didn’t have much confidence back then, but due to the bond between friends and teachers who guided and encouraged me, I finally found that confidence in me that I couldn’t find back then.

My friends and I started growing in our own ways. Ichthus helped me like turning on a switch inside my head about my fear of performing. Back then performing was just a responsibility that I had to do as every student will have to go through as the performing arts was 'a thing' in Ichthus. It’s different for me now. Performing is a part of me that has grown in my DNA so much so that I will volunteer to perform even then there are no scheduled events like these. I have never thought that I will even compose my own music in one of the musical projects. Thanks to my parents who never hesitated to support me in whatever things I do, and kept encouraging me to discover my dreams and passion.

Having tight and close bonds friends and supportive teachers also helped me become who I am today. Of course, there are times where I felt like giving up. To share a little secret, I nearly gave up in directing school’s Christmas Musical in 2019 - it was hard, it's not just about performing but it's about getting everything to work in unison well. The almost wanting to ‘give up’ phase is normal. I do take a break, just to breath and recap. Sometimes I experience failures but it's ok, it's better to take baby steps rather than staying still and not making progress at all. Through encouragement, grit and hard work, I persevered and saw through it to the end. The result was a great musical.

I am grateful for this opportunity, for great parents, to be an Ichthusian, to have great friends and teachers. I can't ask for more. I am going to pursue my passion which is now etched in my DNA to study music in university so that I will continue to make beautiful music and songs.

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